How to Tell If Your Horse is Dehydrated

Horses are a lot like boys to us. We spend half our time wondering what they are thinking (though I will admit horses are much easier to read). Here are a few tips and signs to tell if your horse is dehydrated this summer.

1) A dehydrated horse will take frequent, shallow breathes.

2) Test the capillaries (small blood vessels) in your horse’s gums, which are located near a horse’s upper teeth. Press the gums with your thumb or index finger and release. They will turn pink/white (much like your skin when you press it), if the color returns back to the pressure spot your horse isn’t in dire dehydration. If the color takes more than 2 seconds to return, you have a dehydrated horse on your hands.

3) Pinch a section of skin from the lower chest and fold. Release the skin. If the skin springs back into place, your horse is not severely dehydrated, but if the skin retains the folded shape or slowly returns to its regular shape, your horse is dehydrated.

Regardless if your horse passes these tests, your horse should always have access to clean water.

For more information and tips on testing a horse’s hydration click here. Be sure to purchase the August issue of Heels Down Magazine for more hydration facts.

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