Horses have been involved in the human way of life for a long time, and with that comes both wisdom and myths. Today we will talk about one myth that can be potentially harmful to your horse if followed:
Myth: You should never give horses water after strenuous exercise, as it will make them colic or tie up.
Reality: This is completely false; water should never be withheld from a horse!
This myth may have stemmed from horses experiencing muscle cramping when they were put back in their stall without being cooled properly following a workout. What we recommend after a hard ride is walking your horse until they are no longer breathing heavy (nostrils not flaring out) and their heart rate has decreased to normal (~40 beats per min). Once their breathing and heart rate have decreased you should most definitely offer them water, starting with ½ bucket at first and then increasing the amount.
Horses can also benefit from electrolytes after an especially strenuous ride or on a hot day where they are sweating more. Another way you can help your equine companion cool off on a hot day after a hard ride is by hosing them off with cold water. If it is cold outside and they are sweaty, keep walking them until they are dry and then place a ‘cooler’ or ‘sweat blanket’ on them so that they stay warm while their body is cooling off.
So remember, it is always a good idea to provide plenty of fresh water for your horse and to always cool them off before putting them away.