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Hi Bob,

I have a 5 year old appalosa and a 21 year old Walker. I have had them almost a year now, and they both came from different places.They both had some sort of container to drink out of (bucket or tote). We have a 38 acre farm with a small stream and a small pond and a huge water trough for them, but they are not drinking water from any of the three. Now I know that horses have to have a lot of water and I give them fresh every day, but still they don't drink from it. I see them out early in the mornings and late in the afternoon when the dew is on. This surely would not be enough water off of the grass to do them all day, would it? Is there something different I could do or try? I worry a lot about them... but I know they are getting it some how; both are big, fat, and healthy. If you could give me any tips I would really appreciate it.

A. W.


Horse with five gallon pails The best advice I can give you in this situation is simply, "don't worry about it." Your horses don't show any signs of dehydration, therefore, as you said, "they are getting it somehow."

My guess is that their first choice would be the running water of the stream, and you have no way of measuring how much of that water they are drinking. I suspect that they are either drinking at night, or at times when there is no one around to distract them.

A 1,000 pound horse needs an average of about 6-1/2 gallons of water (.65 gallons per hundred pounds) per day -- up to twice that volume in hot weather. I've seen a horse drink nearly five gallons in less than three minutes -- and that was a rather leisurely drink! What might look like a quick mouthful to you may actually amount to several gallons! And unless you stay with those critters 24 hours a day, you may never catch them in the act of drinking.

The photo on the right shows the size of water bucket that a horse can drain in just a couple of minutes.

I hope this helps to calm your nerves! :o)

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