More often than not, horses will go a significant amount of time without drinking water. Many horse people are familiar with the old saying that ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink.’ However after long summer days, heavy work, and long rides, whether your horse likes it or not, it needs a drink. Water will prevent dehydration and help maintain the overall health of the horse.
There are multiple ways to stimulate your horse’s thirst. First, try cleaning your water bucket. Horses are picky animals and sometimes will not drink out of the bucket or pond for whatever reason. If they can sense that the bucket is near empty or stale, they may not drink out of it. If that does not work, try sweetening the water some. Some horses have a sweet tooth, especially if you treat them with sugar cubes and will prefer to drink water that is flavored or a bit sweeter than normal. Try adding water flavored with a little bit of fruit punch and see if that does the trick. Second, you can stimulate your horse’s thirst by adding electrolytes to the horse’s feed. During the summer when a horse is usually in heavy training is when it needs to drink the most. To get the horse to drink, add electrolytes because they contain salts that will encourage the horse to become thirsty for water. Be sure to mix the electrolytes well so that the horse does not sort them out and not consume them. In the event that the horse does, try mixing it with applesauce. The third way to stimulate a horse’s thirst is to use a teaspoon of corn syrup. Using a large syringe, squirt a teaspoon of corn syrup on the top of the horse’s mouth. When horse begins to work his tongue over the sweetness that is the corn syrup, he will begin to become thirsty for fresh water. The final way to stimulate your horse’s thirst is to use salt and applesauce. This method is one of the most common techniques used to stimulating a horse’s thirst. Its simple; just mix one teaspoon of table salt with two tablespoons of applesauce and using a clean, large syringe, squirt it on the back of the horse’s tongue. The salt will cause the horse to become thirsty and drink.
Be sure to monitor the amount of water your horse drinks. Depending on the level of activity and weather, your horse will need to consume at least 5-10 gallons of clean, fresh water a day to stay healthy and strong.