I have a pond in my main grazing field. Not big, it's man-made (dirt used to build up house foundation in case of flooding when it was built). I have no idea how deep it is (plan to figure it out sometime soon), but I wouldn't imagine more than a few feet. Maybe 150-200ft diameter. Abundant wildlife lives in it; so far I have seen frogs and multiple species of turtles, and the sellers told me it is/was stocked with catfish.
One of my horses loves drinking from it. It clearly tastes better than the fresh (changed weekly) water tank I have readily available for him.
How concerned should I be that he is drinking from it? It's not spring-fed. The only option to keep him from drinking it is to fence it off, and it is smack in the middle of my field, so it would need its own fence charger if I were to use hotwire.
I also have some concerns about him falling in, or one of my other (dumber) horses stumbling/running/jumping into it in a fit of crazy. Thoughts?
I think ponds are most dangerous in the winter when they are frozen and horses aren't given another thawed water source. Other than that I don't think there is much danger to your horses- but they will damage the bank. One idea to think about for improvement- rather than fence- is to create one nice section of fine gravel beach- so a horse can get to the water without tromping into mud.
My horse- when I let him near the pond- likes to walk around up to his belly, eat cat tails and graze off the bank without having to put his head down. He also LOVES to splash- and with his big size 5 hooves- it really makes a splash! But he's hell on the bank so I don't let him do that too much.
thankfully winter isn't an issue down here in the gulf coast.
So how much should I care about the banks? Right now, this "pond" is literally a hole dug in the ground below the water table. The "bank" is just the junction between the grass and the water. The sellers (I bought this place only 7 months ago) did add some nice foliage and trees, but I wouldn't cry if some of that was damaged.
But I do like the idea of creating a nice bank with the gravel so they can go in if they please.
I boarded at a barn last year that had live water in every field and zero water tanks. Horses drank out of the ponds or springs. (And also swam)
Zero problems with the horses doing so. I moved before winter, so not sure of the issues during a freeze--that barn owners did say the horses would occasionally walk across the ice to the island that was in the pond. I was a little worried about that.
Colorado, so no gators and no PHF. There was certainly a lot of wildlife in the water, from BIG fish to snapping turtles to various bird life to frogs to other things that I never quite saw fully--caught a lot of glimpses out of the corners of my eye.
Mine have lived in several pond fields. My older horse loves them, he does an excellent hippo imitation in the heat of summer, with just his eyes and nose sticking out. All the horses drank from all the ponds as well. Wildlife enjoy the ponds as well, no conflicts (although we don't have too many gators this far inland).
They can destabilize the bank -- usually they will find the lowest point and enter there. One pond mine used had a concrete ramp entrance that was textured that worked well. We have not had any water quality issues, all were spring fed and had fishy residents to eat insect larvae. But farm ponds are virtually everywhere here, so a very common practice.
The pond for the water source for the old house on my property now belongs to the neighbors and is in their pasture. When it's really hot out I often hear the horses splashing and going in for a dip. It is clear a couple of times a year and you can see that it is like a swimming pool, with a shallow end sloping to pretty deep.
My neighbors don't fence off their septic pond either, up in the same pasture, that concerns me far more
If you get a cyanobacterial bloom (blue-green algae), it is super toxic to pets, kids, livestock. Neurotoxins, liver & kidney poisons & other fun stuff. It also causes bloody vomiting & diarrhea in pets & ppl, depending on which toxin you get.
depending on the nutrient load in your pond, you may not have to worry about this. Leptospirosis & PHF would be other concerns.
I grew up near a farm with huge broodmare band that drank exclusively from stream & pond in the summer. They never had issues, or blooms. Today there is def. a greater risk of blooms due to heavier load, depending on your location
The farm I moved from my horses had a large (3-ish acre) pond that was well maintained, it had pumps, fish etc. the kids swam in it.
The new place has ponds that I look at and go 0.o ehhhhh. There's 8-9 horses that have lived there forever and seem super happy and healthy but If I could "de-skuzz" the ponds I would love to. Can I add a type of fish or something?
Also can you add mosquito dunks or some other kind of anti- mosquito thing to the water? A few of the label say that it's safe for animals and even fish but anything that kills i'm a skeptic of....
I would suggest that if you plan to keep your pond that you get a fountain or some kind of circulation pump. Not only for mosquito control but to prevent things like pythiosis, which can be pretty nasty.
"I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous