How Much Water To Give Your Horse And How – Answered!


Water is fundamental to life – even for your horse. And providing a healthy water supply for your horse is an elemental part of good horse care. But this you probably already knew, rather the question that you want an answer to is – how much water to give to your horse and how…

That’s what we’re here to help with.

Photo Credit: jtu via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jtu via Compfight cc


Why is a regular source of water mandatory?

Water keeps you alive – the same applies to your horse. Water helps:

  • Keep the tissues moist
  • Regulate and maintain normal body temperature
  • Lubricate the joints and protect the organs
  • Flush out toxic waste from the system
  • The nutrients to reach the different parts of the body, including the cells

How much water does a horse need on an average?

The water needs of a horse will depend on several factors like:

  • Air temperature, he will need more water if the weather is dry
  • The work load
  • The nature of the feed – some types of feed need more water to get digested and assimilated
  • The condition of the horse – if it is pregnant or nursing
  • The size and overall health of the horse

Credit Source: Canadian Agri-Food Research Council, 1998

Credit Source: Canadian Agri-Food Research Council, 1998


Insufficient water can lead to severe dehydration, especially if your horse has been on a long trail ride. And when left without water for long, it could lead to colic and other ailments.

So how can you provide a regular water supply?

You have several options –

  • You can use a trough in the stable and keep filling it with fresh clean water every 2 to 3 hours
  • You can also use an automatic waterer to supply water. But the problem with waterers is that you will not be able to gauge the amount of water the horse has consumed. And the noise that waterers usually make can make the horse feel nervous and edgy.
  • You can also get your horse to feed water from the natural water bodies in the pasture.

However, in winter most such water bodies freeze, and in that case you will have to provide fresh water in buckets or troughs regularly. And if you still manage to find water bodies that can be drunk from, make sure the horse walks down carefully over the sleet that will inevitably line the water banks.

In case of the water in the trough – you can defrost it by pouring warm water all around the rim of the trough. Or you can tap at the water surface with a clean rubber mallet to break the ice and let the water flow.

Also, don’t forget to clean the water container – in case of troughs, clear out the leaves, debris, insects daily. And in case of containers, wash them down with a brush dipped in vinegar and rinse till clean.

Hopefully this answers both your queries – how much water to give your horse and how.