Winter brings with it all sorts of challenges when taking care of your horses. From winter weight loss to struggling to be able to exercise them enough thanks to the cold and winter weather conditions, there’s a lot to stay on top of. On top of all the other challenges you’re dealing with, keeping your horses hydrated in the winter is essential – but not the easiest thing.
Here’s what you need to know about winter hydration for horses, why horses may drink less in the winter months, how this can affect their overall health, and some tips for what you can do in order to help your horse stay hydrated all winter long. Let’s get into it.
Why Horses May Drink Less In The Winter
There are many reasons why winter hydration for horses can be difficult. Some of which are as follows:
- The water is cold. Horses prefer to drink temperate water and may find cold water unappealing. Studies have shown that horses can drink up to 40% more water in the winter months when provided with warm water, as opposed to cold water.
- The water is frozen. If your horse’s water is frozen, they can’t drink it. If you use water troughs or buckets or the like, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re checking the water for ice multiple times throughout the day. If there’s ice, break it apart so that your horse can drink.
- Their water is inaccessible. This ties into the aforementioned point. Horses can’t access water if it’s frozen over. However, their water may also be inaccessible due to weather conditions.
- They don’t want to go out to the water. If your horse is thirsty and it’s blizzarding outside, they may not want to venture out into the elements in order to satiate their thirst (and who can blame them?)
Why Winter Hydration For Horses Is So Important
Hydration is important always, and winter is no exception. Your horse needs enough water in order for their body to function properly and stay healthy. Some of the reasons why winter hydration for horses is so important include:
- Digestion. Horses tend to need to eat more in the winter in order to prevent winter weight loss. In order to properly digest their food, they need to be hydrated. This is why horses do most of their drinking before or after eating, making this the perfect time to check water buckets and troughs and fill them up as needed.
- Increased metabolism. Horses are using extra energy during the winter in order to stay at a comfortable temperature. As such, they need to eat more in order to provide their body with the fuel it needs. As mentioned above, more food means more water.
- Exercise. We know, exercising your horse during the winter can be difficult, but it’s important to their overall health, the same as it is for humans. Horses need more water in order to cool their bodies down during the winter, especially if you let your horse grow a natural winter coat.
If your horse gets dehydrated, this can lead to many health issues, from depression to low energy to impaction colic and more.
Tips For Keeping Your Horse Hydrated During The Winter
So, we actually wrote an entire blog about how you can keep your horse hydrated during the winter months, which you can find a link to in the section below this one. That said, we’ll touch on a few key points here, and then you can head over there for more in-depth information.
- Use electrolytes. This makes your horse thirsty, which encourages them to drink more.
- Give them a salt block. Again, this will make your horse thirsty.
- Feed them mashes. The extra water content helps them stay hydrated.
- Use an automatic horse waterer. Not only does this provide your horse with water whenever they need it, you also don’t have to worry about it being too cold or freezing over.
Further Reading About Caring For Horses In The Winter
You can check out our previous blogs about caring for horses in the winter to learn more.
- How To Keep Your Horse Hydrated During The Winter
- 9 Ways To Help Your Horse Transition To Winter
- 9 Useful Tips For Exercising Your Horse In Winter
- 4 Ways To Prevent Winter Weight Loss
- Why Is Frozen Water Bad For Horses?
- 6 Reasons Why Your Horse Isn’t Drinking Water
- How To Know If Your Horse Is Sick: 4 Warning Signs To Watch Out For
Automatic Horse Waterers To Make Winter Hydration For Horses Easier
Bar Bar A provides non-electric automatic horse waterers that make keeping your horses hydrated throughout the winter months easier than ever before. With easy access to as much water as they like, and said water being clean and at a nice temperature, your horse can more easily stay hydrated. Contact us today to learn more about our automatic horse waterers and how they work.