Freezing temperatures turns the water in your horse's bucket to ice, reducing the amount of readily available water. A horse's body is made up of 60% water, with sweat glands located throughout most of its body. The evaporation of sweat is the horse's primary way to regulate their body temperature, yet dehydration prevents these natural processes. Severe dehydration can lead to a multitude of health issues, including colic and kidney damage.
Is Your Horse Dehydrated?
Explore the snow in your horse's pasture. Dehydrated horses' urine leaves an orange-reddish hue, due to body conserving excess fluids. Another sign of dehydration is capillary refill time. Try pressing one to two fingers on your horse's gum. Remove your fingers, and see how long the area remains pale. If it takes more than one to four seconds for blood to return to the area, your horse is likely dehydrated.
Combat dehydration in winter by investing in heated water buckets. Even in freezing temperatures, the heated water bucket will prevent your horse's water from turning to ice. Your horse will appreciate these measures, and you'll appreciate a healthy horse come spring.