Hydration is more
important than ever in the summer.
Never restrict a horse’s access to water;
it’s a myth that letting a hot horse drink
There are several ways you can supplement your
horse’s electrolyte intake:
1. Regularly check salt and mineral blocks to make
sure there is enough for the horse to consume.
Keep these out of the elements, as a heavy rain can
dissolve a block quickly.
2. Top-dressing your horse’s feed with some table
salt is another method for sweat management;
one tablespoon of extra salt is normally adequate.
3. You can also offer electrolytes in your horse’s
water with a pre-made electrolyte mix. When
using this method, be sure to provide two
buckets: one containing plain water and one
containing the mix. Your horse will choose how
much to consume.
If you’re having trouble getting your horse to drink
enough water—especially if he’s a picky drinker and
you’re away from home—there a few tricks you can try.
1. Offer a water-soaked gruel; complete feed pellets
work for this. If your horse is on a restricted diet, use
hay pellets. Soaking your horse’s hay is an easy way
to get in some extra moisture as well as a handy
tool to decrease dust.
2. Flavoring your horse’s water can help entice him
to drink, especially away from home. Gatorade,
juice, molasses, and peppermint can all be used,
and there are also products made specifically for
this purpose available for purchase.
It’s OK for a Hot Horse to Drink—Really!
The old wives’ tale that hot horses shouldn’t drink
is completely false. Never restrict a horse’s access to
water, especially if he is hot.
Horses that get colicky “after drinking” are mostly
su;ering either from muscle cramping because
they were not cooled o; appropriately; a metabolic
disease such as tying up; or clinical dehydration (and
sometimes a combination of these issues). Instead,
the rule should be never stall a hot horse immediately
after a ride. Walk him until his heart rate is back to
normal ( 28 to 44 beats per minute for an adult horse).
Respiration rate will follow heart rate, meaning as
HR slows, RR slows. Body temp can be used, but
remarkably doesn’t change that much until a horse is
severely heat stressed (e.g., heat stroke).
Battling the Heat
When the heat is intense, especially coupled with
high humidity, try to ride in the early morning or late
evening. If your horse has a demanding conditioning
schedule, divide workouts: Instead of a 60-minute
session, ride 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in
Other ways to beat the heat and outsmart the
1. Make sure your horse has access to shade when
out in the pasture during the daytime. Trees or a
run-in are all that’s required. If your horse’s pasture
is nothing but acres of sun-scorched field, consider
stabling him in the middle of the day when it’s
2. Don’t forget a daily swipe of sunblock for gray
horses or those with pink skin on their faces. Child-
safe block with at least SPF 30 works great.