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What you need to know about monitoring your horse’s hydration

Here is what you need to know about your horse's hydration needs.

One of the first steps toward establishing healthy habits for your horse is proper hydration. Lots of water is essential to the equestrian digestive system. A dehydrated horse is prone to more diseases. Here are three tips you need to know about monitoring your horse's water intake to ensure you're giving it the best care possible:

1. Clean the container regularly
Regardless of whether you use a tank, feeder or trough, the source of your horse's water should be cleaned often. Unclean water basins can develop algae that can be harmful to you horse over time if it's consumed. In addition, the longer algae is left untreated, the harder it is to clean. Consistent cleaning can help eliminate algae ever being an issue.

When it comes to cleaning your horse's water source, you may still have qualms about what cleaners to use. Bleach is a great disinfectant that can be utilized in a number of ways. Some people like it as a tank cleaner or water chlorinator for their horses. To clean a tank with bleach, you should only use 10 percent of a bleach solution and rinse with twice as much water. If the warning label comes with a waiting period before consumption, be sure to follow it. Avoid breathing the 10 percent vapors while cleaning the tank.

After bleaching and thoroughly rinsing your containers, be sure to let the water stand for at least an hour before allowing your horse to drink from it. Always use unscented bleach products because the ingredients in scented bleach can be harmful. Be sure to move your horses far away from any usage of bleach due to potential fumes. 

For chlorinating the drinking water using a trace of unscented bleach, here are suggested guidelines:

  • 1 gallon of water = 2 drops of bleach.
  • 5 gallons of water = 11 drops of bleach.
  • 50 gallons of water = 1 3/4 teaspoons of bleach.
  • 100 gallons of water = 3 1/2 teaspoons of bleach.
  • 500 gallons of water = 6 tablespoons of bleach.

Let the treated water stand for an hour before allowing your horse to drink. 

"Don't forget about providing water for your horses at night."

2. Always have water available
This may sound like common knowledge, but some equestrian owners aren't sure how much water their horse needs. Although it is dependent on your horse's daily activity, the average horse consumes about 10 to 12 gallons of water a day. The easiest way to ensure that your horse is properly hydrated is to always have water available for it. Most people forget at night. Include a smaller tub or tank for your horse inside the stable in case it gets thirsty in the evening. 

3. Ensure the water is fresh
Horses, much like people, do not like unclean water. In fact, if a horse smells or tastes water that is polluted, it will refuse to drink it. Some owners recommend adding a dose of apple cider vinegar into their water. This remedy can deter bugs and some algae growth. In addition, over time, apple cider vinegar can cause your horse's coat to become shinier and it can act as a natural fly spray. This will help prevent insect bites and skin or bacterial infections down the line.

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