If you’re looking for how much water does a horse drink in a day in litres , then you’ve come to the right place. Drinking enough clean water is important for your horse so they can stay hydrated, but if your horse drinks too much it can make him ill.
How much water does a horse drink in a day?…a lot. Some horses drink up to 50 liters of water in a day. To give you some perspective, an olympic swimming pool is 25 meters long and typically six feet deep. That means that if the average person were to swim laps the entire length of the pool they would only consume the same amount of water that a horse drinks in a day!
Drinking Behavior of Horses: Six Facts About Water Intake
1. Not surprisingly, water consumption depends on body weight. Expect a Belgian to outdrink 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 5-15 gallons (20-55 liters) of water daily.
2. Just because your old mare drank two buckets of water yesterday and the day before that doesn’t mean she’ll drink two today. Variations in water intake for individual horses may occur from day to day. Keep track of water consumption as best as you can, and alert a veterinarian if your horse seems to drink little or no water.
3. 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 drink more water than those fed mixed hay-grain diets.
4. Drinking doesn’t take up a lot of your horse’s day. Researchers calculated that well-fed mature horses spend only five or six minutes a day drinking water, though this is achieved in several visits to the water source.
Water requirements for horses vary depending on age, digestive health, diet composition, body condition, activity level, and perspiration rates.
Horses on pasture obtain more water from their forage and require less drinking water. Conversely, horses consuming hay and grain will need to drink more water to replenish hydration status.
The estimated water requirement for a horse at maintenance consuming hay is approximately 50 – 60 mL/kg body weight daily.
For the average 500 kg horse, this is 25 – 30 L (6.6 – 8 US gallons) of water per day.
Below are general guidelines to consider:
|PHYSIOLOGICAL STATE||WATER INTAKE (L)|
|Maintenance (Moderate Climate)||7 L per 100 kg BW|
|Maintenance (Hot Climate)||12 L per 100 kg BW|
|1 Hour Post-Exercise||12 – 28 L|
|Moderate to Heavy Exercise||up to 90 L per day|
|Lactation||up to 75 L per day|
Assessing Dehydration in Your Horse
There are a number of ways to evaluate whether your horse is dehydrated including:
- Monitoring the volume of water consumed
- Skin pinch test
- Capillary refill time
- Moisture in the mouth
- Fecal consistency
- Visual assessment (sunken eyes, dull appearance and/or drawn up flanks)
- Biochemical tests of the blood (total protein and electrolyte concentrations)
The best and most reliable method to assess adequate water consumption and hydration by the horse is to measure the volume of water consumed.
This can be done manually by counting how many buckets of water the horse has consumed or by connecting the horse’s automatic watering bowl to an individual meter.
SKIN PINCH TEST
The skin pinch test is another popular and easy way to evaluate hydration status. This test can be performed by pinching the skin to form a tent at the base of the neck and releasing it.
The skin should return to its normal position immediately. The longer it takes for the skin to return to normal, the higher the severity of dehydration.
If it takes 2 – 5 seconds for the skin to return to normal, this may indicate mild dehydration.
If it takes 10 – 15 seconds for the skin to return to normal, this may indicate severe dehydration. Veterinary attention may be warranted in this case.
However, this test is not the most reliable way to assess hydration status.
The time it takes for the skin to return to a normal position may also be affected by the site on the horse’s body where the test is performed, the moisture level of the horse’s coat, as well as the age of the horse.
In short, the answer is simple: a horse drinks large amounts of water, but it’s impossible for you to accurately calculate how much your horse drinks each day. And don’t forget that overfeeding your horse can lead to just as many complications as underfeeding, if not more. Try to maintain a regular schedule and be aware of how your horse is feeling on any given day. That way, you can intervene before it’s too late.