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Water Troughs & Nutty Horses

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  • Water Troughs & Nutty Horses

    One of my horses has taken to flipping the trough over. Every. Single. Day.

    My horses are pasture kept, and I have electric wire up which prohibits hanging buckets. I have a large trough and several muck tubs that I fill. She paws the water out and then flips them over. Daily. This means she and the others go without water almost all day until we get home from work and refill them.

    How do I deal with this? Any ideas to eliminate the splashing and tipping? It's very frustrating.
    "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

  • #2
    We also own "swimmers" who like to immerse as much of themselves at possible in the water trough. I now keep a Bob trough solar heated trough in the pasture. Because of the small opening with the float on top, they can dunk their faces in but cannot get their bodies in the Bob trough. I also fill the regular trough, figuring they will then have one place to swim. I fill buckets in the stalls (which are left open) when I will be gone all day. If I have 3 buckets, a trough, and the solar trough, I don't have to worry about them being without water.


    • #3
      Hahahahahahaha I feel your pain. I never had trouble with trough hogs, we call them, until we got a Freisian boarder. Apparently, the Freisian breeder says love of water is a general Freisian trait. Not only does the breeder have ALL of his troughs up on blocks, but all the water buckets in the stalls are hung very high, like 5 feet and higher.

      This one Freisian we have proved that yes, she WILL put her front feet in her water buckets and tear them off the wall, of course making a mess. With lot of turnout and exercise, she leaves them alone but she has to eat out of a pan because the empty feed bucket is too tempting. She tears those off the wall too.

      Outside, she goes straight for the trough, in with both front feet splashing away without a care in the world. If any water manages to stay in the trough, now it's all full of dirt and mud from her feet.

      I am probably going to have to build the same two by four trough stand on stilts like the breeders did. This puts the lip of the trough at about four feet high. We empty and scrub our troughs as needed, mostly letting them be drunk down to minimal water. so tipping them over while raised up shouldn't be too bad.

      You may be able to distract the trough hog from tipping the trough by offering other "toys" like a milk jug, traffic cone or a small rubber feed pan he can toss and trash at will. I find the store bought toys too expensive and short lived but a brand spanking new empty milk jug may provide hours of fun. When crushed and dirty, pitch it and give them a new one. I have been known to even shove treats inside for added entertainment value. If left with them long enough, horses can tear off pieces of plastic so watch for that. Don't try other jugs like juice or detergent, not as durable, may spinter or tear. Milk jugs, the best.
      ...don't sh** where you eat...


      • #4
        I have a QH yearling thats a swimmer... I have my trough up on blocks about 2' high. Stopped the swimming!


        • Original Poster

          So cinder blocks or a wood frame to get it up off the ground? I can do that... PITA, but it can be done.
          "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


          • #6
            I feel your pain and all ours do is splash the water out, roll, splash the water out...until it's a muddy mess. Only when it's hot out, though.


            • #7
              I have one swimmer who climbs into the giant rubbermaid tub and splashes around. And now my new horse is watching intently to learn how it's done.

              The tub is either too heavy for her to tip over, or it's sunken down into the mud enough to where it can't be tipped. So I haven't yet had to deal with your problem. She has killed 3 auto water filler uppers, though.

              Anyway, could you maybe build a wooden frame around the trough? Might be a pain if you want to dump the tank, but if it was somehow anchored to the fence or ground, it would be much harder to tip over.


              • #8
                I put 3 cinderblocks perpendicular under our rubbermaid trough on flat ground. There is a rim on the bottom that holds them securely. Stopped all the splashing and swimming


                • #9
                  That's interesting about the Freisians love of water. I have a Freisian boarder and that horse loves water too. He will paw and play in the smallest of puddles. One winter he rolled in a large puddle with his thick winter blanket on. He almost couldn't get up because the blanket was so heavy with water. He learned a lesson and no longer rolls with clothing on.

                  As to the OP, maybe you could block off most of the tank with plywood so that there is only room for drinking and not playing.
                  Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                  • #10
                    We've got a swimmer too. Placing the tank on cinderblocks and wood pallets up & out of pawing range fixed it. She's not amused.
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                    • #11
                      I don't have any swimmers (and never realized a horse would climb into a water trough! ), but we have our troughs all under our fence. We have three board fencing, and for the section where the trough is we cut the bottom board, and slide the trough under so it's half on one side and half on the other. It saved us on buying troughs for every pasture along with having a little less to scrub and keep clean.

                      Maybe that would work?
                      "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                      <>< I.I.


                      • #12
                        Had a boarder who was a "swimmer. Raised the tub with blocks until she couldn't climb in it anymore.

                        After that, she'd stand and stare longingly at the lake!
                        You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jazzrider View Post
                          I don't have any swimmers (and never realized a horse would climb into a water trough! ),

                          We had one who used to get into the trough..all 4's - I kid you not..and just stand there with his ears pinned at anyone who approached! We did as others have said and slid it only half way into the paddock and attached it to a 4x4 fence post. It stopped that ...but then there was the stall bucket.. He used to submerg his face and blow bubbles. He was such good barn entertainment.

                          Funny thing - he was an American Saddlebred and had to be introduced (aka forced) to the water...but OMgosh..once he was - he decided he liked water more than dirt! Sure do miss him.


                          • Original Poster

                            I haven't had a chance to buy blocks yet, but the more responses on this thread, the more encouraged I am! For what it's worth, my "swimmer" is a TB. She went all summer long without splashing or paying any attention whatsoever to the water. Suddenly, now that the weather has cooled, she thinks it's her personal kiddie pool. I suppose she just got bored one day, pawed it either incidentally or on purpose, and discovered it was fun. Either way, it's a new behaviour and one she seems determined to indulge in as often as possible.
                            "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                            • #15
                              We have two of those bad boys too. We built a table. 3' square, 4' tall, enclosed box on which the trough now sits. It is quite great. They try to bash it around but never as they used to do.
                              Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.