How To Keep Your Horse’s Water Fresh

There are a lot of things to do when taking care of a barn. If you’re a horse owner, you probably know by now that one of the essential chores when taking care of a horse is to keep its water trough clean and free of algae. Giving your horses access to fresh and clean water every day is very important for their well-being. 

Cleaning your horse’s trough is not as hard as it seems. It may be a little bit tiring because it often involves scrubbing the grime and algae out of the water trough. In this article, we are going to give you some ideas on how to keep your horse’s water fresh.

Cleaning the Water Trough

It does not matter if your horse’s water trough is big or small. The basic cleaning steps should always be: Drain, scrub, rinse, and refill. There are no shortcuts or magic spells that can prevent you from ever cleaning your horse’s water tank again. But you can learn some tricks so you can go longer between each cleaning. 

What are the Different Types of Water Troughs?

What are the Different Types of Water Troughs

Two kinds of material are used for water troughs – they can be either made of plastic or metal. Both materials are somewhat resistant to algae growth, but they should still be properly cleaned. Plastic tanks are more prone to scratching. That is why they are easier to scratch than the metal trough. This means that the smooth surface of metal tanks takes a little bit longer for algae to develop and grow. Smooth metal is also easier to clean and scrub compared to rough plastic.

How to Clean a Water Trough Manually

Drain the used water

Before you start cleaning your horse’s trough, you must drain all of the used water so that you can easily reach and scrub the sides and bottom. Large water troughs typically have a bottom drain port for quick emptying. But, if your tank is small, you might be able to tip it over so that the water will drain. You can also use a bucket to bail the water out of a water trough that has no drain. 

Scrub the water trough

After making sure that you drained all of the water, grab a stiff plastic bristle brush, then scrub the interior surface of the water trough. We suggest that you use handheld brushes for the best leverage and scrubbing power. If the tank is deep, you can opt for a long-handle brush. If there’s a part of the water tank that your brush can’t reach, you can use a bath loofah to clean the grooves thoroughly. 

When it comes to killing the algae and bacteria, you should use 10% bleach which is nine parts water and 1 part bleach. If your horse is sensitive and can smell or taste any bleach residue, you can try using apple cider vinegar instead. Keep in mind that your main goal is to remove all algae and bacteria in the tank to take longer to grow next time. 

Rinse the water trough using freshwater

After draining and scrubbing your horse’s water tank, you can rinse it by using a garden hose, or you can do it manually by filling buckets with water. Ensure that you rinse off all the dirt, bleach, and soap you used during the scrubbing process. If you’re patient enough, you can let the water tank air dry in the sun to make sure that any algae left behind are eliminated. 

Fill the water tank with fresh water

Once you’re done draining, scrubbing, and rinsing your horse’s water tank, the next thing that you will do is to fill it back up with clean and fresh water. The easiest way to do this is by using a garden hose. But, if your hose does not reach your horse’s water tank, you can just fill and haul a bucket with water.

Other Ways to Clean a Water Trough

Other Ways to Clean a Water Trough

Manually scrubbing your horse’s water trough is the simplest and most effective way to do the job. But, if you happen to have a huge tank that will take a lot of time and effort to clean, you can simply use a high-powered garden hose nozzle or a pressure washer to do the job for you. 

However, keep in mind that using high-powered pressure washers can blow a hole in thin water tanks. 

Tips for Keeping Your Horse’s Water Trough Clean Longer

You probably know by now that cleaning a horse’s water trough can be a little bit exhausting, which is why we understand if you want to wait for a while before you have to scrub it again. Here are other ways that you can try to extend the cleanliness of your horse’s water tank: 

  • Try and keep the water tank away from the hay feeder. Keep in mind that horses are messy eaters; that is why if your horse’s water tank is nearby, chances are it will become dirty more quickly. 
  • Put your horse’s water tank under a shade. This is because being exposed to direct sunlight can promote algae growth. Aside from that, not all horses prefer drinking water in a sun-baked trough. 
  • Use a filter or a small net to capture and remove debris. Scoop out any leaves, needles, or even dead bugs out of the water, and keep in mind that you should do this every day to prolong its freshness. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Horse’s Water Trough?

Just like any other living being, clean water is essential to the well-being of your horse. Adding fresh and clean water every day or every other day does not only give your horse freshwater, but it can also help keep the water trough cleaner for longer. We suggest that you top off the water at least every other day to make sure that the water levels will not reach the bottom of the tank. 

If you follow the cleaning tips that we gave you, this can help you get away with weekly cleanings. However, keep in mind that long stretches between cleaning sessions can result in more cleaning work later. But don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, you can easily give fresh water to your horse.