Standlee Barn Bulletin

The Standlee Barn Bulletin is your source for insightful articles about premium western forage and beyond.

New Year’s Solutions for the Farm: Part 3 – More Equine Solutions

New Year’s Solutions for the Farm: Part 3 – More Equine Solutions

This is the third blog post in a four-part series offering New Year’s Solutions for your companion animals. Each week will feature a different species and a new giveaway. Stay tuned for more.

Resolutions can be daunting, and that’s why we’re offering up solutions for the New Year! For this equine solution blog post, we’ll be giving away an innovative watering accessory that prevents overflow of buckets or troughs, without constant supervision. A gadget that saves you time?! I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a lot more of that!

What does my horse need to survive?

Horses require three important needs in their diets, including fiber, essential nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) and water, the single most important nutrient. They can survive a few weeks on water alone, if necessary, but only a few days with no water. Here’s another way to look at it, a horse can lose almost all of its body fat and over 50% of its protein and still survive. However, a loss of only 10% of its water reservoir will devastate the health of the horse.

Woman Walking Horse to Water in Winter

Is my horse getting enough water?

Estimated water needs of a 1100lb horse
Estimated water needs of a 1100lb horse

Water requirements for horses is dependent upon environmental temperature, exercise or activity, lactation and the type and amount of feed consumed. The minimal daily water maintenance requirement of an inactive adult horse in a very comfortable environment is 0.5 gal per 100 lbs. of body weight per day (this assuming the horse is consuming at least 1.5% of its body weight in feed dry matter. This would result in about a 6 gal. requirement for a 1,100 lb. horse. Surrounding temperatures exceeding 85°F will increase how often and how much a horse will drink, while colder temperatures, below 45°F can cause a horse to drink less water. While sweating from the summer heat is a major culprit for dehydration, frozen water sources during the winter months can cause water deprivation as well.

What are symptoms of horse dehydration?

Each horse is different, but here are some signs to determine if your horse is dehydrated:

  • Do your horse’s gums look dry or inflamed?
  • When pinching your horse’s skin, does it stay tented up or slowly lay back flat?
  • Is your horse producing dark urine, or have you noticed a lack of urination?
  • Does your horse have a temperature exceeding 102°F, with profuse sweating and panting, though lacking high activity level?
  • Is there a high level of protein present in the blood? (Test performed through veterinarian)

Answering yes to any of the above questions, could be cause for dehydration concern. Severe dehydration can result in digestive upset or "impaction colic", or even be fatal, so it is critical to call your veterinarian.

My horse won’t drink water when traveling.

Just like us, horses have their own personalities – that includes differing likes and dislikes. As a horse owner, you know they can be picky! Hard water (high levels of calcium and other minerals), pH levels and even total dissolved solids can affect water palatability – none of which are visible to the naked eye. Soaking forage can help make the water more palatable. Also, be sure to stop often (every couple of hours) to offer your horse water, as that is half the battle.

Horses Drinking Water

Tips to get your horse to drink more water and prevent dehydration:

  • Always provide free access to fresh, clean water.
  • Bring water from home to help with the transition to the new location.
  • Offer soaked forage or beet pulp to encourage a horse to drink more water.
  • Provide salt as it works two-fold, helping to meet necessary nutrient requirements and encourages water consumption.
  • If using a water heater device in the cold, winter months, be sure the electrical unit is properly grounded. Horses are very sensitive to electrical shock and will quit drinking to avoid shock.

A proactive approach is always better than defensive. Take measures to keep your horse hydrated this winter and summer. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Visit the Standlee Barn Bulletin again next week for our best goat solutions and tips for the New Year!


Mixing Apple Berry Cookie Cubes

Enter to win!

We are giving away a Water Wrangler 5 gallon bucket and Apple Berry Cookie Cubes® Giveaway ends 1/21/2018. Winner will be notified by email on 1/22/2018.

The contest has ended!

Kathy Taylor is our lucky winner!

Terms and Conditions for 2018 Giveaway:

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Must be 18 years old to participate.
  • One entry per person.
  • Winners randomly drawn weekly.
  • Drawings to conclude January 26th, 2018.
  • Winners must be in the Continental US to receive prizes.
  • Winners must contact Standlee within 2 days once notified or be disqualified.
  • Entrants will receive Standlee’s e-Newsletter, but can opt-out at any time.
  • The 2018 Giveaway by Standlee Hay Company is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.
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