Drink up: is this the first vending machine for horses?

  • You can lead a horse to water…

    Riders at Richmond Equestrian Centre can now take advantage of what may be the first ever vending machine for horses.

    The North Yorkshire venue has installed a machine dispensing servings of hydration supplement Hi-Drate to try to tackle equine dehydration, which can have serious health consequences, especially in horses who are reluctant to drink at shows and events.

    Abigail Turnbull, who owns Richmond with husband Andrew, said: “I’m delighted to be the first equestrian centre to install this machine; we have used these products in the past to help with a colic on the yard and we think this is a fantastic idea for our visiting customers.”

    The grass-based supplement is mixed with water to form a soluble fibre gel, which travels into the fluid reservoir of the horse’s hindgut, on which the horse can draw when needed.

    The vending machine sells single-serving 250g sachets, which make up five litres each, for £5, and 750g pouches at £10.

    “Highly palatable, once mixed it appeals to the equine’s very powerful instinct to forage; this encourages voluntary uptake which overrides the thirst response, which can sometimes prevent equines from drinking at the most important times,” said a spokesman for Equidiet UK, which manufacturers the product.

    The aim is to install the vending machines at more equestrian centres, “giving owners total peace of mind when it comes to ensuring their horses do not suffer dehydration when visiting these establishments and events”, the spokesman said.

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