Hydration can prevent colic and keep your horse healthy this winter.
- Soak Your Horse’s Feed
- By soaking your horses feed with water, you can increase the overall hydration. Most commercial feeds can be soaked. Start with just a little water and increase it each day to get your hose used to a wetter meal. My horses love their feed and alfalfa cubes almost as a soup in the winter time. You can also add soaked beet pulp to increase hydration, fiber and add calories. Beet pulp can be used to help underweight horses gain weight, as it provides approximately 1,000 kcals per pound (one quart of dry beet pulp shreds weighs approximately 0.5-0.6 pounds). (Kentucky Equine Research) If your horse has no issues with sugar, consider adding a bit of applesauce as an extra added treat!
- Provide free access to a salt and mineral block.
- Salt improves a horses thirst. Be sure to keep the salt block from being rained on and wasted and keep it off the ground. There are ones that an be tied in stalls, put in feed troughs or put in special bins on the ground.
- Provide Heated Water
- No one likes to gulp freeing cold water and our horses are the same. Buckets and trough heaters offer a more desirable temperature for drinking water. If you don’t have a heater, you can pour in hot water to existing buckets to encourage drinking. It is best practice to provide water at a temperature between 45 F and 65 F to encourage adequate water consumption.
- Keep you Water Fresh and Clean
- This holds true for any time of year. This necessary chore will prevent the water from tasting bad from algae, bits of hay, feed or even manure in the water.
Winter time already presents challenges with riding and exercising, but don’t let your horse’s water intake be one of those. Monitoring water consumption is essential in the Winter time to prevent impaction colic. If problems with hydration or colic arise, consult with your veterinarian first.