Most horse owners know that keeping a supply of clean drinking water in front of your horse is essential. Winter has its own set of challenges but as spring turns to summer, an entirely new set of concerns begins to arise. Although every situation and horse is different, on average the resting horse should drink one gallon of water for every one hundred pounds of body weight. The consumption of water not can, among other health benefits, keep your horse from becoming dehydrated. The following are frequently asked questions that I often receive from owners in terms of keeping a fresh supply of drinking water in tanks made available for pastured horses.
Q: How often should I clean my horse’s water tank?
A: Daily monitor it for leaves, hay, and other debris and remove it whenever it is found. Give tanks a thorough cleaning about once a week. If the tank becomes significantly dirty or develops a heavy growth of algae before that time it should of course be cleaned sooner.
Q: Should I use bleach to clean my water tank?
A: Yes. First, empty your water tank. A solution of 10% bleach can provide an effective means of cleaning your water tank. Vinegar also works well. Applying your cleaning solution with a bristle brush can work wonders. Regardless of your choice of cleaning solution, be certain to rinse your tank twice after cleaning it before refilling and offering it to your horse. Pressure washers can also be life savers.
Q. Is there anything I can do to extend the amount of time between tank cleanings?
A. I have personally tried placing Goldfish in the tanks and a variety of products aimed to do just that. The fish seem to help but they can be difficult to catch and extend the amount of time it takes to properly clean the tank. I have also experienced limited success with adding products for this purpose but they are not substitute for regular, thorough cleanings.
Q. Do you have any other tips?
A. Yes. To the extent possible, locate manure piles away from your water tank. Also, any time any chemical, such as pesticides or herbicides, are sprayed near your water tanks make certain to give them a thorough cleaning.