The importance of water in winter — why your horse could be more dehydrated now than in the summer *H&H Plus*

  • Whether he’s indoors or out this winter, a horse’s health can soon suffer if his water intake drops – as Rebecca Hamilton-Fletcher MRCVS explains

    Often referred to as ‘the forgotten nutrient’, water is essential for all life. Without it, dehydration occurs and most physiological functions, including digestion and growth, rapidly become compromised.

    Most people are conscious of the need to drink plenty during the summer months, as our own increased thirst is directly related to the hot, sticky conditions. In contrast, during the winter months we naturally drink less. It is easy to assume that our horse’s needs will be similar.

    Whereas most horses are out in summer eating grass, however, with its high water content, during the winter many are stabled. Their grass intake is supplemented or even fully replaced by a forage hay diet, which has a relatively high dry matter content. Drinking enough water to compensate for this unnaturally dry diet becomes vital.

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