View Full Version : You can lead a horse to water...

Dec. 31, 2011, 05:38 AM
Well the weather is changing, back and forth between warm weather and cold. One of my horses has gone from drinking 2-2.5 buckets of water a night to drinking .5-1 bucket. His skin is starting to loose it's elasticity (pinch test). He's on electrolytes, has a mineral/salt block in his stall and outside...you guys have any more tricks for getting horses to drink?

Dec. 31, 2011, 06:23 AM
Add loose salt to his feed and a bucket heater so that the water is keep a little warmer.

Dec. 31, 2011, 07:18 AM
Add Apple Juice! Most of them love the sweetness of it and it helps them drink a bit better. I use it on the road when I am travelling to encourage them to drink while hauling too!

Dec. 31, 2011, 09:59 AM
Warm water and Horse Quencher

Dec. 31, 2011, 10:24 AM
If you feed a pelleted concentrate you can add lots of warm water to make mush. Also you could substitute Stanleys pelleted hay for some of the roughage and add warm water. I do that for a 31 yo donkey.

KBG Eventer
Dec. 31, 2011, 10:27 AM
I would wet his food down for now and add salt. Also, one barn I've been at gives the horses "alfalfa tea" on the really cold days. They soak alfalfa cubes in warm water and add a little mineral oil and salt.

Dec. 31, 2011, 10:57 AM
I made my own insulated bucket by wrapping bubble wrap shipping wrap on all sides of the bucket (including the bottom) and then wrapping with duct tape.

I then fill with warm water (I use a water bucket heater) and make the water almost bath water warm. I can really see a difference in how much my horse drinks when the water is that warm.

I use floating water heaters in the troughs but having the water really warm seems to encourage drinking more.

Dec. 31, 2011, 11:04 AM
My mare loves warm/hot water in the winter and summer.

Since she has had colic impaction episodes, this is how we make certain that she drinks enough.

When you give her a clean bucket of warm water, she will usually drink about two thirds of it right away. She especially likes it if you have cleaned the bucket with clorox first. Go figure?

Dec. 31, 2011, 11:23 AM
If you add anything to his water (or change temp), make sure there is also a bucket of just plain water available, as well. Otherwise, horse may not like the change and you could end up worse off than you started!

Dec. 31, 2011, 11:44 AM
I thought you were going to finish the thread title with "...but you can't make them step in it":lol:

Dec. 31, 2011, 11:52 AM
Me too cadance! I had that issue earlier this year.

It *appears* that my horse has gotten over it. Oh I have confused so many jump judges cantering around the entrance to the water to go through the backside and see if he will splash around. At least the last time he locked onto the actual entrance to the water! I still went around to the back though JUST to make sure.

I usually make my horse's food soupy and make him drink that way when he doesn't want to.

Dec. 31, 2011, 12:09 PM
Also, add water to all food. Soak hay. Heated water troughs for outside. Also, if your weather is anything like it is here in Kentucky, the grass has so much water in it, my horse is drinking every bite he takes.

Dec. 31, 2011, 12:25 PM
Do you have the history with this horse to know it would drink OK when cold weather hit before?

If water temperature had not been an issue before now, might get his teeth checked by a GOOD vet dentist.

I know of an instance where a horse stopped drinking water (Not winter, though) and several vets could not find the answer, even though they "checked" his mouth.

That horse had a bad tooth and ended up having surgery to have it pulled. That's what had been bugging him about the water- if it was the least cold, wouldn't drink. Could eat OK though, so it was puzzling. It took a different vet and strong suggestion before the problem was found. (Owner would not change vet group, so finally a third member of the group was called out to check with the "stong suggestion" he get thorough with the teeth)

Although I know it's normal for horses to drink less when it's cold, sometimes it can be other reasons. Do offer him warm water first with maybe an "incentive" added.

Dec. 31, 2011, 12:44 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. It's funny how different horses can be. He's pretty suspicious of warm water in cold weather. (tried that) and he gets powder electrolytes with salt in his grain. Going to try the apple juice today, as he has a huge sweet tooth! :) thanks again!

Dec. 31, 2011, 12:47 PM
Interesting tooth story! I've had the horse for five years so I know he normally drinks a LOT, even in winter. My vet is coming out next week to do yearly shots/coggins/etc so I'll have him look in his mouth when he comes as well.

Dec. 31, 2011, 03:17 PM
My ponies LOVE their warm water! I have two jugs from cat litter that I've cleaned out. I fill them with hot water and carry them down to the barn. I mix their grain in hot water and feed them "soup" for dinner. Then I make sure it's not too hot (although the baby really likes his hot!) and hold up a bucket of it for them to drink. They usually slurp it down til it's empy. I let them drink their fill and then for the rest of the night they have to drink regular water, but... at least they get a good long slurp in! I also have tank de-icers and those are the BEST money I've spent!! They don't make the water warm, but they keep it from freezing. I also add lytes to the grain.

So far so good! I think if you could get bucket heaters that would be great too. I think it's probably more of the coldness of the water than anything else.

Mine also seem more thirsty when they are eating alfalfa hay.
Good luck!