Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 | Filed under Dalton

I am always amused when I see ranch horses drink out of filthy, algae ridden troughs.  So often, I’ve heard people say that horses shouldn’t be fussy about water because they never know when they will find water again… or something like that.

To me, I kinda agree with the horses.  I hate it when my water tastes like soap or rusty pipes or chlorine.  I like a nice, cool glass of water.

So, even though I have been very frustrated by Dalton’s water issues, I understand.  He just wants it the way he wants it.

Me, too.

Here is a pictorial of the issues so far… except I think, I think I finally have it figured out.


This huge trough was initially Dalton’s water source. It was only filled halfway so that I could dump and refresh it easily. He wouldn’t use it. I have no idea why. It must have smelled like plastic or something. Since he wouldn’t use it, I tried a different trough.

This was my next trial trough. It is lower and smaller, but had enough heft to get him through a summer day. … Dalton stood in it. He wouldn’t drink from it.

Then I gave him this different, mid-sized bucket. I figured he couldn’t stand it in, and it had enough volume to get through a summer day…. He kicked it until it came loose and then he rolled it around in the mud (hence it’s condition). I retied it daily for a week, and he did this every day. I think he wanted to cool down so he played in it.

Then I tried two smaller buckets, thinking that if he played in one, he’d still have the other. … I was wrong. He dumped them both, daily. I started to worry that he wasn’t getting enough water!

THEN, I saw Vivienne drinking out of the two buckets. UGH. I would hate dog slobber in my bucket, too. Maybe Vivienne has been drinking out of Dalton’s water for a while?! (Vivienne has lots of opportunities for water other than the horses’ water.)

I gave Vivienne a special bowl of fresh, drippy water – right outside of Dalton’s paddock, hoping to dissuade her.

I also got a hook-over bucket and filled it with water – to hook on the fence – and see if Dalton used it, or threw it off the fence as he does with his grain bucket (daily).

On the first day, he left the water bucket on the fence! He also drained it. So as I was refilling it, he bit through the hose and started playing with the water.

Now it has been a week and he has used his red water hook over bucket religiously – and has not flipped it off of the fence! And, he drains it almost daily. (I fill it at lunch and dinner). I’d like to get a bigger one, if they make them…

So it took a while, but Dalton finally got his point across. He doesn’t like Rubbermaid and he doesn’t like dog slobber. I get it! Finally! He wants fresh water, in a bucket not made by Rubbermaid, and up high enough that the dogs can’t use it. Got it.

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4 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    Yes! He loves the automatic waterer. That is the absolute remedy. He had one before. I did purchase one that works with a hose, but her wrecked it and ate the hose. I need one that is permanent, with PVC pipe and its own post. On the list!

  2. dawndi Post author

    He is young and bored. I can’t ride at the moment, but he has 5 acres and 3 friends…

  3. Calvin48

    This is not unusual, and I currently feel lucky to have a horse and pony who aren’t too picky. I bought an OTTB in the late 70’s (CraftyBedford) and although he was fine at home, He was terrible about drinking at competitions (we evented throughout our region). It wasn’t unusual for us to be gone for three days or more at a time. I developed a few tricks to get more water into Bedford: I put apples in his water bucket and he loved apples. He soon learned the quickest way to get to the apples was to drink the water. I also bought hay cubes for his forage and soaked them in water before I fed them. I fed him electrolytes every day, all year round in his feed, which was beet pulp and wheat bran with a little cracked corn and was fed wet.
    In the case of Dalton, he’s a young horse. Are you able to ride him? Is he turned out with the other horses? Perhaps he’s a little bored.

  4. Robynne Catheron

    I’m liking Dalton more and more ? Glad to hear you found a solution! If you’d rather not have to fill it twice a day or if her changes his mind, have you considered an automatic waterer?
    In winter I have to use a Rubbermaid trough with a de-icer in the bottom since we live in NY. But the rest of the year they use a Little Giant Duramate Waterer attached to the outside of the barn. All six horses love it, even the mini-donks. Fresh water every time they drink. I drain it once a week and clean it with baking soda and salt. Just a thought for future reference!

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