Define a horse too worked to allow to drink or eat

I've never heard a definitive answer to this question? ... "I've worked my horse hard, arena, cantering on the trail, whatever. When is it okay to allow him to eat and drink?" Mostly I've heard when his respiration returns to normal. Some say ...I've never heard a definitive answer to this question? ... "I've worked my horse hard, arena, cantering on the trail, whatever. When is it okay to allow him to eat and drink?" Mostly I've heard when his respiration returns to normal. Some say ...

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder:

I’ve never heard a definitive answer to this question? … "I’ve worked my horse hard, arena, cantering on the trail, whatever. When is it okay to allow him to eat and drink?" Mostly I’ve heard when his respiration returns to normal. Some say allowing a hot horse to eat or drink causes colic or founder, some say they can eat or drink, but you need to walk them down mostly so they don’t founder.

And what defines a "hot horse"? Is it respiration, pulse, sweating? My personal guide line has been, when his respiration returns to normal, no matter if he’s still soaking wet. I would appreciate your thoughts and answer.

Bob Ryan

Dear Bob:

Well, as you have found out, there is no one answer. All you have to do is watch endurance and race horses. They are allow to drink small amounts (usually 2-3 drinks) at a time then hand walk a few more minutes.

I think the key to this is the condition of the horse. The better the condition the safer it is to allow the horse to drink.

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder