At my horse's barn, the water source is a creek that runs through the property. Its pretty fast flowing and clean. Now, my horse is super prissy when it comes to mud and the banks are muddy. When I moved my horse there in November, I know it took her a few days to start to drink but she spends 12 hours in at night so I wasnt too worried. Im sure she watched the other horses and I started seeing mud on her ankles. There are flatter access areas to the creek in this field. However, because of some other reasons, she has changed fields. Its been a week. She has spent the past week pouting for her herdmates in the other field and hangs out at the fence all day long longly watching them and ignores the horses she is with now. She isnt drinking because she comes in and downs a bucket right away. Its almost as if she is ravenous about water. She still comes in 12 hours so still not too worried but soon the turnout will switch and she will only come in for 3-4 hours a day and then, in the summer, it will get hot. Im not sure if its an issue of the other horses have not shown her how to drink from this creek or if she doesnt want to because the banks are a bit more steep in this field and soggy and she is so prissy. Its creek bottom land so its pretty boggy before you even get to the creek and she doesnt like walking in it. I have led her to the creek but Im afraid if I force her to walk through it, she's going to scramble around and step on me trying to get away. She really is so prissy about mud. I know it would be safer for both of us for her to work it out on her own.
Is this a silly problem? Im sure she can smell the creek and wouldnt she get over herself and the mud to drink for survival before it would get to the point of colic? She's usually Miss Smarty Pants. Of course I will offer her water before and after every ride and I usually go out every day but I would rather not have to worry about this. It seems like a silly issue to have.
My mare is NOT prissy about mud and water (goes through whatever I point her at) and she won't drink from the creek/running water in their field, she will get dehydrated and colicky first. I have to always offer water in a tub in their paddock.
Why cant' the fields have water tubs in them?
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
Well, if this were my place, of course Id hang buckets but Im trying not to be "that boarder" If she doesnt learn to drink by the time turnout changes, then I will be "that boarder" but until then, I guess Im just wondering if Im being silly worrying about this. The BO says she will be fine and that she hasnt ever had an issue with a horse not drinking and this place has been around for many, many years and in all those years, they have never had to add a tub to the field. The BO takes great care of the horses and if she isnt worried, I shouldnt be but I am the definition of a worrier. I would just like to think that she will "get it" soon. There are four other horses out there and they dont have an issue.
I wouldn't be comfortable playing chicken with a horse not drinking. Not eating because they're fussy about hay? No problem--the horse will not willingly starve itself and I'll wait them out. But not drinking is a huge and preventable cause of colic--not worth it, IMO. You shouldn't have to be "that boarder" if the BO is "that BO" who puts horse welfare ahead of "their way" of doing things.
You can purchase a 100 gallon water tank for less than $100.
I would guess the BO would not object if you wanted to
place it in the field where your horse is turned out and you
wanted to fill it and keep it clean. Then your mare would
have water while outside without having to drink from
the muddy banked stream.
I did not feel comfortable when my mare was in a pasture with a creek as the only drinking water source because the creek flowed trough fertilized fields and who knows what kind of chemicals went in there. Also, in the spring one year, we had a massive one day thaw and I recall literally wading in the field (water to the top of my boots) through floating manure also going to the creek. She was moved within a month.
I think* she went in yesterday because she had muddy ankles and when she came in, she only took a normal sip of water, maybe 2 inches out of the 5 gallon bucket and not the massive head plunge 2/3 bucket gulps she was doing prior. Im not 100% comfortable with her drinking from the creek anyways but everything else about this barn is awesome (great ring, almost unlimited hay, night checks, amazing trails, big pastures, lots of shavings, etc) I doubt she would mind if I bought my own water tub and took care of cleaning it and filling it myself so thats an option. Im also interested to see how it runs in the summer when it gets hot.
I'd bet she wasn't drinking more because she was looking for her buddies than because of the creek. She will probably bond to the ones she's with now when they get it figured out. But a water tub isn't a bad idea just since she can be fussy.
Um, I don't see how you become "that boarder" for adding a trough to the field your horse is in. If you're out every other day you can clean it and fill it yourself. That is not necessarily an everyday task (even though technically it should be).
I could tell you stories about boarders that are "that boarder". You DEFINITELY don't sound like one of them.
I wouldn't be comfortable having the only water access in the field be from a creek. Who knows what is flowing for it. Just because it looks clean, doesn't mean it is.