Did you know there are six nutrients every horse requires in its diet – carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water – yet, water is often the most forgotten? In this article we discuss five reasons why horses needs water, especially during Summer.
- Horses consume 22-55 litres of water per day
This amount may only go up when the weather is hot and humid. Water is the vital nutrient that keeps any living thing functioning. During Summer and following intense exercise, the need for water increases to remain hydrated and assist in maintaining core body temperature.
- Commercial feeds and baled hay lack moisture
Depending on where you live, your pastures may be affected by drought this season, which leaves your horse relying on grains and roughage. Fresh pasture usually contains between 60-80% moisture, whereas commercial feeds and baled hay provide far less to your horse.
- Horses can lose up to 10L of water in sweat per hour
During intense exercise, your horse can lose large quantities of water and electrolytes in their sweat, which must be replaced. If the weather is warm enough, horses standing idle in the paddock are also at risk of dehydration if left without shade and fresh water supplies.
- Health problems can impact water consumption
Fluid loss is common in horses with diarrhoea and chronic kidney disease. This will need to be compensated by providing these horses with additional water to not only keep them hydrated, but also to facilitate recovery.
- Lactating mares have higher water requirements
Finally, the demands placed on your mare’s body to produce milk for her nursing foal are high, with lactating mares often needing up to 80% more water than other horses. Ensure she also receives a well-balanced, forage-first diet to support her and her growing foal.
The team at Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services are the leaders in horse vet and breeding services in the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich regions. Call us today on (07) 4511 4554 or click here to find out more about our services.