Home Horse Care 5 Ways to Make Sure Your Horse Drinks Enough Water

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Horse Drinks Enough Water

by ihearthorses

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You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. It’s true, but you can definitely encourage your horse to drink. Dehydration can have serious health consequences, so here are five ways that you can make sure that your horse drinks enough water.

Sooty Palomino stallion drinking water at waterhole with herd of wild horses at the waterhole in the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range in Montana United States

1. Keep Water Clean and Fresh

Many horses don’t like to drink dirty water – after all, would you? Keeping your horse’s water buckets and water troughs clean and the water fresh can go a long way toward encouraging your horse to drink. Try to keep water troughs located in a shaded area during the summertime – water in the sun can heat up, and algae grows more quickly in warmer water than it does in cooler water.

Black and brown horse in water nature scene

2. Bring Water From Home

If you are taking your horse on a trip, whether you’re going to a horse show or are headed to a trail ride away from home, always bring plenty of water along with you. Some horses dislike the strange taste of water from another farm, and will actually drink less or refuse to drink entirely. Bringing along plenty of your horse’s water from home ensures that the water tastes normal.

Dappled gray shetland pony pawing at water in stream while other horses are drinking in the background

If you’re not able to bring along your water from home, you can try to mask the taste of strange water. Pour in a little apple juice or Gatorade; many horses will be attracted by the sweet smell and taste.

Horse drinking water

3. Provide Warm Water in the Winter

Ice cold water is unappealing to a horse, so make an effort to provide your horse with warm water especially in the dead of winter. You can do this by hauling hot water to the barn, or you can use a trough heater. Heated water buckets are another way to keep your horse’s water drinkable and appealing, no matter what the temperatures are.

horse drinking water

4. Provide Electrolytes

Providing your horse with electrolytes or free-choice salt is another way to prompt him to drink. A bit of salt over your horse’s grain, or a salt lick positioned by his water buckets, will activate your horse’s thirst and he should readily take to his water.

Camargue horses in a swamp - Isola della cona

5. Soak Feed

There’s one way that you can almost certainly get extra water into your horse, and that’s by soaking his feed. Soak your horse’s grain in warm water until it’s more of a mash, then give him his meal. You can also soak your horse’s hay – your horse will ingest more water by eating soaked hay than by eating dry hay.

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