During the warmer season, making sure your horse drinks enough clean water is a top management priority. To avoid dehydration, horses need access to water 24 hours a day. The average horse drinks about 10 to 12 gallons per day of water.
In the summer, heat can make algae blossom seemingly overnight, even in the cleanest of troughs. To grow, algae needs sunlight, water, and a nutrient source. Nutrients can come from organic material that has blown into the trough, like manure, food particles, or even your horses’ saliva. Generally, red or brown algae is okay, but blue or green algae releases toxins into the water and should be cleaned immediately.
Tip: Test for dehydration easily
Gently pinch your horses skin into a tent, then release the skin you have together. The skin should snap back immediately; if there is a delay in the skin returning to the normal position, your horse is likely dehydrated.
The Best Way to Clean
Most troughs or stock tanks have a drain on the bottom for easy emptying of water. The safest way to drain the tank is to attach a hose and have the trough drain far away from the area where the horses stand to prevent stagnant pools from forming that can attract insects.
When it comes to cleaning the trough, equip yourself with the right tools, like a stiff scrub brush with a long handle or metal scourer pads – these are great for cleaning hard to get ridges or corners. For extra cleaning power, add a small amount of dish soap and scrub away. All it takes is a little elbow grease to get all the algae and dirt out; then, just rinse it out thoroughly and fill it up with fresh clean water.
Trough Management Tips:
- Place trough out of direct sunlight and into the shade or under an awning, since the sun will only encourage faster algae growth.
- Buy new troughs when needed
- Use water in troughs only
- Clean every few days
- Keep troughs away from feeders
- Add gold fish to the trough or install a filter system to reduce algae
Something to help in keeping your water clean AND getting your horses to drink more water is the Smart Trough Pump
, which mimics river flow by circulating the water and filtering out algae. It’s a portable solar water filtration system - the kit includes everything you need: a solar panel, filtration pump, 20 ft of power cord, and brackets. You can check it out on their website here
. Another method to get your horses drinking more is to add essential oils or flavors to their trough. Find your horse's favorite - check out Botanical Animal's Essences here
! Lastly, help your horse relax more and sweat less with a SmartScrim
- they're sure to love it!
Overall, keeping your water trough clean is simple and easy, but you must stay on top of it regularly. Water is the most important thing your horses are consuming – so keep it clean!