Table of Contents:
- Maintain A Clean Water Source
- Keep Ice Off the Water
- Invest in a Submersible Tank Heater
- Track Hydration Levels
- Use Mineral Salt Blocks to Maintain Electrolyte Intake
Winter can be a tricky time for horse owners. Cold weather brings about things like frozen water buckets and very cold water troughs, making it difficult to keep your horse hydrated. As horse owners, we are responsible for ensuring that our horses stay healthy and hydrated all year round. That means the most important thing we have to do is get to know our horse, and understand the signs and symptoms of when something is wrong.
By building a clear understanding of what our horse looks like in good health, it will be easier to notice when things are off. In addition to this, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your horse drinks enough water throughout the winter. Let’s take a look at some of our best tips for winter water care for horses.
Maintain A Clean Water Source
It is essential that you provide your horse with access to clean drinking water at all times during the winter. Even if there isn’t snow or ice present, dirt, debris, and other contaminants can still accumulate over time and make their way into your horse's drinking supply. Ensure that your horse's water bucket or trough is clean and free of dirt and buildup by giving it a good scrub every few days. This will protect them from consuming dirty or harmful substances. Additionally, make sure that you have a well-functioning filter installed so that contaminants can not make their way into their water supply.
Keep Ice Off the Water
Another key factor in ensuring your horse stays hydrated during the winter is regularly removing the ice from their water source. If there is ice on top of the water, it will prevent them from drinking enough and could block the flow of water altogether. Be sure to check your horse’s water often and remove any ice blocks that have formed on top before they have a chance to drink from it.
Invest in a Submersible Tank Heater
One of the most important pieces of equipment you can have to help keep your horse hydrated in the winter is an electric tank heater. It can get difficult to keep ice out of your horse's water manually, especially if you live in a very cold area. But submersible tank heaters are designed to be submerged in the water. This way, they can keep large amounts of liquid from freezing.
If you do choose to use a water tank heater, try to invest in one that is fully submersible in your horse’s drink, as opposed to a floating one. Any heater that horses come across may be pulled out or played with by them due to their natural curiosity. This could pose a serious risk of shock or burn injury. There have been many cases where drinking horses got hurt by playing with water heaters, so making sure that your horse's drink tank has heaters that are well-maintained and properly submerged is essential.
Track Hydration Levels
Finally, it is important to track your horse’s hydration levels throughout the winter months. To do this effectively, take note of how much they drink over the course of a few days, as this will give you an idea of how much water they typically intake. You'll also be able to notice right away if they aren't drinking enough.
You can also monitor how much your horses are drinking by physically checking in with them. Regularly check their bellies under their blankets for any irregularities. Signs of dehydration in horses include weakness, trembling, pain, and stiffness, so be on the lookout for these.
Checking their necks is another way to make sure they are drinking enough. To do this, use your thumb to grab hold of the skin on your horse's neck, right above their shoulder. If your horse is well-hydrated, that skin should snap right back when let go. If the skin forms a wrinkle that takes longer than a few seconds to disappear when pulled or pinched, it is a sign of dehydration.
Moreover, you should keep an eye on your horse's gums regularly to make sure they are healthy and vibrant. A healthy horse should have nice vibrant, pink gums. If their gums appear pale or slightly gray, it could be a sign that more fluids might be necessary.
Finally, one of the most fool-proof ways to check for dehydration in horses is by observing their urine. Signs of dehydration will show up in the form of thick and dark urine. If you notice this in your horse, it’s a clear sign that they are not drinking enough.
Use Mineral Salt Blocks to Maintain Electrolyte Intake
Keeping horses hydrated is about more than just making sure they drink enough, it is also essential for maintaining their electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are minerals found in body fluids such as blood and urine that help regulate a variety of bodily functions including muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Electrolytes are lost through sweat when a horse exercises or engages in strenuous activity, so they need to get enough electrolytes in their diet to replenish their supplies. While you can add electrolytes directly to your horse's feed, many horse owners prefer to use mineral salt blocks that their horses can lick on during the day. Mineral salt blocks are a great way for horses to maintain their electrolyte levels during the colder months.
At Silver Lining Herbs, we suggest using natural Himalayan salt blocks over salt blocks made of artificial salts or iodized sodium. These contain added preservatives and synthetic ingredients, while Himalayan salt blocks do not.
You could also supplement your horse’s diet with herbs that support their kidney functions. Look for ingredients like uva ursi, barberry, and garlic, all of which are known to promote kidney health and improve kidney functions. These blends can encourage normal electrolyte levels in horses without the use of any artificial ingredients or preservatives. We recommend our Kidney Support blend, which contains a proprietary blend of powerful herbal ingredients. These can be very effective in helping to keep horses healthy during the winter months.
Staying on top of winter water care for horses is essential for maintaining their health throughout colder months. As temperatures drop, it is important to make sure that your horses have access to suitable drinking water at all times. That means water that is clean and warm enough for consumption. By using a submersible tank heater, clearing ice from the tank regularly, ensuring clean water with the help of a well-functioning filter, and tracking whether or not they are drinking enough each day – you can help keep your horse hydrated all winter long. Taking these steps will help ensure that your horses remain healthy and hydrated even when temperatures dip below freezing.
Additionally, feel free to explore our range of herbal healthcare products designed to keep your horses happy and healthy year-round. If you have any questions and need advice on choosing the right products for your horse, just get in touch with us. Our team at Silver Lining Herbs would be happy to help you out.