You know the age-old saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink it.” Horses are very finicky when it comes to their water, which can be frustrating, given that they need a lot of it (5-10 gallons a day!) in order to stay hydrated and healthy. If your horse isn’t drinking water, it’s important to figure out why as quickly as possible. Here’s what you need to know about potential reasons why your horse isn’t drinking water and what you can do to help.
#1. It Isn’t Fresh
Horses need fresh, clean water. If your horse isn’t drinking water, check their water sources. If it’s stale, has algae in it, or is dirty, your horse probably is going to refuse to drink it. You can keep your horse’s water fresh by having their buckets, troughs, and other water sources cleaned regularly. You can also keep your horse’s water fresher for longer by keeping it out of the sunlight, as this will discourage the growth of algae and bacteria.
You may also consider installing one of our horse waterers, as one of their key benefits is ensuring your horse always has access to fresh, clean water.
#2. The Water Source Is Unfamiliar
If you’re traveling, at a show, or recently got your horse, and your horse isn’t drinking water, this could be because they’re not familiar with the water source. If the water smells or tastes different than what they’re accustomed to, they can refuse to drink it or drink less of it. You can help with this by either bringing water from home with you, or by getting your horse used to drinking water that has been slightly flavored beforehand, as bringing water with you isn’t always feasible.
Should you flavor your horse’s water, you can use some apple juice, molasses, or sugar-free Kool-Aid or Gatorade. You always want to ensure that your horse has access to both flavored and unflavored water, so you don’t risk discouraging their water intake.
#3. They’re Nervous
If your horse isn’t drinking water, this could also be because they’re nervous. Nervous horses typically drink less than calm horses. If your horse doesn’t feel safe, this could be why they’re refusing to drink. This is because in the wild, horses are exposed when they drink, so if they feel nervous or like they’re in danger at all, they’ll be reluctant to drink, as they don’t want to put themselves in a risky situation.
You want to do whatever you can to calm your horse down and let them know that they’re safe with you, as the calmer they are, the more likely they are to drink.
#4. There’s Too Much Fluoride
Most water naturally has some level of fluoride in it, but if there’s too much fluoride, this could be why your horse isn’t drinking water. Horses don’t like water that has too high a concentration of fluoride, as it can have an unpleasant taste.
#5. Their Waterer Is Shocking Them
Electric automatic horse waterers carry the risk of shocking your horse whenever they try to drink. It’s how Bar Bar A came to be: the inventor Frank Frodsham didn’t know why his horses weren’t drinking water from their electric waterer, only to get shocked when he put his hand in the waterer. A non-electric horse waterer, such as the kind that we sell, ensures that your horse always has access to fresh, clean water without any risk of being shocked when they try to drink.
#6. It’s Too Hot Or Too Cold
Another reason why your horse isn’t drinking water could be that the water itself is too hot or too cold. Horses like temperate water, and if it freezes or burns, they’re not going to want to drink it. If you live somewhere that gets really cold, they could not be drinking water because it’s frozen over and they can’t access it. It’s important to ensure that your horse has easy access to temperate water all year round.
Help Your Horse Drink More Water With Bar Bar A
Bar Bar A’s automatic horse waterers were designed to make drinking enough water easy for your horses. Since they’re connected to a water line, that means that the water is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, providing water at the right temperature for your horse to want to drink it. Since there is no standing water, you don’t need to worry about stale or dirty water impacting your horse’s water consumption.
If your horse isn’t drinking water, we can help by ensuring that they always have access to clean, fresh water at a comfortable temperature. Contact us today to learn more about our automatic horse waterers.