Most living things on the planet depend on a fundamental fluid, water. In the case of mammals it is more important because we cannot get it from the air or soil. Water is an essential liquid for life and for horses it is no exception. That is why today we will talk about water as an essential component for feeding horses.
Although horses do not spend much time drinking water, its intake is absolutely essential.
A horse of standard weight has a weight of about 500Kg. It is estimated that between 60% and 70% of a horse’s body weight is composed of water. This implies that your body is made up of between 300 and 350 liters of water exclusively. The more water an organism contains, the more essential it becomes for its proper metabolism.
Horses are characterized by being able to spend long periods of time without eating food. They are able to conserve liquids very efficiently thanks to their fur that limits evaporation. However, if you lose too much fluids, your health will be compromised.
A horse that loses 10% of its body mass in fluids, either through urination or sweating, has its life compromised.
Horses have very conservative water intake habits. However, the water intake of horses cannot be neglected to preserve their health.
Next, we will tell you how water is an essential component of your diet and how to use it to ensure your health. Let’s start now.
The hydration habits of horses
Horses are especially efficient when it comes to hydration. And it is that equines dedicate the minimum possible time of their daily time to this activity.
This is due to several reasons:
- Horses conserve the water they ingest in an excellent way. In this way water losses are minimal for a day.
- Natural selection has led the horse to have a high instinct for conservation. This implies that their access to water sources must be fast and efficient, almost stealthy. Remember that water sources are places highly frequented by predators when looking for prey. Drinking water quickly and withdrawing is a form of protection.
- Its large body reserves of water make it a perfect animal to wait to ingest water when it is safe.
Thanks to all this, the horse only spends a few minutes a day drinking water. It is estimated that a horse in good health and hydration takes between 2 and 10 minutes a day to hydrate. The amount of vital liquid required can be distributed between 2 to 8 water intakes in a day.
This means that drinking water for a horse can take between 1 and 4 minutes per dose at most.
These amounts and times refer to horses that are well hydrated. If we consider a horse subjected to conditions of lack of water, the horse will take the necessary time to replenish its reserves.
But many will wonder how the mechanisms that drive the horse’s water intake work. Since water is an essential component in the feeding of horses, let’s know the elements that drive their thirst and water intake.
What drives thirst and water intake in horses?
Horses efficiently manage their consumption. Water intake from them is driven by two fundamental factors:
- Decrease in body water reserves: This may be due to urination or sweating of the horse. We must consider that climate is a fundamental part of this assessment.
- Increase in electrolytes and blood glucose: The feeding of a horse is essential to determine the nutrients in the blood, in addition to the “waste”. Feeding a horse determines the need to maintain electrolyte balance. With this, if these nutrients are in greater quantity with respect to the ingested water, the horse will need to compensate. This is how the horse’s urination will serve to release substances too much and the increase in water will also serve to balance the concentration of these.
With a healthy diet, the horse will have a low water consumption.
A change in their water intake patterns can alert us to problems with their diet or illness. That is why taking care of good hydration and feeding, and the surveillance of these can be a fundamental factor to ensure the health of the horse.
Sources of water intake as an essential component of horse feed
Horses have several ways to get the water they need for their metabolism. In case of not ingesting water, they can resort to other mechanisms to acquire this essential component of horse feed.
The means by which horses usually obtain water are:
- Drinking it directly pure from natural sources such as rivers or springs, or in the case of tamed horses, from the supply that is given.
- Extracting water from food. Many foods have a high-water composition. This allows them to replenish some of the water they lose through their diet. There are certain grasses such as ryegrass that because of their high-water content. Thanks to this, if we feed our horse with ryegrass, the horse will be able to obtain all the water it needs from this foliage.
- Generating water through metabolism: When processing carbohydrates for energy, small amounts of water are generated, as with combustion. Thanks to this metabolic process, the horse will be able to obtain part of the water it needs to maintain optimal health.
It is important to ensure abundant and good quality water for stable horses. Horses are able to detect poor water quality and refuse to drink, even if it only tastes strange. It is therefore important to ensure the health of hydration facilities for horses.
Water, an essential component for horse feed and health
As we can see, either because of the body composition of the horse or because of the problems that its deficiency can generate, water is an essential component for the horse.
Gustavo Mirabal Castro wants to create awareness in the owners to attend to such an important task with the horses. The hydration of horses cannot be underestimated. Gustavo Mirabal’s experience has led him to take this need for his horses very seriously. This is one of the secrets to getting the most out of high-performance horses.
That is why we invite you to learn more about the subject or to advise you about it so that you can give a good quality of life and health to your horse. Remember that a healthy horse is a happy horse and a horse with good performance.