It is essential that horses stay hydrated for performance and it is very important to help prevent colic. As a horse owner it’s easy to forget that it’s just as important to keep your horse drinking during the colder winter months than it is in the summer, and we all know that you can take a horse to water but you can’t actually make it drink. With that in mind here’s 9 ways to keep your horse drinking:
1. Take ‘home’ water to shows and events. Horses often don’t like unfamiliar water, and as a result won’t drink when away from home.
2. Find a ‘flavour’ that your horse likes.. this might be squash, apple juice, cider vinegar
3. Provide several water sources, different buckets in the stable, water in a bucket in the field as well as a trough
4. Enough your horse receives enough salt in it’s diet- look at what your horse intakes via its food and it might be worth adding a teaspoon of salt to your horses’ feed each day. A lack of salt will turn off your horses’ thirst response
5. Feed soaked hay. Your horse will naturally receive moisture from the grass but if you are away or your horse is being stabled more he won’t be getting this.
6. Try a water buffet … offer a bucket of clean water and a bucket of 2:1 salt to lo-salt. This is a great way to ensure your horse has enough sodium
7. Try apple bobbing, adding some chopped up apples and carrots can get your horse to drink up to reach the bottom of the bucket (and the good stuff!!)
8. Make a ‘smoothie’ .. my old horse was a terrible drinker. Very very wet feed mixed into a bucket of water, with a few treats ensured the bucket was finished up quite quickly
9. Horses don’t like cold water, so adding a kettle full of hot water to a trough or large bucket can help to keep them drinking.