Measuring the amount of water your horse's drink has three potential advantages.

  • Health. A change in water consumption can indicate a change in your horse's health. For example, diabetes results in increased water consumption. By monitoring the amount of water your horse drinks, you may be able to spot such problems sooner, resulting in starting treatment earlier, which can be better for the horse's health.
  • Taxes. If you stable horses professionally, you can claim water consumption as a deductible expense. A water meter allows you to determine how much of the water was consumed for the horse business, which can otherwise be difficult if you simply use your house water for the stables as well.
  • Water Bills. Water bills typically have two components, the cost of the water itself and the cost of the sewage system that takes it away. Normally, the water companies assume that all water that enters the property leaves again via the sewage system (e.g. toilet water, shower water). If you can show that a certain amount of your water is used by horses and consequently does not enter the sewage system, you may be able to claim a lower water charge. Not all areas provide this option, but if a substantial amount of your water is for horses, it is worth checking.

Health and Water Consumption

The amount of water that a horse drinks per day depends on a number of circumstances. For example, the type of food (e.g. green grass or dry hay), the weather (hot or cold), the amount of exercise it is getting and of course it's health. An a number of these factors depend on the time of year (e.g. winter is colder but they eat more dry hay than in summer), many owners simply record the monthly water consumption during the first year to get an idea of how much their horse drinks. One can then periodically compare the current month's consumption against the same month in a previous year. If the water consumption has changed significantly, then one should investigate with a vet.

This may seem complicated. However, in practice one finds that it is quite simple. For example, if your horse consumes the same amount of water each month, give or take 20%, and you see an increase in consumption of 50% or 100%, then it is obvious that either something has greatly changed (e.g. being fed drier food and exercised much more) or the horse may well have a medical condition.

Of course, this system only works if one monitor's the individual horse's water consumption. For example, if each horse has its own stall, then you may want to install a meter for each stall (in front of the water drinker). However, if there is a communal water system (e.g. a group of horses share a water trough throughout the day), then individual measurement is not possible. In such a case, the only benefit of tracking water consumption is for the above points on taxes and water bills.