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Getting horse to drink more

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    Getting horse to drink more

    I've searched the forums and Google, but I really would like to ask this question here.

    My big horse, who has a history of colic, is a reluctant drinker. Yesterday after riding in the hot afternoon, he still would not drink a drop. He's scaring me. What have people found to be the best way to get a horse drinking more? I've heard of adding to water (Gatorade, apple juice, sweet feed), adding electrolytes or salt to grain. Do any of these things work in your experience?

    #2
    I'm interested in this questions and answer/suggestions as well. My old man has always been a bit of a camel for water consumption, and no salt additives have worked to encourage more drinking.

    Comment


      #3
      Two heaping Tablespoons of salt in feed, wet down. split am and pm. After vigorous exercise, 2-3 scoops of fruit punch gatorade "Powder" in 2-3 gal. bucket of water. My horses will guzzle water w/ gatorade powder. Maybe put some in their stall
      water bucket too.
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

      Comment


        #4
        Try Horse Quencher. If the horse likes, it, s/he will consume upwards of a full bucket in the space of 15-20 minutes. That's how it goes around here! I use the peppermint.

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Well, I tried the Gatorade this morning. Aside from licking my hands and sploshing it around with his lips, he was disinterested!

          Comment


            #6
            My horse coliced from heat 2 years ago. Scared the pants off me.. Never dealt with colic. Fortunately it passed with the help of the vet. Now she has a Himalayan salt block (the big one, maybe 6/8 pounds) and goes through one every 8 weeks. I know it helps her drink more water. She would not eat feed top dressed with electrolyte powder. When it's really hot (like 95), I'll give her electrolyte paste.
            Proud member of Appendix QH clique

            Comment


              #7
              I went through this with my gelding last summer. Ended up with an emergency vet visit for heat stress and dehydration. We gave him 1 tube of Electroplex paste every day for seven days. That made a huge difference. Now I keep it on hand to give before shows/hunter paces, etc.

              Adding 1 tablespoon of salt to AM and PM feeds year round has helped. Some people swear by adding a couple of alfalfa cubes to a 5 gallon bucket to make “alfalfa tea”. Others add molasses or Karo syrup. Salt and electrolyte paste as necessary have worked best for me.

              Comment


                #8
                Ginger snaps.

                OK, I know it is a weird answer but strangely enough it has worked for me with my mare.
                She does not like to drink when not at home and I have learned that a few ginger snaps have her wanting to drink.

                If I need to get more water into them at home I do soaked cubes/pellets and soaked hay.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DawgLady View Post
                  I've searched the forums and Google, but I really would like to ask this question here.

                  My big horse, who has a history of colic, is a reluctant drinker. Yesterday after riding in the hot afternoon, he still would not drink a drop. He's scaring me. What have people found to be the best way to get a horse drinking more? I've heard of adding to water (Gatorade, apple juice, sweet feed), adding electrolytes or salt to grain. Do any of these things work in your experience?
                  My last horse used to always drink after eating peppermints. Given his fondness for them, I also used the Peppermint Horse Quencher. He would also drink after German Horse Muffins. Sometimes giving them a treat that is a little sticky or rich in flavor will help. He had anhidrosis so keeping him hydrated was always a struggle. He was also on electrolytes and One AC. If your horse is not a good sweater, you may need to really keep an eye on hydration and body temperature.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Maybe try a turquoise colored bucket, or the closest you can find?

                    https://ker.com/equinews/color-prefe...1mIbXHkSBbFW8c

                    This one is called teal but looks pretty close to turquoise, or at least light blue:


                    https://www.statelinetack.com/item/d...xoCaUMQAvD_BwE

                    I'm going to get one for one of my mares, who never drinks in her stall, only in the pasture.
                    If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Okay, just placed an order for the peppermint Horse Quencher. Fingers crossed.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I mix a tbs of salt in every bucket of feed; I also feed soaked beet pulp. Keep your water tanks as clean as humanly possible. You can also wet down your hay right before feeding it.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I soak alfalfa cubes. I am lucky in that my horse will drink a 5-gallon bucket of mostly water. The amount of dry cubes I use is a single layer covering about 1/3 to 1/2 the bottom of the bucket. I use an electric kettle to boil the water. I add the water prior to riding and let it soak. After the ride, I fill the bucket up to the top with water and give it to him.

                          He generally drinks it down within 5 to 10 minutes. Fairly often he drinks the whole bucket at one time.

                          I would start with a higher alfalfa to water ratio and slowly increase the water amount. I would also try different brands of alfalfa cubes if he doesn't like the first one you try. My horse wouldn't drink one brand of cubes.

                          Another suggestion is hydration hay. Smartpak has it.

                          https://www.smartpakequine.com/ps/hy...15115#Overview

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by sheltoneb View Post
                            I soak alfalfa cubes. I am lucky in that my horse will drink a 5-gallon bucket of mostly water. The amount of dry cubes I use is a single layer covering about 1/3 to 1/2 the bottom of the bucket. I use an electric kettle to boil the water. I add the water prior to riding and let it soak. After the ride, I fill the bucket up to the top with water and give it to him.

                            He generally drinks it down within 5 to 10 minutes. Fairly often he drinks the whole bucket at one time.

                            I would start with a higher alfalfa to water ratio and slowly increase the water amount. I would also try different brands of alfalfa cubes if he doesn't like the first one you try. My horse wouldn't drink one brand of cubes.

                            Another suggestion is hydration hay. Smartpak has it.

                            https://www.smartpakequine.com/ps/hy...15115#Overview
                            Thanks sheltoneb ! I like this idea because alfalfa is so tummy-friendly with all the calcium. He currently doesn't have any alfalfa in his diet. So this sounds like a win-win. I'll have to give it a try. What alfalfa cubes do you like?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by DawgLady View Post
                              Okay, just placed an order for the peppermint Horse Quencher. Fingers crossed.
                              I have been using this for a year in hot central fla. What I do is mix the HQ and water prior to my riding and let it "steep" . Now my horse is highly food oriented, but he actually nickers and shakes his head when I bring the bucket to him. Hope it works for you. Peppermint here too, btw.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by DawgLady View Post

                                Thanks sheltoneb ! I like this idea because alfalfa is so tummy-friendly with all the calcium. He currently doesn't have any alfalfa in his diet. So this sounds like a win-win. I'll have to give it a try. What alfalfa cubes do you like?
                                He like the ones in the link below.

                                https://nrsworld.com/products/premiu...iABEgI5ufD_BwE

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Grass!
                                  I've tried apple juice, gatorade, quencher, but the best has been good old grass

                                  I've had issues in the past with the mare not drinking resulting in impactions, so I make sure she has grazing as much as possible (24 hour access at home). That, of course, is not always possible if away at shows, so I make sure to get her out grazing for 30-40 minutes at a time as often as I can, especially if I think she hasn't drunk as much as I'd like. Without fail, after returning her to her stall after the hand-grazing, she'd go to her bucket and drink 1/3 to 1/2 of it right away.
                                  Can't learn anything with a closed mind! with thanks to mug

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    My horse colicked earlier this week and had a 3 night stay in the hospital. Within an hour or so of him eating dinner he wasn't feeling well, and the thing I noticed right away was how dehydrated he was. Took 10L of IV fluid and he was still dehydrated. I think that's what started the colic. He isn't the best drinker and has been trying to work on a mild-moderate case of anhydrosis. Or course because he now lives basically on the surface of the sun and not in the milder more humid land he came from.

                                    I'd already been giving him salt and after rides he'd drink around 6QT of water with Gatorade powder (I did not ride the day of the colic). But he likes his Gatorade water fairly strong, so I have been experimenting with other things to get him to drink. Tried beer but apparently he is a terrible German and doesn't like beer. Might have to try some flat Guinness. I have some Zym tablets for myself that are low calorie (easier for me to drink than Gatorade most of the time), and I put 2 of those in a bucket today and got him to drink a decent amount, about 6L.

                                    I'm not sure if he'd like peppermint or apple HQ. I tried molasses water and while he loves molasses, he didn't really care much for it diluted that much. He's also been taking little nibbles off of our mint plant that decorates the entrance to the barn, but I put some mint leaves in a bucket and nope, didn't touch it. Really makes me miss my hay dunker horse!

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      You might end up needing to try a bunch of different things. One of mine loves a scoop or two of Apple Elite electrolytes from Farnham dissolved in one of his buckets. It’s cheap and easy. My other one likes the alfalfa tea mentioned above. They both get grain soaked and the one who likes the alfalfa also gets around 4qts alfalfa cubes made into soup every day.

                                      Those are mostly for traveling as mine currently live out with auto waterers, which they love to play with so drink a lot anyway.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        I put one of the 50lb salt blocks in each stall and they now consume significantly more salt and water. I saw it on Beezie’s YouTube and though what a brilliant idea! The little ones get the easy to access bits licked down too fast.
                                        Equine Portrait Commissions and Sporting Art
                                        www.laurenfanning.com
                                        Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                                        Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

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