As the summer heat is still here, it's important to drink enough water to stay hydrated. The same is true for our horses. But that old saying still rings true today.
So, how can you lead your horse to water and make him drink?
Well, to understand how to make them want to drink, you have to understand how their bodies work.
During hard work, horses sweat but not like us. When we sweat, we loose more water than electrolytes which is called hypotonic. Whereas a horse are hypertonic and will loose more electrolytes (sodium, chloride and potassium). This is the biggest difference to why we get thirsty after a workout and they don't.
See, both of our systems like our water and electrolyte ratio to be in balance. So, when we sweat and loose that balance, our bodies want to fix that. If we loose more water, we need to gain more water to balance it out. A horse however has more water than electrolytes in his system after a workout. His body then tells him not to drink because that will make the ratio even more off balance.
The problem with this is that horses still need to drink after a workout. Even if the balance is off, they still need more water in their system to stay hydrated.
So how can we fix this problem? Well, depending on how much work your horse does, he might be able to fix the problem himself if he has access to mineral blocks. If he is a higher leveled sport horse, he might need some help with an electrolyte supplement.
The good thing with electrolytes is that a horse will urinate the excess out of his system so there isn't a huge threat of overdose (although it can happen in some cases). If you think your horse may need a supplement, talk to your vet to find the right plan of action.
I hope you found this blog post useful. I know it can be frustrating knowing that your horse is dehydrated but he won't drink. Maybe now you'll have a better understanding of the situation and this will encourage you to search out the best ways to help out your horse.
Until next time, happy riding!
Supplements may not work for everyone so be educated before you make a decision. I am not claiming to be a vet or anything of the sort. This was just a topic I had researched in class that I thought would be interesting to share.