Originally published on TheHorse.com
Water is one of the essential nutrients a horse needs to perform a number of life-support functions, including digestion and thermoregulation. Especially with the hot summer weather prevalent in much of the country, it's important to ensure horses have access to water at all times.
As horse owners, we know it's important to provide free-choice water to horses at all times, but it is also imperative that the water is of good quality, clean, and palatable.
A number of circumstances can lead a water deficiency in horses, including unpalatable taste, lack of water offered, or loss of thirst due to exertion. The effects of insufficient water intake include decreased performance, decreased feed intake, dehydration, and eventually, if not remedied, death.
On average, a typical 1,100-pound horse at maintenance consumes four to nine gallons of water per day. The amount of water a horse requires can vary depending upon several factors:
The type, amount, and quality of feed consumed
Temperature and humidity
With temperatures soaring in many parts of the country, it's important to remember how crucial water is to keeping horses healthy. Always ensure your horses have access to fresh, clean water at an appropriate temperature, and ensure they're drinking the fluids provided. Consider adding a few ounces of salt or an electrolyte supplements to horses' diets if lack of water consumption is a concern.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.