How Much Water Does A Horse Drink In A Day

We’ve all heard this phrase at some point: “How much water does a horse drink in a day?” It is a good example to give when you want to learn how to speak about the quantity of products or services. You just can’t say how much water a horse drinks in a day, you will have to mention that horses drink approximately 40–50 liters of water every day, so it would be good for you to know how much a liter looks like.

Horses tend to be in a very hot climate for the most part, and therefore, they need to drink water quite often. Actually, many horse owners wonder how much water does a horse drink in a day.

Water Availability

Offer the horse cool fresh water often during strenuous activities.

If the horse is at a location where the drinking water does not have the same taste as the home water the horse may refuse to drink. Before going to an event try flavoring the home drinking water for a few days prior to the journey with Gatorade or apple juice to accustom the horse to the flavor. For the convenience of the horse owner prepared powdered electrolyte packets, flavored or unflavored, can be adding to drinking water to replenish necessary items.

Simple Management Practices

Horse owners can enact simple management practices during stressful events preventing the horse from dehydration effects.

Know you horse and look for the signs of dehydration and conduct the “pinch test” frequently.

Provide adequate fresh, clean water often and if there is any doubt of the possibility of the severity of the situation contact a veterinarian immediately.

The rule of thumb is, if at the event you are consuming and desiring water intake, then the chances are the horse is also having the same desires.

Riding horses is great exercise for the rider and also an additional strain on the horse’s metabolism. Be safe and smart… keep the horse hydrated!

How much water does my horse actually need?

An average 500kg (approximately 15hh) horse drinks around 30-50 litres a day. This amount may be higher in hot weather (because the horse will sweat more and use up water reserves in the body) and if working very hard (again the horse will sweat more). A mare with a foal needs more because the milk that she is making to feed the foal requires water. Horses that are grazing on rapidly growing grass will usually drink less because the grass that they are eating has a high water content compared to more mature grass and hay which is very dry.

How clean does this water need to be?

Clean uncontaminated water is a must for horses. If horses are forced to drink water that is contaminated with dirt, algae or manure/urine they can become sick. In addition to having a delicate digestive system horses are unable to vomit (a valve on the top of the stomach prevents vomiting).  Once a horse has ingested food or water it has to pass right through the system – no matter how bad that food or water is (unlike a dog for example which can vomit and therefore quickly get rid of bad food or water).

Why does a horse sometimes refuse to drink?

Horses have a very good sense of smell and taste and will refuse to drink, even to the point of dehydration, if their water supply is polluted, stagnant or sometimes even if the water supply changes suddenly – irrespective of whether the water is clean or not. Observe horses that are new to a property to check that they are drinking enough. When you take your horse out for the day (to a show or for a trail ride for example) be aware that your horse may not drink enough as the water may smell different to the water they are used to, even if it is very clean. Try to take some water from home with you so that your horse has access to familiar water for the day. One way of getting horses to accept unfamiliar water is to flavour the water at home (you can use a little molasses for this) for a few days before travelling and then flavour the new source of water, gradually reducing the flavour until the horse has accepted the new water source.


A standard one-horse riding blanket would consume 11.6 gallons, while a 16-hand horse would need more like 15.7 gallons. But, regardless of their size, horses all have the same basic formula for determining how much water they need—one gallon of water per 100 pounds every day.

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