Electrolytes: Drinking Water in the Winter

How do you make your Horse Drink water , especially in these Cold Winter months ?

ELECTROLYTES, everyone!

” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them Drink “, as the saying goes. But seriously It is really of utmost importance that horses keep drinking in the cold weather. Sure, they aren’t sweating in the heat anymore, but their basic daily fluid requirement doesn’t change much just because the temperature drops.

Electrolytes in their water can keep Horses Drinking During Winter Months.

Since they are getting less water than when eating grass–a forage source that is over 50 percent water–they actually should be drinking more. Otherwise, you are creating a perfect situation that leads to impaction colics.

While feeding hay or other dried forages, the horse needs to acquire all his water from drinking. It is important the horse achieves it’s mark, because of the hay he is eating and the risk that impactions can occur without adequate water intake.

The average 1,000-pound horse requires about 24 quarts of water daily, or just over five gallons. If a  stalled horse only drank a gallon or two in a 24-hour period, he could be setting himself up for trouble.

Most people think of electrolytes strictly for use in hot weather and when a horse is sweating a great deal, but they can be an important part of your horse’s health care maintenance during cold weather too.

“Adding electrolytes to your winter feeding routine will encourage your horse to drink more water, and that’s a good thing. So how can you be sure he’s getting them?

“Adding the electrolytes to feed ensures that most horses will eat them”. If electrolytes are added to water or offered as a free-choice supplement, horses will usually choose to eat/drink them when the normal physiologic mechanism for decreased electrolyte concentrations kicks in.

Because you want to ensure your horse is ingesting more salt and subsequently increasing his water intake, adding it to feed is the best plan. You can also offer electrolyte water.

You can also encourage winter water consumption by making sure water isn’t overly cold.

There is not a specific number in terms of desired water temperature, but many horses will preferentially drink warm water when the weather is cold.

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