Have you been out and about with your horse, making the most of the longer days? If you have then knowing how to keep your horse hydrated on show day becomes an essential part of his management. Even though bodies can tolerate a lack of water for quite some time, did you know that it only takes a fluid loss of 2% to affect your horse’s performance?
We can’t function without water and the same goes for your horse. Water helps him to regulate his body temperature; it keeps metabolic processes ticking along and removes waste products from the body. But increased sweating will also cause a horse to lose more electrolytes. Electrolytes are involved in many cell functions, so it is important that they are replaced.
Keeping Them Hydrated When Away From Home
Of course, we should always provide our horses with clean, fresh water. This is something that has been drummed into us from a very young age – and for good reason! So with this in mind, don’t forget to make sure that buckets are regularly topped up and refreshed on competition day.
If you’re travelling your horse for long periods of time then try to make a stop every 2-3 hours to offer him a drink. Soaking your hay before a long journey is also a good idea.
It also might be useful to know that there is evidence that horses prefer lukewarm water – around 20°C – over chilled water or water at 30°C. Just something to keep in mind if you keep your water in your lorry or car on hot days.
So How Do Electrolytes Play A Role?
The main electrolytes lost through sweat are sodium, potassium and chloride. The body needs these electrolytes to retain water. This means that simply allowing him to drink lots of water alone will not rehydrate him as efficiently.
Horses can also be quite sensitive to the smell and taste of different water types. Training him to drink water containing electrolytes for horses at home, will not only help him to recover during training but will also help to mask the taste of unfamiliar water when competing away from home.
If you need any further advice on keeping your horse hydrated, contact one of the SPILLERS Nutritionists!
Let us know in the comments how you encourage your horse to drink when you're away from home.