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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Martin

Horse Hydration Tips

Keeping your horse hydrated is critical, especially during intense heat. Dehydration predisposes your horse to impaction colic, as well as a multitude of other health issues. Read on for some tips for ensuring your horse stays happy, healthy, and hydrated.

Fresh, Clean Water 24/7/365

This is a necessity all day, every day, all year. Ensure your horse has access to clean, fresh water at all times. In hot weather, horses can drink upwards of 15 gallons of water per day.


Consider adding electrolytes to your horse’s water or feed (if adding to water, have one bucket with electrolytes and keep one with plain fresh water). Electrolytes help replace the salts and minerals lost through sweating and encourage drinking. Many feed products include electrolytes, but sometimes it isn't enough. Evaluate your horse's feed program and add electrolytes or loose salt to meet your horse's requirements, especially during times of heat and excessive sweating. Offer salt blocks in your horse’s stall or pasture. Free choice salt licking can stimulate thirst, prompting them to drink more water.

Wet Their Feed

Soak hay and grain in water before feeding. This not only adds moisture but also helps in easy digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Provide Shade and Airflow

Ensure your horse has access to shaded areas to escape the sun and stay cool. Overheated horses sweat excessively and are less likely to drink water. Consider steps to protect the water source from direct sunlight - horses tend to drink more if the water is cooler than the environment.

Equestrian Heat Index Safety Reference Guide
Equestrian Heat Index Safety Reference Guide

Exercise & The Heat Index

Excessive exertion and sweating can lead to dehydration. Monitor the heat index and adjust rides and workouts accordingly. (See heat index graphic.) If you’re riding for a while, offer water breaks. Carry portable water or plan your route to include water stops.

Observe for Signs of Dehydration

Be vigilant for signs of dehydration such as dry gums, sunken eyes, drawn up flanks, and lethargy. Perform a skin pinch test: if the skin doesn’t snap back quickly, your horse may be dehydrated.

By following these tips, you can help keep your horse hydrated and healthy throughout the summer months. Regular monitoring and proactive measures are key to preventing dehydration and ensuring your horse stays comfortable and safe. Comment below with your favorite tips for beating the summer heat!

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