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by Downunder Horsemanship

Keep Your Horse’s Water Cool, Fresh and Clean This Summer

By Ritchie Industries

Summertime should be a time to relax and take it easy when the temperatures hit triple digits. However, anyone who takes care of horses in the summer knows there are all sorts of challenges that come with hot weather. The biggest and most immediate concern is making sure your horse has enough cool, fresh water on demand.

Keep it Cool
Once the air temperature reaches 85°F or more, your horse will start drinking water more often and at a larger volume. A study conducted by Mary Beth Gordon, Ph.D., an equine nutritionist and director of equine research at Purina Animal Nutrition, showed that horses exercised at high temperatures (91°F to 95°F) and high humidity (80 to 85%) increased their water intake by 79% for four hours.

According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, horses prefer to drink water that Is between 45°F to 65°F. For reference, the temperature of cold tap water is roughly 45°F.

Water provided in buckets and open stock tanks may get too warm for the horse’s preferences in the summer. A better alternative is to provide water on demand with an automatic waterer. Ritchie Industries provides a full range of automatic waterers that can be stall mounted, installed in split fence configurations, large paddocks or even as temporary portable garden hose hook-up founts. Automatic waterers use the geothermal properties of buried waterlines to provide a constant source of cool water. Certain models like the EcoFount series also utilize easy flip thermal caps that keep out sunlight, bugs and other debris while keeping the water cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Keep it Fresh
Hauling buckets of water or dragging hoses all over the paddock is time consuming. Your horse’s daily water consumption may vary day to day depending on the weather and activity level, but you need to always have fresh water available. With buckets and stock tanks, it is inevitable that you will dump water that is no longer “fresh.”

Automatic waterers conserve water by providing only as much water as the horse can drink at any given time. Water that circulates from an automatic waterer stays fresher and cleaner than stagnant water in a bucket or stock tank.

Keep it Clean
Horses can be quite sensitive to their water quality and prefer clean water sources (don’t we all?). It can be quite easy for buckets and stock tanks to quickly grow algae in the hot summer months. The algae can make the water unpalatable and can reduce your horse’s water intake precisely when they need it most. Daily scrubbing and rinsing of buckets is a must-do summer chore as is weekly stock tank cleanings.

Besides algae, other disease threats can pop up in your water bucket or tank. Stagnant water provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Those pesky mosquitoes spread the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV).

In rare cases, mayflies or caddisflies can fall into open stock tanks and introduce the bacterium that causes Potomac horse fever. Additionally, any unfortunate critter, such as a mouse or bird, that falls into an open stock tank and dies can release the Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin that causes often-fatal botulism. If a critter that has leptospirosis drinks from your horse’s open stock tank or bucket, it can put your horse at risk of contracting the disease. The bottom line: Keep your horse’s water clean at all times to maintain their health.

Relax – It’s a Ritchie
Skip the hassle of hauling buckets of water or dragging hoses around. Ritchie automatic waterers will save you time and money while keeping your horses hydrated. Since 1921, Ritchie waterers have provided worry-free water solutions for horse owners across North America. Made in the USA and backed by the best warranty in the business, Ritchie waterers are the perfect way to keep your horse’s water cool, fresh and clean this summer.

For more information visit: Ritchie Industries |