You can lead a horse to water, but can you be sure he does? Remember the horses body is approximately 70% water and is an essential nutrient, meaning that a horse cannot survive for very long without it. What are a few ways you can help to make sure your equine partner is getting sufficient water into their system?
Some are very easy:
Give your horse access to clean water.
Take familiar water with you if traveling away from home.
Add salt to your horse's diet.
Soak your horse's hay and grain, again a great fix if you are trailering
Cool your horse off, after work or even on a hot day to in the field to minimize heat stress.
Ensure your horse gets salts and minerals in form of blocks, free choose and electrolytes. Our electrolyte of choice is Buckeye Perform N Win . Click on the pic for more info.
What are the signs that maybe your horse is not getting enough fluids. How do we check for that if we aren't able to do a visual check. Maybe your stable has an auto watering system or he/she is in a herd out in the field where each individual is difficult to monitor, this last one goes for feed/hay as well by the way.
Horses normally consume between 5 and 15 gallons of water during a 24 hr period. With a stabled horse this is easy to monitor as in general we use 5 - gallon buckets. During the summer months I always make sure they have 2 five gallon buckets if stalled for any length of time, some people add a bucket of electrolyte water as well especially if the horse is working hard. I personally offer electrolytes all year round as during the Fall/Winter with the increase of hay and pastures offering less moisture it is more likely to see an increase in impaction colic.
Signs of dehydration:
Fails pinch test (When skin is pinched near base of the horse's neck for 2 seconds, then released, it should return to normal immediately.)
Sluggish activity and loss of glossy coat.
Muscle spasms and signs of pain.
Lack of saliva resulting in decreased feed intake.
Impaction colic or constipation
What about you? Are you taking care of yourself ? See below!
Are you, the rider, taking care of your Hydration needs ?
Water plays many important roles within the body. Water is the major part of most of the body’s cells (except for fat cells) and it also cushions and lubricates the brain and the joints. It transports nutrients and carries waste away from the body cells. It also helps regulate body temperature by redistributing heat from active tissues to the skin and cooling the body through perspiration.
How many times do you head for the barn in the morning, coffee in hand, but you don't drink a glass of water before leaving the house. Hands up if this is you ! Drinking a glass or two of water first thing is probably the best thing you can do for your body. Remember you have been sleeping for a good 6 - 8 hours which is a long time without water. One of the biggest indicators of lethargy or low energy in the morning or anytime is that you are dehydrated.
My go to in the morning is adding an electrolyte to my water. I try to drink that before I do anything else, mainly because if I don't do it then I will forget. Sigh! Since I have been doing this I find myself much more ready to face the day and my energy level is so much better. My favorite is Electrolyte Fizz . Click on the links below to check out all the yummy flavors!