Categories: HAPPA Facts, Latest News296 words1.1 min read

Why water is very important for equines.


March 1, 2016



The average horse will drink five to ten gallons of water per day
– that’s a lot water! If you are worried about your horse’s water intake use a water bucket not an automatic water bowl so you can keep a daily record. If after taking a record you are still worried about your horse’s intake you should seek veterinary advice.
Providing your horse with fresh clean water can help reduce the risk of colic, help maintain body condition and help maintain healthy digestion.
A few ways that water helps horses and ponies include:
Blood:  The circulatory system cannot function without water.
Digestive System:  Water in saliva acts as a medium to transport food through the gastro-intestinal tract.
Lymphatic System: Removes waste products from the body and helps fight against disease. (interestingly, from Latin, Lympha means water).
Excretory Systems:  Extract waste products from the body (urine and droppings).
Eyes and Nostrils:  Require water for excretion of tears and mucus.
And the most important Thermoregulation (sweating).
Signs that your horse could be dehydrated are weakness, depression, sunken eyeballs, dry mucous membranes, slowed capillary refill time and increased heart rate.  A quick way to check your horse’s hydration level is to pinch the skin near the base of the horse’s neck for two seconds.  If the skin returns to normal, almost immediately, then the horse is not seriously dehydrated.  However, if the skin stays in the pinched position, the horse needs water.
Strenuous exercise and hot weather can be causes of dehydration, however certain diseases and conditions can affect your horses ability to maintain fluid, for example diarrhoea, fever, acute gastric dilation, intestinal obstruction or peritonitis.
Always ensure you keep your horse well-watered and if you are ever in doubt about anything seek veterinarian advice.