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Keeping water in trough cold

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  • Keeping water in trough cold

    I dont have running water to the barn yet. The closest spigot is a couple hundred yards away...so ive been hauling a (200+ gallon) water tank back and forth from my house. Easy enough, and it works quite well.

    Only problem is that the water becomes warm when sitting in the hot sun. There is no where shady up by the barn where the trough goes (except for their giant run in, but cant put the trough in there).

    The water in the trough gets hotter faster than the water in the tank. I check trough water 3 times/day and empty and refill if its not cool. I obviously go through a lot of water this way!

    Is there any product or way to keep the water cool for longer? We're thinking of building a small roof to go over the tank, at least.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

  • #2
    They make water heater "blankets". If you could keep the horses from tearing it, maybe one of those for insulation. Sounds like what you really need is shade. Could you build a roof over the trough? Even with just shade cloth. Or move it to the side of a building and attach some light weight plastic overhead?

    The lastest thing I read somewhere is that they have done research that horses prefer their water only a few degrees cooler than the surrounding air temp. So somekind of shade would probably do the trick.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


    • #3
      In the winter I wrap my tanks with a layer of foam wrapped in heavy duty contractor bags, all held on with duct type, stylish indeed !

      It works to keep the water from freezing as quickly in the winter, so I bet it would work to keep it cooler in the summer. Shade, of course, will be best if you can arrange it.

      And last year, during a long hot spell, we put big ice blocks into our water tank, but we're lucky, we live near a company that still sells ice in big blocks. I can tell you that bagged ice won't work


      • Original Poster

        Haha, ive actually thought about the big blocks of ice. I know they sell them around here, but I think they may be kind of pricey!
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          My cousin used to work at a zoo and they had a wonderful trick for keeping large troughs of water cold. They would use gallon size plastic containers that were the Rubbermaid type, fill them with water and freeze them overnight then put them in the water the next day. They would gradually thaw but it would take quite awhile, then they would pull them out, refreeze the next night and so on. I have tried this once or twice and it worked quite well but all my tanks sit in shade now so I don't need to worry about them getting too warm. Make sure you use containers that do not have handles though - horses will grab them and make toys out of them.
          Susan N.

          Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


          • #6
            Fill some beach balls or other un-grabbable things with water and freeze, then pop one in the tank each morning. Fish it out at night and refreeze.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              How warm does it get? I'm curious if you are making work for yourself with something that does not worry the horses at all.

              Building some shade would work.
              Buy a pale colored trough?
              Buy a bigger trough and keep it full?
              Buy a concrete trough?
              Dig a pit so that most of the trough will be below ground level?


              • #8
                I wonder if covering most of the top of the tank with a piece of plywood, cut to match the shape of the tank and screwed down onto it, would create enough shade to keep most of the water cooler? Just leave a section open on one end that would allow a horse head to get down into the water as the water level drops.

                One thing I can vouch for is a pump in the bottom of the tank that recirculates the water, thus moving the cooler water at the bottom of the tank to the top. I use this one:


                But it has to be near a source of electricity and I rinse the filter once a week to keep it cleaner.
                Nothing with horses is ever easy or cheap. And if it is, you're doing it wrong. They always rip out part of your soul when they leave. I guess that's how they find us later.


                • Original Poster

                  tangledweb, it was high 90's here for most of last week and will be again starting tomorrow. I would go out to the trough in the afternoon and the water would be HOT. (Similar to if you left a water bottle in a hot car). The horses werent drinking as much as normal and would run over when I refilled with cool water. (They have a creek about 200 yards away, but wont walk down there when its that hot...go figure!)

                  I think i'll try the rubbermaid container/beachball frozen items first and see how that does. I imagine it'll be better than me dumping/re-filling the trough 3 times a day!
                  Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                  White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                  Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                  • Original Poster

                    twelvegates, unfortunately the electricity on the farm is with the running water! (Down by the cabin). Barns were built smackdab in the middle of the property, a couple hundred yards from the cabin as well as any trees. Hopefully one day we can get electricity and running water TO the barn, where its actually needed!!
                    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                    • #11
                      You can build a 2 x 4 frame around the tank, cover/line with insulation lined plywood and cover all but one small area of the top of the tank (line the cover with insulation as well....spray on works better than the pink fiberglass stuff). Keeps it cooler in the summer and warmer in winter (in winter replace the south side plywood with thick plastic so that the sun shines into the "box" and warms the side of the tank within....you can paint the exterior of the tank black to assist in this).
                      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                      Northern NV


                      • #12
                        cover the tank with one of the "space blankets" (also known as a Mylar blanket) ... Reflects up to 80% of radiated heat....same super insulating materials that were developed by NASA for the Apollo Space missions.

                        cost about $4.. buy it at a drug store as it often sold as a first aid blanket or emergency blanket


                        • #13
                          I fill all my troughs with a really long hose. I run the hose until it is cool then put in trough.

                          To keep the troughs cooler in the summer, I put the trough in the shade. And for the winter, I put in the sun.

                          I have put frozen water jugs in the trough. Fill empty clean milk jug, freeze with the lid on, then place in trough.


                          • #14
                            As someone else suggested, a piece of plywood over about 2/3 to 3/4 of the trough keeps the water a good bit cooler.

                            I have a couple of troughs that have to be out in the sun, and it works well for me. Be prepared though for the horses to try to remove it, make sure it is firmly attached!
                            Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.


                            • #15
                              I built a small shed over mine..just four poles, tin roof and presto. Took only a few hrs and it also provides shade for the horse.


                              • #16
                                I keep a piece of plywood attached to my troughs- leaving only about 1/5 of the trough exposed so they can get their heads in to drink. Keeps the sun out, the water a bit cooler, and keeps the algae growth down (lack of sunlight).


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tommyknockers View Post
                                  I built a small shed over mine..just four poles, tin roof and presto. Took only a few hrs and it also provides shade for the horse.
                                  Best idea. If it's THAT hot, and horses are desperate for cold water, they'll appreciate a little extra shade for THEMSELVES, as well. Plus this type of construction is much less prone to DEstruction than something surrounding the trough itself.