Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How critical is water intake on these hot summer days?
By Kentucky Equine Research
Providing fresh, clean water to horses at all times remains a basic principle of horsemanship. Even so, here are six facts about water for your footcare clients to consider the next time they’re scrubbing buckets or waiting for the trough to fill.
- Not surprisingly, water consumption depends on body weight. Expect a Belgian to out drink a Haflinger any day of the week. Oddly enough, though, horses of similar body weight and breed may have completely different, though normal, intakes. What’s normal, you ask? Idle horses in a moderate climate will drink 5 to 15 gallons of water daily.
- Just because an older mare drank two buckets of water yesterday and the day before, that doesn’t mean she’ll drink two pails today. Variations in water intake for individual horses may occur from day to day. Owners need to keep track of water consumption as best they can, and alert a veterinarian when a horse seems to drink little or no water.
- Without question, diet affects water consumption. Horses grazing lush pasture grasses, which are high in moisture content, will drink less water than those faced with a pile of hay. In fact, horses that consume all-hay diets often drink more water than those fed mixed hay-grain diets.
- Drinking doesn’t take up a lot of a horse’s day. Researchers calculated that well-fed mature horses spend only 5 or 6 minutes a day drinking water, though this is achieved in several visits to the water source.
- Do foals drink water, or do their dams provide adequate fluid until weaning? If you’re a breeder, you’ve seen foals hit the waterer as early as a week old. In one study, 1-month-old foals drank nearly a gallon of water in addition to receiving more than 4 gallons of milk daily from their mothers.
- Depending on environmental conditions and work intensity, exercising horses may require more water than their sedentary peers, especially if they sweat. Horses that sweat daily should be given electrolytes to help replace mineral losses in sweat. Research-proven supplements provide the best electrolyte therapy.
Located in Versailles, Ky., Kentucky Equine Research is an international research, consulting and product development company working in the areas of equine nutrition and sports nutrition.
Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine).
Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.
Click here to read Part 1 of the August 1, 2017 installment: There seems to be very little discussion about the role of sulfur in a horse’s diet. Does it affect hoof growth and quality?