Healthy Water  Equals Healthy Horse.

Posted by Russell Gibbons on 3rd Sep 2019

Healthy Water Equals Healthy Horse.

As the temperatures beginning to rise, it’s important you spend a bit of a moment thinking about water availability for your horse and if it’s healthy water.

The warm weather is on it’s way and the end of winter has been and gone…..

A big issue in Australia is Algae growing in the troughs.

Sometimes we don’t notice it or we think it looks good so we don’t do anything about it.

But one should keep an eye on the amount of Algae in the trough.

Whilst it is true that most algae are harmless for horses, if they get out of control, the can omit an odour. Your horse finds these odours unpleasant and then because of the smell it will discourage your pony to drink enough.

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On the flip side, some algae can produce toxins in the water which will affect the health of your horse and give them diarrhoea and another stomach issues.

So how do we deal with algae?

It’s pretty simple really, Elbow Grease will do the trick……….There are other ways of course. 

One particular method is to introduce fish into the water tank.

Often it has been considered that fish will improve water quality and keep the aquatic environment healthy.

However, one study about “The Effect Of Goldfish On Water Quality” showed that in-fact, Goldfish do not add to the overall quality of the water at all except for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).

With this in mind, they will help manage mosquitoes larvae out-breaks in the trough, and they will eat a bit of the algae. However, in most cases, the algae will out grow the fish depending on how many fish there are and what type of fish they are.

One needs to keep in mid however, that troughs are low oxygen environments so unless you are prepared to put an aerator in, it may not hold many fish….

Then the other thing to consider of course, are the birds who prey on fish…. They will be hard to stop so be prepared to restock regularly.

So essentially there are a couple of ways to help control the health of the water in the trough…..

1.  Clean out regularly – 

That means draining the trough and scrubbing the sides so the algae doesn’t get out of control.

Also, changing the water keeps it fresh and tasty. It won’t smell and no toxins can build up which will keep your ponies coming back and drinking the amount they should.

2. Shade – 

Shade will help manage algae as well as temperature. The warmer the water, the quicker the algae will grow…. Plus, the more sunlight there is, the faster it will grow as well.

Therefore, if you were to build a shade structure above the water trough, or place the trough under some shade, you will have a chance of controlling those algae blooms.

Another advantage to this, is that it will prevent contaminants from those flying over and thus, keep the water cleaner for longer…… shade will also make it more pleasant for your pony to enjoy a nice beverage as well!

3.  Add Fish – 

Fish will help to a certain degree but be sure to check for dead fish often. If the fish die, they can pollute the water….. As we discussed earlier, be prepared to re-stock often…. 

They will help control algae and insect larvae but that is about it.

4.  Chemical Additives – 

There are a few of these on the market with most having some form of either chlorine or copper sulphate… being included in the formulae. Just be sure to read the labels if you went down this path…..especially if your trough is shared with other animals.

Copper Sulphate is toxic to sheep but safe to horses……. So be careful to read all the labels first.

So take a moment to think about your water health prior to the warmer months hitting us. Decide how you are going to manage it and get those habits in place now so that you know your ponies will always have the freshest water possible……

This will indeed make them very happy horses indeed, whilst also directly contributing to the good health.

Hope this has given you some inspiration moving forward?

Take care and thank-you for your support as always.

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