Horses Drinking Water After Hard Work? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Horses Drinking Water After Hard Work?

So, I've always heard that you should not give a horse cold water- actually any water at that- after a hard ride, and you should wait until they're cooled down to give them any water or hay. They say if you give it to them it could cause colic. However, some are saying that this is a myth, and the horse should be allowed to drink right after a hard ride. Is this true? Could you give me some more links? So far I have only found this one... HHC Quick Tips - avoid water drinking straight after work (is a myth?) | Holistic Horse Care I find this a really interesting topic.. Thanks!!!

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post #2 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:17 PM
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What I have read recently is give the horse as much water, cold or not, as he wants. He will not colic.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:19 PM
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How interesting, I too have heard that if they are warm and sweaty, to wait until they cool to give water. Will be interested to hear what others say.

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post #4 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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I've also heard that but my Dad has always told me that it was a load of horse poo. There is actually a much bigger risk for colic if you withhold water from an already dehydrated horse...that can cause an impaction if they eat much of anything before they drink an adequate amount of water.

I've used horses for hard work pretty much my entire life. I spend each summer on a horse for the majority of the day in 100+ heat...and it is very seldom spent at a walk. I give my horses as much water as they want at every opportunity because we may be out working for 8+ hours. Not exactly healthy to refuse a horse the chance to drink until he's cooled out, which in our temps, might not happen until midnight or later.

I've never had a horse colic from too much water of any temp, regardless of how hot they were.

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:28 PM
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At my barn, it's physically impossible to give horse cold water unless you have a bucket and want to prepare it special. They have (room temperature) water in their stall or in the pasture so they can get grass, hay, and water whenever they need it.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:31 PM
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Absolute shenanigans! If a horse wants to drink, it's because he needs it. Never deny a horse water. I've offered my horse water after galloping the last couple miles of a 35 mile day. She's drunk a whole bucket immediately after. No colic. It's dangerous to withhold water from a thirsty horse, and all the endurance riders I know say the same. Drinking will cool a horse from the inside out and helps their respiration return to normal faster as well.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 08:41 PM
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After a horse race, the horses are hand walked until they cool down and are offered water every few minutes during the hand walking. I figure if something is safe enough for a million dollar racehorse it should be okay for my horse.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 11:08 PM
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If I'm training or just simply riding, theres really not a chance to stop for a drink. They are cooled off before I get off them though so by the time they are kicked out to pasture or put back in their stall, they are ok for water whether the myth is true or not. I let them drink on trail rides though, and if I'm in the arena with the huge water barrel, I stop to offer a sip.

I used to work as a polo groom though and many people would hose down SWELTERING HOT horses that were still heaving for breath and dripping sweat, fresh off the polo field. I always heard this was a good way to tie a horse up, but out of all the horses I saw in multiple polo matches and practices, none of them did. Is it also a myth to wait to hose the horse off until its cool? Again, I never saw any of them react badly to it. The first time I saw it I almost fell over, but I'm guessing I've seen at least 200 horses who were hosed off while still HOT with no bad reaction.

I'm too chicken to do it to my horse for fear of a bad reaction.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperhead View Post
If I'm training or just simply riding, theres really not a chance to stop for a drink. They are cooled off before I get off them though so by the time they are kicked out to pasture or put back in their stall, they are ok for water whether the myth is true or not. I let them drink on trail rides though, and if I'm in the arena with the huge water barrel, I stop to offer a sip.

I used to work as a polo groom though and many people would hose down SWELTERING HOT horses that were still heaving for breath and dripping sweat, fresh off the polo field. I always heard this was a good way to tie a horse up, but out of all the horses I saw in multiple polo matches and practices, none of them did. Is it also a myth to wait to hose the horse off until its cool? Again, I never saw any of them react badly to it. The first time I saw it I almost fell over, but I'm guessing I've seen at least 200 horses who were hosed off while still HOT with no bad reaction.

I'm too chicken to do it to my horse for fear of a bad reaction.

I work at the racetrack (steeplechase) every Spring and Fall, so that is what I'm basing this off of.

After the races, the horses are untacked (right on the field) and walked back to the stalls. If the temperatures are high, they are hosed off right on the track (it's all grass) before walking to the stall area. They're handwalked for about 30-45 minutes -they're HEAVING - every few minutes (less than that really, there's buckets of water every 10 feet) the handler deliberately stops and offers the horse water. If the horse motions towards the water bucket, they're allowed to drink. Mind you, they're still heaving from the race. They're hosed off at least once during this handwalking session, sometimes more than once if the temps are high.

I don't even know how many horses I've seen at the track. 6-12 horses per race, 7 races per day. 42-84 horses per day. I've never seen one tie up from being cold hosed while still heaving from a race. I've never seen one have any issues taking in water.

As for eating, I won't let a horse eat until he's cooled down, but I don't know if that's superstition or not.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-28-2012, 11:21 PM
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See? Told ya Almond Joy. Listen to the old gal, she knows her poop!
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