Horse Hydration is critical if you want to compete well!
Thirsty Thursday from our friends at Horse Quencher
"When it comes to electrolytes-less is more, says Thirsty Thursdays vet, Dr. Joe Rosenberg from Paniolo Equine Veterinary Services, Inc. I advise against force-feeding electrolytes unless you are sure your horse needs them. The horse's body is usually quite remarkable at adapting. Just as his urinary system tries to preserve his body reserves of salt when he is short (by excreting very little through the kidneys and urine, and flushing out more when he has plenty), his sweat glands also can adjust their output, with gradual conditioning. However, if you are giving a horse supplemental electrolytes continually, you interfere with his ability to adjust to shortages. He becomes dependent upon the supplement, and his kidneys open up their channels for getting rid of the additional salts instead of shutting down those channels for conserving electrolytes.
The concept of having a properly fed horse with optimal water and electrolyte storage before competition seems to be slowly catching on for many disciplines. Horses prepared in this manner may need minimal electrolyte supplementation during an event.
Helpful Electrolyte Tips:
Remember-Hydrating a horse has two separate but equal parts that work in concert with one another. Horses need water and they need electrolytes.
For horses in light work or idle horses, I recommend supplying a free choice salt block or topdressing salt (one to two ounces per day for idle horses) on daily grain or concentrate rations. Also, ensuring your horse drinks 8-10 gallons of water a day is important.
Horses in moderate to heavy work or horses losing large amounts of sweat due to high temperatures will likely necessitate additional electrolyte supplementation. Care should be used in adding electrolytes to a horse's water as it may decrease water intake. If adding electrolytes to water, make sure a second source of straight water is available. Adding their favorite flavor of Horse Quencher to their water buckets will ensure that your horse drinks his water.
Be sure to look for electrolytes that are high in sodium, chloride, and to a lesser extent potassium"