Keep Your Horses Drinking When the Weather Turns Colder

Kauffman’s Animal Health, Inc., a leader in the animal health industry for over 30 years, reminds you to observe your horse carefully during seasonal and/or weather changes.  As environmental temperatures begin to drop toward freezing at night your horses’s water bucket may start to freeze.  The cold temperature may cause your horse to stop drinking as much as he normally would.  This decrease in water intake along with the increase in dry matter or hay intake increases your horse’s chance for compaction colic; however, there are a number of tricks you can use to continue to keep your horse drinking:

  1.  Make sure there is sufficient water available.  An idle horse needs a minimum of ten gallons of water per day and an active horse in hot weather can easily       consume up to 25 gallons of water daily.
  2.  Make sure the water is clean, clean, clean and easy to access.
  3.  Add an electrolyte to your horse’s daily grain ration to stimulate thirst and to replace essential minerals.
  4.  If you notice your horse is not drinking, consider administering an electrolyte paste.
  5.  If the water is very cold, try adding some warm water to the bucket.
  6.  Go for a ride!  A 15 minute walk or light ride should stimulate thirst.

Adding a daily dose of a well balanced electrolyte to your horses’s grain ration is an easy, economical and reliable way to keep your horse drinking.  When looking for an electrolyte, pay particular attention to the list of ingredients.  Many times electrolytes are loaded with dextrose (sugar) and although this will encourage your horse to eat the “sugar-filled” electrolyte it will not do much to encourage water intake.