When Would I Need to Test the Water a Horse Drinks?

Last Updated: | By Sarah Braithwaite, Author & Horse Health Expert

If you want to analyse or test the water a horse drinks then Forageplus™ can answer your questions. Most people understand that horses should have clean, fresh drinking water available at all times. However not many people consider the impact that the mineral status of water has on the maintenance of healthy horses.

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Test the Water a Horse Drinks

Water contributes to a significant percentage of a horse’s diet and has the greatest impact after the grass, hay or haylage a horse eats upon health. Each day an average sized horse will drink more than 40 litres of water and so it makes sense because mineral levels in horse drinking water can affect health to test the water a horse drinks.

Water can be high in calcium and areas with high calcium can contribute significantly to the amount of this mineral in the diet of horses. As calcium is often over supplied in both forage and commercial feeds it is important to check levels to make sure the correct balance with phosphorous and magnesium is being maintained. It is also important to check iron and manganese levels as excessive levels of both these minerals can be antagonistic to other minerals like copper and zinc.

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If a horse drinks tap water then you don’t need Forageplus to test the water a horse drinks. You can check the mineral status of tap water by asking your local water provider for a report.  All water providers will test water to make sure it is fit for human consumption. However some areas will have high calcium and if you are balancing minerals in the horses’s diet then it can be useful to understand the levels in a horses’s drinking water.

When should you test the Water a Horse Drinks?

You will need to test the water a horse drinks if the water source is a natural source, such as a bore hole, spring, pond, lake, river or stream. It is important to check that this water is fit for livestock consumption.

Water pumped from bore holes can be high in iron and other heavy metals.  Depending on levels it may be wise to fit a filter to these water supplies so the water becomes fit for livestock consumption.

Water from natural water sources such as ponds, streams and rivers can be high in certain minerals. In addition some can be contaminated with nitrates from agricultural.  In some situations where contamination might occur it may be best to consider limiting or stopping access to these sources of drinking water for horses.

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