How Much Water Do Horses Drink In A Day? Answers Explained


Horses are large animals that need to eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water to stay healthy, strong, and hydrated. Many people have asked me, “how much water does a horse drink in a day?” Because of the number of people asking me this question, I figured that there are probably so many other people out there wondering the same thing. So how much water does a horse drink in a day? And why do they need this much water?

How Much Water Does The Average Horse Drink In A Day?

The average horse will usually drink anywhere from 8 to 10 gallons (30.3 to 37.9 liters) of water per day or one gallon (3.8 liters) per 100 pounds of body weight per day. Horses need a constant supply of fresh drinking water at all times to keep them hydrated and healthy. Without water, horses can’t survive for very long because, like people, horses can only go so long without water.

Why Do Horses Need To Drink So Much Water?

Horses are large animals that require the intake of a lot of water to keep their organs functioning properly and without complications. If horses don’t drink enough water, serious complications can occur. Horses need to drink a large amount of water or else they risk suffering from:

  • Gas colic
  • Compaction
  • Weariness
  • Low energy levels
  • Stiffness
  • Slow capillary refill time
  • Weak pulse
  • Loss of suppleness of skin

There are even more issues that can arise if your horse doesn’t drink enough water, but there are the most common and first signs that your horse is dehydrated.

How Long Can A Horse Go Without Drinking Water?

Just like with people, horses can only survive a few days without water. If a horse doesn’t drink any water, it can likely only survive for anywhere from 3 to 6 days.

Water is needed to survive and without it, horses don’t have long to live.

How Long Can A Horse Live If They Only Drink Water & Don’t Eat Food?

If a horse is deprived of food and only has water to survive off of, horses can survive anywhere from 20 to 30 days. The water they drink would keep the horse hydrated while the horse’s body would break down its own fat and muscle cells to feed itself and keep itself alive.

Water is more necessary for survival than food is which is why these animals need it so desperately.

How Much Water Does A Draft Horse Drink In A Day?

Draft horses are the largest type of horse on earth with some of them standing over 20 hands high! These horses don’t just eat a lot, they drink a lot too. Usually, your average draft horse will drink anywhere from 15 to 20 gallons (56.8 to 75.7 liters) per day. These horses can drink even up to 25 gallons (94.6 liters) per day if they are in strenuous work, sweat a lot, or are nursing a foal.

Draft horses are huge animals that require a lot of water intake to stay happy and healthy.

How Much Water Does A Pony Drink In A Day?

Ponies are significantly smaller than horses, especially the tiny breeds like the Shetland and the Falabella. Ponies, as you might guess based on their size, require much less food and water than your average horse. Ponies, depending on their size and workload, require anywhere from 2 to 8 gallons (7.6 to 30.3 liters) of water per day.

If a pony is larger in size, sweating excessively, nursing a foal, or is in strenuous work, they can drink up to 10 gallons (37.9 liters) of water in a day.

How Much Water Does A Foal Drink In A Day?

For the first few months of their lives, foals will only drink their mother’s milk. As they get older, however, foals will begin not only to eat solid foods like hay and grain but will also start to drink water. Once a foal is weaned from its mother, it will be fully dependant on solid foods and water for its hydration and nutrients.

Because foals grow so much in their first year of life, they will drink anywhere from 6 to 8 gallons (22.7 to 30.3 liters) of water per day to hydrate their growing bodies.

Do Certain Breeds Require Less Water Intake Than Others?

Yes, there are some breeds of horses that are hardier than others and whose ancestors lived in the deserts of the Middle East in countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, as well as certain African countries. The horse breeds that can survive longer than any other horses with less water intake include the following:

  • Arabians
  • Barbs
  • Akhal-Tekes
  • Mustangs
  • Iomud

These breeds have adapted to survive in hot desert conditions with limited food and water making them some of the hardiest horses in the world.

What Breed Of Horse Drinks The Most Water In One Day?

The breeds of horses that drink the most water in a day include many of the heavy draft horses used for strenuous labor and farm work.

Examples of some of these breeds that likely drink the most water out of any other horses include:

  • Clydesdales
  • Shires
  • Belgians
  • Suffolk Punches
  • Norikers
  • Friesians
  • Gypsy Vanners
  • Boulounnais
  • Percherons

Because these horses are used for pulling heavy carts, driving plows through the ground, and doing other strenuous labor, they burn off a lot of the water they drink. Not only this but their tremendous size, strong muscles, and powerful bodies require that much more water already to survive.

What To Do If My Horse Isn’t Drinking Enough Water

There could be many reasons why your horse isn’t drinking water. If your horse isn’t drinking enough water, especially at home, finding out the reason is very important because, without drinking water, your horse can go downhill really fast.

If you are at a horse show or another event where the horse is expected to drink different water than the water they are used to drinking at home, they might not drink it right away because it has a different smell or taste than what they are accustomed to. To prevent your horse from doing this, try adding some sort of flavored electrolyte tablet or drink to your horse’s water at home a few days before the show so they get used to drinking this water. Then, at the sow or wherever else you are going, add the same drink or tablet to the horse’s water so they can smell it or taste and recognize the same flavor they had at home. When it comes to drinks to add to the horse’s water, I recommend trying Gatorade, Powerade, or apple juice. All of these drinks are safe for the horse and are things the horse might like.

If your horse suddenly stops drinking water at home for no apparent reason, I recommend calling out a vet immediately. This could be a symptom of choking, colic, or even organ failure so calling a vet and getting to the bottom of it is essential.

Horses need water so if for some reason your horse isn’t drinking enough, finding out why and fixing the problem is extremely important.

If your horse is drinking water but just isn’t drinking enough of it, try giving them a salt or mineral block to encourage them to get more thirsty and want to drink more. Giving them an electrolyte supplement also seems to work well too.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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