Dr. Getty’s Tip of the Month: Snow will NOT meet your horse’s water needs!
Piles of fluffy snow in your pasture – and a horse that nibbles at them – making you think your horse is all set for water this winter? Sorry. Think again, please! The main cause of colic during the winter is from reduced water consumption. Snow will not provide enough water: A gallon (128 fluid ounces) of average-moisture snow only contains 10 ounces of water, far short of the 8-12 gallons of water your horse should consume each day. Also, eating snow will force your horse to burn precious calories to keep his body temperature steady.
Horses will not drink enough when the water is icy cold. Plan to heat your horse’s water to 50 degrees F. And don’t forget the salt – it is necessary for electrolyte balance as well as to encourage your horse to drink. Either add table salt, or better yet, a naturally mined sea salt1, to each meal (one tablespoon, twice daily for a full-sized horse) or offer it free-choice in a small bucket. A salt block or rock is helpful for additional needs, but keep in mind that many horses avoid them because they can cause tongue irritation. Mineralized or blue (from added iodine and cobalt) salt blocks can be bitter and may add more minerals than your horse requires if he is receiving them from fortified feeds or supplements.
1Naturally mined sea salt offers minute amounts of trace minerals that domesticated horses typically do not consume. Redmond Rock is an excellent choice: http://gettyequinenutrition.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Dr. Getty’s goal is to empower the horseperson with the confidence and knowledge to provide the best nutrition for his or her horse’s needs.
Dr. Getty’s fundamental resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is available in paperback as well as in hardcover, searchable CD and Kindle versions. All except the Kindle version are available at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com — buy the book there and have it inscribed by the author. Print and Kindle versions are also available at Amazon
(www.Amazon.com); find print versions at other online retail bookstores. The seven individual volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition” series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Dr. Getty’s books make ideal gifts for equestrians!
Find a world of useful information for the horseperson at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com: Sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative, free e-newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum archives; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. Find top-quality supplements, feeders, and other equine-related items, at her online Free Shipping Supplement Store[i]. Reach Dr. Getty directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.