How to Get a Horse to Drink When Away From Home

Find out why some horses won’t consume water away from home and learn how to keep him hydrated.
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How to Get a Horse to Drink Water When Away From Home
Staying adequately hydrated is vital to your horse’s overall health, well-being, and performance ability. | Photo: iStock

Q: Last weekend at an event my horse stopped drinking, which has never been an issue for him before. He also doesn’t seem to be as keen to drink on the trailer as he once was. Do you have any suggestions on how I can keep him drinking?

A: Staying adequately hydrated is vital to your horse’s overall health, well-being, and performance ability. Dehydration not only increases the chances of an impaction colic but also reduces fluids available for the production of bodily fluids such as saliva, mucus, and digestive secretions. Dehydration can also lead to issues with muscle contraction and nerve conduction, thus it negatively impacts performance. In severe cases it might even lead to tying-up.

So if your horse is dehydrated not only does this have health implications, but he also won’t be at his competitive best! In fact it has been reported that a 1% decrease in hydration can result in as much as a 4 % drop in performance

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Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

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