Keep your horse hydrated – but how?
Summer is here and we all know about the importance of water and so called electrolytes in their role of hydration for our horse. Dehydrated horses can easily get impaction colics, tight muscles, stop eating, get lethargic and can suffer a heatstroke.
How do you know you are doing it right?
Many horse owners believe that they can place their horse on autopilot with a functioning automatic waterer, a salt block and a scoop of electrolytes. Not quite. There are a few simple things you should do to keep your horse safer in the heat:
1) Check your Auto-Water-Feeder daily.
Replace any small half shells with deeper, gallon size devices or add a large muck bucket. (See above image) Why? Horses are flight animals and impatient. On hot days the water pressure in the pipes at the stables drop because everyone is using more water. The effect is that the small auto-feeders take much longer to fill and horses do not take enough time. Sometimes horses even suck air when they push the tongue down and nothing comes out. Enough of a problem to produce an impaction colic from insufficient hydration.
2) Add lose, unrefined white or grey salt (sea salt best) to the feed twice daily. If yo only feed once a day, hang a container with lose salt into the stall. A thousand pound adult horse at rest needs a minimum of one ounce (two tablespoons) twice daily. Most horses will NOT lick this amount from a salt-lick, especially if they are colored. Why? Because salt licks are made for the rough tongue of a cow. Why not using the colored salt licks? Because the color is produced by minerals which your horse most likely does not need to the amount that plain white salt is needed. Horse sweat consists to approx. 90 percent of plain table salt (sodium chloride).
3) Filter the water with a garden hose filter. Some horses do not like the taste of the water, especially when you take them to a new place like a show. If you take the water filter with you, the water always tastes just like home. You can screw the garden hose filter on the hose directly, and you can also build them into the automatic feeder line (see above image). I heave heard racehorse trainers say that simply by filtering the water, the horses run better and recover faster.
4) This point applies to senior horses, stressed horses and horses with special needs: A certain endocrine- and common imbalance which is mostly reversible with nutrition and either NOT recognized or mis-interpreted by conventional Veterinary Medicine keeps horses from holding water in their system. These horses always seem dehydrated, no matter what you do. They also seem to urinate and drink a lot more than others. Send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-409-8500 if you need help.