I bought a water bucket (insulated) that has a float. The horse it's used for is very timid of new things. Does anyone have any good techniques for teaching them to push down the float? His normal water buckets are still in the stall, so he has other water sources available--until it freezes, hence the new waterer
Does the float have a solid face or is it a bowl? The floats
that came with my insulated buckets are shaped like a
bowl and have a small hole in the center. So they have
a small bowlful of water in them at all times. I would
put something especially enticing into the bowl to let
my horse learn to trust it and that water is available
there if it were a problem. My bucket is a Horseman's
Choice model from Behlen Country. I don't know if
they sell the float separately or if it would fit your
bucket, but you could enquire.
What you describe sounds like a paddle in the bowl that the horse must depress to get fresh water to fill the bowl. The other kind has a simple float valve that automatically fills the bowl when the water gets to a low enough level by drinking.
You can put honey or apple butter or something on the paddle to encourage the horse to lick it, but the water can startle the horse when the flow starts. We have two horses that simply refuse to drink out of the auto waterers and we have to keep a traditional bucket filled at all times.
I'd be afraid to withhold other water sources in an effort to force the horse to use the auto ones.
My gelding was one of the last ones to start using a Nelson waterer. I finally got him to drink with some chunks of apple in the water. He didn't like it when the water came on to fill the bowl, but got brave enough to pick the apples out. After that he was home free.