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Horses Drinking Water After Hard Work?

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  • Horse water after race
  • Equine cooling off after hard work

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    06-28-2012, 11:22 PM
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
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.
wow this sounds intense, but super interesting!
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    06-28-2012, 11:29 PM
We had a polo horse who had a genetic disorder or something...he couldn't sweat. That's right! A heavily used polo horse, in the state of Georgia, who couldn't sweat. He would be hosed off the very second he came off the field and the hose was kept on him for a while. Then he'd be hosed off some more after a bit. Poor fella.

Kind of off topic but I thought I'd share!

Looks like there are a lot of myths that are being debunked lately with the cooling of a horse!
    06-28-2012, 11:35 PM
If I wanted to withhold water from my overheated sweaty horse, he'd have to wait until November to get a drink considering he's sweaty just standing in the barn the past few days (it's been >100F). I've yet to see anyone who uses their horses hard riding fences, endurance, or all day trail riding keep their horses from water. I figure it's just like me- maybe I shouldn't down an icy bucketful all at once after a run, but reasonable amounts while I am hot and while I cool down prevent dehydration and all the issues that WILL cause.
    06-28-2012, 11:41 PM
Green Broke
It's perfectly fine to wash off a horse right after exercise. Guess how endurance riders cool their horses right after getting in? We strip the tack and dump cold water on them immediately! Right inside the finish line. Ice water, sometimes.

It does not cause tying up. Tying up is a lot more complex than that. You can make a horse sore easily after exercise and the cold water will make the already tired muscle tighten, but causing legit azoturia is actually pretty hard.
    06-29-2012, 12:21 AM
Super Moderator
Event riders are masters of cooling off a hot heaving horse. They have a very small time window to get the horse's vitals down of the horse is eliminated. We use ICE and water inside and out.

If you don't give water during the cooling process, it will be very difficult to get the core temperature down.
    06-29-2012, 08:14 AM
Originally Posted by With Grace    
wow this sounds intense, but super interesting!
The $200 per day is also awesome!

Steeplechase horses are no joke. They're galloping up to three miles with as many as 22 jumps.
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    06-29-2012, 08:38 AM
After any workout, when I go to turn Sky out he gulps down a LOT of water. He needs it, and he has never ever coliced *knock on wood*

cold water, drink, hard work, horse drinking, water

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