How Much Water Do Horses Drink?

Last Updated on February 27, 2022 by Griselda M.

Horses are animals that need plenty of water to live. They drink four gallons a day on average, and will drink more if they’re working hard or during hot weather. Horses also urinate as much as one gallon per hour in the summer months when their bodies naturally produce less sweat, according to veterinarians at Stanford University’s school of medicine.

Horses are known to drink only clean water. Read more in detail here: do horses only drink clean water.

Water is the most crucial “nutrient” for horses, just as it is for people.

We’ll start with water in our horse nutrition series.


Water makes up 65-75 percent of an adult horse’s body, and 75-80 percent of a foal’s body.

They need water not just for healthy blood and the removal of toxins from their bodies via urine, but also for good digestion.

If a horse is unable to get water, he will stop eating as an evolutionary adaptation to avoid colic.

A horse in mild labour will, on average, lose:

  • Urine contains 18% of their body’s water.
  • Manure absorbs 51% of their water.
  • Sweat and respiration account for 31% of their total water intake.

Due to increased sweat and respiration losses, the intensity of their labor might raise their water needs by 20-300 percent.

Horses Drink How Much Water?

Horses normally drink between 5 and 10 gallons per day, depending on a variety of circumstances.

The following factors may have an impact on the amount:

  • temperature of the environment
  • the horse’s internal temperature
  • amount of physical activity
  • the kind of food
  • diarrhea causes an increase in losses

The hotter it gets outdoors, the more water a horse will drink, much like people. This is related to increased sweating-induced water loss.

The water consumption of horses increases by 15 to 20% as the ambient temperature rises from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Horses, on the other hand, drink less in the winter. Drinking cold water in cold weather may cause horses to lose body heat, causing them to consume less water.

Another aspect to consider when it comes to drinking water in the winter is that if a horse has a broken or fractured tooth, the cold water might be uncomfortable and deter them from drinking.

One of the reasons they colic at the changing of seasons is because they drink less in the winter.

Where Do Horses Get Their Drinking Water?

Horses acquire a modest quantity of water from their hay and grain in addition to the fresh water we give them.

The water content of fresh, green grass is noticeably greater than that of dry hay or grain.

Fresh grass may contain up to 75% to 80% water, therefore they’ll need to drink less fresh water to satisfy their needs.

Because of the high nitrogen content of alfalfa, horses eating it will need more water than horses eating other kinds of grass or hay.

To avoid an imbalance, the body will work harder to clear the excess nitrogen, which means the horse will pee more and drink more water.

When a Horse Doesn’t Get Enough Water, What Happens?

Dehydration occurs when a horse is unable to drink the 5-10 gallons per day that he requires.

A healthy horse can endure for 5-6 days without water, but dehydration symptoms will show up in 2-3 days.

You’ll notice indications of dehydration when the horse’s fluid loss surpasses 5% of its body weight (6 gallons in a 1000 kg animal).

Always give your horse electrolytes and a salt block.

What Are the Symptoms of Horse Dehydration?

  1. A relaxed horse’s heart rate is increased to 60+ beats per minute.
  2. Colic symptoms
  3. Gums that are pink or blue
  4. Capillary replenishment time is slow.
  5. Skin that is tented

If a horse’s gums are pink, it indicates that there is a reduction in blood flow; if they are blue, the horse is already in shock, and you should contact your veterinarian right once.

When you press your thumb on your horse’s gums, it’s capillary replenishment time. The area where you pushed should be white for a second or two before returning to pink or red.

You may “tent the skin” to assess your horse’s moisture by squeezing the skin away from the animal slightly in front of the shoulder.

The skin where you’ve pinched should heal quickly, if not instantly. Your horse is dehydrated if it doesn’t.

NOTE: This is also a smart thing to attempt when looking at a horse for sale, since some unscrupulous horse dealers will purposefully dehydrate a horse to make him more docile. Check out my article on 52 questions to ask when purchasing a horse for additional ideas.

Watch This Video-

Horses drink water out of a water trough, which is usually located in the barn. The horse will drink from the trough while standing in it and then lick its lips to get any remaining moisture that may have been missed. Reference: what do horses drink out of on a farm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Litres of water do horses drink per day?

A: Horses usually drink about 1.5-2 gallons of water a day.

Can horses go overnight without water?

A: No, horses cannot go without water for an extended period of time.

How much water does a horse drink in a day in gallons?

A: A horse needs to drink about 6 gallons of water per day, or about 40 liters.

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