What’s in Your Horse’s Water?

Water is an essential nutrient for horses. Find out why it’s important to keep your horses’ water sources clean and common challenges horse owners face.

Always provide your horse with free-choice access to fresh, clean water that's algae-, bug-, and critter-free. | Photo: iStock

How to keep your horse’s life source pathogen- and debris-free

For Florida boarding barn operator Clarissa Cupolo, a good, steady rain is a welcome sight. It means the 14 horses residing on her property have lush paddocks to graze. But excessive rainfall can present a set of horsekeeping challenges, particularly when it comes to horses’ drinking water and any standing water in their environment. So each morning Cupolo inspects every trough in every paddock to make sure it’s free of algae and debris—cleaning it if it’s not—and filled to the brim. Then she examines the waterlines and spigots that feed the troughs to make sure they are in place and in good working order. Finally, she peruses the pond in one paddock for algae blooms and insect activity.

“There is either too little rainfall or too much of it, so we’re always compensating for something,” she says.

Cupolo is mindful of water availability and vulnerability to environmental pressure, but most horse owners generally only think about these factors in a crisis—such as after a natural disaster. But they should pay them more attention, says Rebecca McConnico, DVM, PhD, professor of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry at Louisiana Tech University, in Ruston, and a member of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART).

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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