Keeping your horse hydrated throughout winter

The importance of ensuring your horse has a plentiful supply of fresh, clean drinking water shouldn’t be underestimated during the winter! Adult horses can drink between 24-36 litres (approximately 3-4 buckets) of water per day and this can increase to 40-45 litres (approximately 5-6 buckets) per day, with an increase in forage.

Water plays an important role in hydration and digestion. If your horse doesn’t have access to enough water, is unable to drink as the supply has frozen, or doesn’t consume enough water, it can affect how food passes along the gut, increasing the risk of impaction colic. This occurs when a firm ball of feed material blocks the intestine.

It’s important to check your water troughs twice a day and to break and remove any ice. You could also fill containers with water, so you have an emergency supply if the taps freeze. If your horse is stabled, adding some warm water into their buckets can prevent the water from freezing overnight, and may encourage a horse to drink if they don’t like the colder water!