The average horse drinks 5 to 10 gallons a day, but mini’s definitely aren’t going to drink as much as a regular sized horse. All horses need access to water all day and it will make it easier if you know around how much to give them.
So how much does a mini horse drink?
Most reports state to provide your mini horse with at least 5 gallons of water a day that is fresh. But most won’t drink that much unless they are out in the heat and eating constantly. Our mini in the winter time drinks around 2.5 gallons a day and around 4 gallons in the summer time.
There is no set amount your horse is absolutely going to drink just like with people. The old saying is drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day (64 ounces) so your body has enough water. Well people for one come in all shapes and forms so some may need more and some need less. I personally drink a tone of water in the morning around 16 to 32 ounces then drink very little the rest of the day depending on my activity level. It is always more then 64 ounces but my rate per hour slows down. I have cousins that never drink water unless they are actually thirsty and they do fine.
So with horses you could have two minis the same weight, size, etc. and one will drink 3 gallons a day and the other will drink 5 gallons a day. We have a regular sized horse that drinks very little water unless they are lunged and ridden outside of that they don’t drink much at all. Get to know your mini and you will over time. Pay extra close attention that first year.
Keep reading as we answer most any questions we had with our mini’s and water intake. We also went out and gathered answers from other mini owners that live in different climates to get their take on the matter.
How Much Water Does A Mini Horse Drink In Hot Weather?
If you live in the southern states try to make sure your horse has access to water all day long if possible in the summer months. You can get auto feeders that are very efficient that just take a hose and a plastic piece. They actually aren’t as pricey as you would think. But make sure they have at least 3 gallons during the day and more at night. 5 gallons would be much better.
With our property we are lucky (and unlucky) because we have numerous springs all over the property so they have access to fresh drinking water. So fresh that we actually fill jugs up at the source and drink it ourselves. So if you have a spring go that route, but do get the water tested for bacteria among other things.
If you can’t do any of the above make sure you have more then just one bucket of water out for them if possible. Make sure it is hanging off the ground so they can’t knock it over. Or at least tied to the fence. Mini’s can be a bit tougher because you can’t use the normal water troughs but they do have lower 100+ gallon ones that are plastic that they can drink out of as well.
You should also make sure you have a Salt Block which will help they retain water. Also make sure you clean their water buckets and troughs out bacteria can thrive in there especially in the heat. They will also normally drink a lot afterward. We have used dish soap in the past but now use either baking soda or vinegar to clean out these days just to be extra safe.
Other things to consider is making sure they have a fan to keep them cool and also plenty of shade. A simple cheap dollar store box fan can go a long way and is very cheap to run. Even if you have solar it will run a box fan.
How Much Water Does A Mini Horse Drink In Cold Weather?
Summer to Winter is going to be quite the change for consumption of water in most areas besides the deep south. Getting horses to actually drink water can be an issue as well so make sure the setting are just right with the water.
So you want to have a water heater when needed yes horses don’t like drinking ice cold water when it is ice cold out. Get a water trough heater like these or a simple bucket heater. In their stall they actually have heated buckets you can even find right on amazon. Unfortunately they can be a bit pricey but it is for the health of your horse.
That will keep the temp about 10 degrees above freezing and guess what you won’t have to deal with breaking up the ice all the time every freezing cold day. I always hated that task.
Our mini’s generally still drink about 2-3 gallons a day even in the cold weather. If we give them more treats or hay they may drink a bit more.
Dealing With Hot Weather And Minis
We went out and got information that will help you get your answers for how much water mini’s should drink in warmer weather.
We curated content from horse forums and horse sub reddits. We correct grammar and spelling where needed to make more readable however the answers remain the same.
Real Mini Owners Answers
1. Marty “3 gallons or more” – Ideally, your horse should be drinking a minimum of 3 gallons or more.
That being said, some of mine don’t drink that much.
Be sure you have a white salt block out and keep the buckets clean.
I used baking soda to clean mine with. They seem to drink a lot better after I finish scrubbing them out.
2. Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis “Depends on horse” – I have some that do that as well some drink tons and others hardly a sip it seems.. but they are healthy and all jsut different. I can drink 1- 1/2 gallons of water a day in winter and up to 2 1/2 in the summer- way more then anyone else in my house does guess we are all just different
3. Shana “at least 100 60cc syringes a day” – I can answer that, mini has to drink at least 100 60cc syringes/day. Goes by weight of horse and that is what I had to give my stallion by stomach tube, who I sadly loss.
4. Jill “varies” – It can vary a lot horse to horse. Also, some horses sweat more than others, which is a factor as well.
You might see if your horse who’s less interested in drinking will drink gator ade? And if so, pour some of that into his/her water bucket? We do that at shows to be sure everyone drinks plenty and they beg for “gator water” like it is cookies!
Another thing is I used to have a horse who would drink “too much” for a period of time. He would go through more than one 5 gallon bucket of water in the 12 or so hours he was stalled each day. We started putting electrolyte powder in his water and he eventually drank a “normal” amount (about the same as the other 11 in the barn). With him, I wondered at the time if it was fixing to be some kind of a vice. He didn’t come from the best situation when I bought him (full of worms, way under weight, no energy, dull…). Speculate that he didn’t always have nice, clean water and wondered if he was going to just drink “too much” water for something to do in his stall, etc. Happily, though, he moved through it and stopped. Sure makes stalls a nasty mess to keep clean.
What Happens If A Mini Horse Drinks Too Much Water?
Mini’s can drink too much water just like other horses. The main time this happens or will affect them is with cushings. This will create more stress on their kidneys that can lead to other health problems. However if you horse is healthy you shouldn’t have much too worry about.
How Much Water Do Ponies Drink?
Mini horses and ponies are almost identical in their water consumption. So this will be around 3-5 gallons a day depending on the actual horse. Some will drink more and some real drink less just make sure they have access to it.
If they are active playing all day with other ponies then they will probably need more then this. We try to leave them with a surplus of extra water all day long. At night we are limited but a 5 gallon bucket of course.
They definitely need to have more when they are out in the pasture if there is intense heat provide more water.
How Do You Know When Your Mini Horse Is Dehydrated?
If you are initially worried make sure you are actually recording how much they are drinking. If you provide them 5 gallons buckets this is very easy too do. If they are drinking out of spring then that will be nearly impossible of course so you will need to take additional steps for this.
- Skin Pinch – pinch the skin near the shoulder. If the skin immediately goes flat to where it was your horse is hydrated. If it kind of sticks or takes a couple seconds to snap back your horse may be dehydrated. If it takes a long time to snap back like longer then 4 seconds your horse is severely dehydrated.
- Capillary Refill Time (CRT) – Your mini’s gums should be pink and moist. Same concept of the pinch test. Apply pressure to your horses gums it should turn light then back to pinkish color (the original color) in a couple seconds at most. If it does not they may be dehydrated.
Do Miniature Horses Need Grain?
No horse necessarily needs grain if they have access to great hay and pasture along with something like alfalfa. Grain is not a necessity for more horses, just those that are worked or show. It is a way of getting them the proper nutrients and balance in their diet they need. Or it may be needed if your horse is having health issues like trying to put or keep weight on.
There is mini feed for miniature horses that works great, but you can use regular horse grain feed for them. We use a low starch kind most of the time especially in the summer months when they have access to grass most all day. This helps keep them from colicing or getting over weight. So quantity can be an issue same goes for treats make sure the treats are healthy for them.
You can feed a mini horse or pony the same amount of treats and grain as a regular horse.
Mini’s are beautiful animals and one of the ways to keep them beautiful and healthy is to provide them with lots of water. If you just purchased your mini do what you have to do to get them 3-5 gallons a day.
But over time you may want to look into a more automated way like having spring water flow through that pasture if possible or a spring fed pond. If not maybe an auto water may be in your best interest.
If you are looking at an auto waterer you will want to train them as soon as possible on it so they get used to it. This can take some time as you know horses can be spooked pretty easily.
During the course of that first year record or remember your horse behavior with water since the temperature and their activity level will change. Check on their hydration by doing the pinch test it takes two seconds to perform it.
Also ask your vet on water consumption since the odds are they have dealt with other minis in the area and will know best on what is going on with them that you will want to do the same with yours.