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Most of us are aware of the importance of staying hydrated in hot weather but do we give enough thought to how much our horses are drinking? On average an adult light horse breed animal will drink 5-10 gallons of water daily1. This should be freshwater and it should be available to the horse on a 24/7 basis. Unless your horse has easy access to a creek or pond to drink from the best way to ensure this is possible is with a water trough. Keeping your horse hydrated helps in avoiding colic, the number one killer of horses, dehydration and weight loss.
Watering your horse in hot weather is natural, but water in winter is perhaps even more important. Thinking that snow will serve your horse well can lead to all sorts of health issues. Again, a water trough is the best solution, and it should provide warm water. Horses drinking water heated to between 40-65 F will be 40% more hydrated than if the water was not heated2. Water troughs can be purchased with heaters built in by we have found it easier to use our regular troughs and add a floating water heater built specifically for this purpose thus ensuring that our horses drink enough and stay healthy when the weather turns cold.
A good water trough will cost you about $100 for a size large enough for several horses. A water heater for that trough will be under $75. All bargain prices when you think of the potential cost of a veterinarian visit. I’ve always been quick to point out that if you can’t afford that $100 water trough, you can’t afford to keep a horse!
How much water does your horse need, link to Penn State U
Winter water for horses