How Much Water Does A Horse Drink?
The average horse drinks 5-10 gallons of freshwater per day.
Like humans, different horses crave or need different amounts of water.
A horse deprived of food, but with clean water, can survive for 20 to 25 days.
A horse deprived of water can only live up to 3 – 6 days.
A horse may refuse to eat and show signs of colic and other life-threatening illnesses after lacking water intake for two days.
In the summer heat, horses typically enjoy cool, fresh water, but in cold winter situations, difficulties arise in providing water that is too cold or in a semi-frozen state.
Humans enjoy a cup of hot tea, coffee, or chocolate to warm their internal systems and their needs, specially during cold climatic conditions.
Horse owners have found that heating drinking water for their horse in the winter will cause the horse to consume more water.
In the summer, if the horse has the advantage of grazing daily on fresh pastures, it will be able to consume water through the intake of pastures, which contain large amounts of water.
This could reduce the horse’s desire to frequent thirst.
In the winter, the horse depends on dry pasture forage or hay, which has a lower concentration of water.
Therefore, a horse may need an increase in offered water in the winter months, rather than in grazing periods.
READ MORE: How Much Grain Does A Horse Need Per Day?
Seasonal weather conditions concerns
Like the availability of water during the different seasonal temperatures, the use of a horse by humans is dependent in seasonal weather conditions.
Horse owners do not tend to ride or use their horses often during the cold winter months. When spring comes and progresses through the summer months, the horse is more active with pleasure riding, trail(horseback) riding, show riding, working on farms and ranches.
The horse’s lack of water consumption during this time of use could lead to dehydration.
Dehydration in horses is a dire situation that can occur during strenuous exercise, stressful situations, or diarrhea cases.
Lack of water can include a lack of electrolytes. Electrolytes include the minerals sodium, chloride, and potassium, and a lack of electrolytes can lead to kidney failure in the horse if the horse does not rehydrate quickly.
Horse owners may suspect dehydration in their horse by recognizing the signs: sunken eye or clouding, lethargy, dry skin, and mouth, stretched flanks, depression, or excessive thick saliva.
Another sign of dehydration is a high level of protein in the blood, which can be determined by a blood sample.
The horse may display one or a combination of these signs.
A simple, but not always accurate, way to judge dehydration in horses is to perform a simple skin pinch test; Pinch a fold of the horse’s skin, then release it.
The skin should immediately return to its natural position.
If the skin remains at a peak for two to five seconds, this could be a sign of mild dehydration. The longer the skin remains on a ridge, the severity of the lack of water in the horse’s system can be determined.
A horse skin that remains in a ridge appearance for ten to fifteen seconds is the alert for immediate veterinary assistance, as the skin is showing signs of severe dehydration.