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During these hot days of ( much too early) summer all of us who work our horses should remember that access to water at all time is critical. Horses that have to wait till a human brings them water or are led to water might not drink enough or too much at one time. Dehydration is a very serious risk. Darker than usual urine can be an indicator of too little water intake.But also in winter , when they eat a lot of hay, it is mandatory that horses can have as much water as they need. Since nature built them as self-regulatory beings, their organisms know best how much. My horses, which have free access to water any time they aren't working, drink water only sparingly when they are unharnessed after work and wait a while till they quench their thirst. I guess because they are not so low on water in their bodies that they feel deprived. One of them, during winter , dunks ever so often while eating a mouthful in the nearby water bucket which I offer so that he doesn't have to travel over to the tank.
Obviously his body tells him that he needs that for digestion.

NoraWI says 2018-06-03 07:35:43 (CST)

I have a mare who does the same, taking a break from eating hay for a frequent drink of water. I have a heated water tank in their winter barn so they don't have to walk any distance to get to it. The rest drink after they have finished their hay.

I am very lucky as we have spring filled tanks throughout the farm plus available creeks running through most of the pastures. In summer, some of the horses dunk themselves in the shallow creeks or in the pond to coat themselves with mud both for cooling as well as protection from insects. These "dumb animals" definitely know what to do for comfort and protection.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-06-03 20:26:50 (CST)

In addition to the above, I have noticed that horses when having a choice between water from the tap and rainwater, especially when it is fresh right after a rain, prefer the latter. They probably want to avoid the fluor and chlorine, I suppose.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2018-06-04 07:18:26 (CST)

No floride nor chlorine in my well water. I suspect horses prefer rain water because of the ozone in it. It is also cleaner for a longer period of time than the water in the tank, even when topped up frequently.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2018-06-04 23:28:06 (CST)

We have seen our horses have preferences as well. We used to water via a trough, and, depending on our drought status, water source was from the well, rain cisterns, or city water (though we try to let it sit to let some of the chlorine evaporate). Last year, we dug a pond, and created an overflow into a horse watering hole. We lined it with rock to try to discourage too much walking and rolling in it. We assumed it would be too muddy for them to want to drink, and kept their drinking trough in place. No go. They completely lost interest in the trough, and only want to drink from the watering hole. I can only assume it is the mineral content in that water, from the soil and rocks it passes over. Meanwhile, to keep them from getting too picky, I like to offer them water out of a bucket several times a week, after having them in tie stalls, out working, or whatever, just to make sure they remember to drink when it's offered!

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-06-06 20:53:51 (CST)

Just remember horses and mules in there normal state only water once every 2-3 days. I have rode and worked them all day and some don't drink all day others drink at every water hole, tank or creek that they come to just like people. I left the house at 6-7 this morning after I drank one cup of coffee Just got in at 8 this evening nothing to eat or drink since morning I wasn't thirsty or hungry all day until I got in the house. Ive eat a Hamburger and drank 2 cups of coffee since I came in

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2018-06-07 17:55:34 (CST)

Early in the year when I start working my mules to get ready for mountain riding, I give them paste electrolytes that replenishes those lost and also gets them to drink more.

Some of my mules have been finicky about stream/lake and have been known not to drink for the first day or two in the hills. After that they really get to it. Unless it is long, long day, my mules will not drink at a stream crossing. They will take a sip when first getting back to the truck, but won't drink much until they cool off. I wouldn't trust a horse to do that though.

I have no running stream or pond on my place ,so all water is well water in tank. Since warm days tend to grow algae, I put about an 1/8 of a cup of laundry bleach in each 150 gallon tank filling and it keeps the water free of green stuff. Winters, the stock tanks get heaters that keep them free of ice

Before anyone says this isn't healthy, I have been doing it for 50+ years and have had mules from birth that live to be 30+.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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