Research shows that, on average, horses will consume about one gallon of water for every 100 pounds (or 3.8 liters for every 45 kg, for our metric system readers). While this amount can increase or decrease, depending on activity and many other factors, the fact remains that horses require large quantities of water – and are sensitive to the cleanliness of their water.

After all, you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of water full of visible yet unidentifiable floating…crud, would you? Keeping water troughs and buckets is simple enough, but it requires daily care. Automatic waterers, such as those offered by Classic Equine by Ritchie, are a viable alternative to traditional troughs and buckets – but it’s still important to keep the water and its container clean, whatever your setup may be.

Don’t Rely On the Hose

Many barns have a long enough hose to reach into all buckets, should they need refilling. Others have metal or plastic troughs that are filled via hose. If you’re looking into an automatic system but haven’t made the switch yet, do your best to check every water and clean as needed, rather than just chucking the hose in and forgetting about it.

Algae can also begin to build up, even if fresh water is provided daily, without maintenance. While methods such as bleach or fish have proven to help regulate algae overgrowth, if left unattended this can cause numerous health issues to your horses.

Keep Supplies On Hand

Pick up a few old stiff brushes or toilet scrub brushes and keep them handy for water duty. Even your automatic waterer can use a scrub, though the maintenance level is much lower with those! The easier the tools are to access, the easier it will be for you to stay on top of things. Make sure you’re scrubbing any plastic on a daily basis. Detergent or a bleach mixture can be helpful, but be sure to rinse thoroughly – plastic and its various crevices can hold onto things more than you might realize!

Keep an Eye on Quality

Water quality is also a factor to consider. While this area may be out of your control, it can still be useful to know what your horse’s water consists of. Check out this article on The Horse for more insight on what to look for when testing water quality.