1. Water

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What Every Horse Needs Every Day…

Access to Clean, Fresh Water at All Times

A horse needs lots of clean, fresh water. How much water it needs will depend on the size of the animal, its health, how active it is, and even the air temperature and humidity. Water troughs or buckets should be in a place that’s easy for the animal to reach, and where water does not freeze or become contaminated.

Snow should not be provided as
the only water supply 
it will not meet a horse’s daily needs.

More water is also required in the summer when there is heat and humidity. A horse that is in training or exercising needs additional water. Mares that are pregnant or lactating (i.e. producing milk) will require more water intake.

At minimum, horses at maintenance
and in a moderate environment
require 5L of fresh water
for every 100kg of body weight.

What does the Code of Practice say about water?

Every horse must have access to a sufficient supply of potable, or drinkable, water to meet its individual maintenance and activity needs. Many factors influence water consumption, including:

  • Air temperature and humidity
  • Water temperature
  • Body weight
  • Level of activity
  • Diet and health
  • Physiological status (e.g. pregnant, lactating or

The Code of Practice provides the table below as a guideline for the water requirements of horses.

Table illustrating expected water intakes for horses
Click to open a full-sized version of the table.

Screenreader accessible version is also available here.

Water troughs/buckets should be located so that they are protected from freezing and fouling, the accumulation of unwanted substances on the surface of the water. Water troughs, buckets and automatic water must be kept clean. Automatic watering systems must be checked daily to ensure that they are dispensing water properly.

Horses may limit their water intake if
the quality of drinking water is compromised. 

Bonus Video: Check out this short video in which the presenter shows you some of the disturbing ways poorly maintained water containers can become contaminated.

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