First, There Is Water
Clean water provided in clean containers day and night, spring, summer, fall, and winter is critical to the health and well-being of your horse. Without it, food cannot make its journey through the system, nutrients cannot be transported to and through the bloodstream, body temperature cannot be regulated, and waste and toxins cannot be eliminated. Without a steady supply of water, horses risk colic from food sitting in their digestive tract and fermenting or packing up and preventing the passage of manure.
The average horse weighing approximately 1,000 pounds drinks about ten gallons of water per day. That amount increases if the horse works more than an hour or so a day. Also, if temperatures are extreme in either direction, hot or cold, the horse will require more water to replenish lost fluids and keep his interior temperature constant.
As a rule of thumb, a horse needs one gallon of water per 100 pounds of weight each day. Using this ratio, an average 1,000-pound horse will drink approximately ten gallons of water each day. This amount varies widely, of course, and depends on many factors, especially how much exercise the horse gets.
Clean your water buckets and troughs regularly. If the buckets sit where they are exposed to the sun, algae and scum form quickly. Make bucket cleaning an easy task so that you won't mind doing it. Find your favorite bucket and water tub cleaning tool — a rag, a cookware sponge, a brush made just for bucket washing, a toilet bowl brush, and so on — and keep it handy (but out of reach of the horses). Once a week or so, round up all the five-gallon buckets, including feed buckets, give them a good washing, and let them dry in the bacteria-killing sunshine.