The most important nutrient in the horse’s diet is one that is rarely added to feeds: water. Though it is often overlooked in discussions involving equine nutrition, water could be considered the first limiting nutrient of all horses, as they cannot survive for as many days without water as they can without feed. The amount of water required by the horse is determined by the magnitude of water losses from its body. These losses occur through feces, urine, respiratory gases, and sweat and, in the case of lactating mares, milk.
These losses are affected by the amount, type, and quality of the feed consumed, environmental conditions and the health, physiological state, and physical activity of the horse. Horses will generally consume as much water as they need if given access to a palatable water source. Horses at rest in a moderate climate will generally consume between three and seven litres of water per 100 kg of bodyweight.
Diet plays a major role in determining voluntary water intake and requirements. As a general rule, water intake is proportional to dry matter intake, but the composition and digestibility of the diet can alter this relationship substantially.
When water intake is less than adequate, horses are at risk of dehydration, particularly if exercising or travelling.
Which Solution Is Right for Your Horse?
Drink-Up™Water additive to encourage horses to drink. Drink-Up is a scientifically formulated complex combination of ingredients that work together to increase a horse’s willingness to drink. Research has shown that 90% of horses increased their water intake with Drink-Up.
Restore®Electrolyte for performance horses. A scientifically formulated electrolyte supplement designed to match the composition of horse sweat. Restore is designed to replenish electrolytes in any situation where horses may have sweated, particularly after training, travel, racing, competition, or during hot weather.
Endura-Max®Essential electrolyte for hard-working and endurance horses. Endura-Max is an essential electrolyte, with available sources of calcium and magnesium designed specifically for hard-working and endurance horses.