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Winter water

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  • Winter water

    My horses are pasture boarded this winter in separate fields. One is right next to the barn, and the water for that one is pretty simple.. property owners got a big metal trough and a tank heater and drilled a hole in the barn for the cord to come in, and set up a hose/pipe system to minimize the number of hoses I need.

    Second field isn't quite so easy. It's 50-75 feet from the barn.. nothing has been set up for that one. It currently has a 50 gallon Rubbermaid trough. Owners aren't too worried about deicing it, as the horse in that field will be in a stall overnight, but she'll be out for probably 10-12 hours a day. I don't care if it freezes over halfway through the day; she can wait a few hours and drink when she comes in.

    But I'm not sure what to do in the mornings. I'm thinking of one of two things: get a long extension cord and run it from the barn to her trough and drop in a heater. I would have to monitor this as it will melt plastic, but I would put a cinder block or something in the tank and let it sit on that once it melts through the ice (or if I break the ice). My other idea is to get one of those stick bucket heaters that are safe for plastic buckets, and just heat up a 5 gallon bucket of water (or a couple of buckets) and dump them in to melt the ice and warm it up a bit.

    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
    VW sucks.

  • #2
    I wish I could figure out something myself. I have tried hoses. They freeze up before I can get back into the house to turn them off and drain them, and they are heavy. We tried hooking hoses up, on posts, in the air, so they drain themselves, nope, they freeze. The 30 gallon tub freezes solid, the whole way down. ONly thing I find that works, is me. I lug 2 five gallon pails of warm water 147 feet, three times a day. It really sucks, especially on the days I can hardly move. Other than putting water pipes down four feet(frost level) to the barn all I can do is lug. Hate to do that when I don't own the place.

    I am going to talk with the Hydrohose ppl and see if they can help. They will build hoses for ppl. They have a flat hose that is very lightweight and good down to -30. It will real itself back up and water will drain oiut as it flattens. Sounds good, haven't spoken with them yet. But it's my next idea.


    • #3
      If you have to lug water, try buying a couple of the 5 gallon gas containers they sell at car parts stores. You can fill those with regular or hot water and screw the caps on and then put them in a wheelbarrow or on a sled if there's snow on the ground and walk them out to the troughs. Much easier than carrying them and much better than buckets because they don't slosh around and the water doesn't cool off before you get to the trough.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • #4
        Iuse a floating heater in my 100 gal Rubbermaid trough. I run a cord from DH's workbarn ( on it's own circuit). The trough is right up against the fencing. The heater has its little "cage" and in the many, many years I've used this set up I've never had a problem with horses playing with it, or pulling it out of the trough. ( I may have jinxed myself, now!). I use a 100'outdoor electrical cord. I need about 100' of hose to reach the trough and in years past I'd have to drain the hose, roll it up and take it into the back hall between uses. I've discovered that if I THOROUGHLY drain itI can leave it out and it's ready to use. I can usually get a day that is at least sunny enough a few timesa week to let me top off the tub. My main problem is the outside faucet , and THAT freezes. It's on the "honey do" list to install a self draining faucet, or put one in the cellar, but so far, it;s not high on the list. I just put the kettle on and keep pouring boiling water until the faucet flows. We had a recycle shelter in front of it that we just relocated so we'll see if just getting sun on it until noonish will make things easier. If all else fails, it's two 5 gallon jugs !

        We run our extension cord through a piece of PVC piping and secure that outside the fencing so it the heater can move/bob with the water level and the cord plug will be above the ground at the fenceline in the snow and top off the water before it gets half way .
        Last edited by CB/TB; Dec. 1, 2009, 10:11 AM. Reason: additional info


        • #5
          There is a plug in water heater made just for the Rubbermaid troughs. It is inserted through the drain plug. Never had a problem in 4 winters. We have to do the extension cord thing too. We have a GFCI extension cord so it's a lot safer than a regular extension cord. We also loop the cord over a plant hanger to keep the connection off the ground.


          • #6
            I use a submersible heater which has a metal cage around it to keep it from touching the plastic.

            You could also just break the ice a few times a day. It's not as elegant of a solution as a tank heater, but it is an option.
            Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


            • #7
              Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
              If you have to lug water, try buying a couple of the 5 gallon gas containers they sell at car parts stores. You can fill those with regular or hot water and screw the caps on and then put them in a wheelbarrow or on a sled if there's snow on the ground and walk them out to the troughs. Much easier than carrying them and much better than buckets because they don't slosh around and the water doesn't cool off before you get to the trough.
              I use the 5 gallon blue kerosene ones with the caps, they are very nice. I do use a sled. I can't use the wheelbarrow, it bothers me too much. I have a spine disease and am not supposed to lug anything. For some reason I can pull hte sled much better. To get to the sled I still have 12 stairs on one side and 15 on the other. And then there is the lugging/sledding of all the frozen water back inside too. I do not like it much but it's the situation I"ve got. Kenny is going to call the Hydrohose ppl right away and see if they can build me something appropriate. Trying to get by, the point will come when I can no longer do it at all and then something different will HAVE to happen. But yes, the big jugs are great. I seem to get two yrs out of a pair of them. The sloshing thing had to come to an end. That is not something I can put up with when it's below zero at all. Right now I am lugging old buckets but will be getting a new set of those good ones this week and I can't wait. I can't fill them completely full as it's too much. I just make more trips.


              • #8
                We have the 100 gallon rubbermaid tub & in the winter I use the "drain plug" deicer. I believe its about $25 @ TSC, I purchased it @ Horse.com for about $15 on clearance. I use an outdoor heavy duty extension chord (I don't remember the rating, an electrician friend helped me out w/the exact length, etc needed). I use a pvc/electric conduit "house" that I put the plug in to protect it from wet/snowy/icy weather. It works great! The most complicated aspect is filling the tub. Since the hose freezes if I leave it out, I keep it in my basement & have to drag it out & return to basement for use. I also use a styrofoam "weather shield" type thing that I keep on my faucet so it doesn't freeze.
                Unicorn Dreams Wholistic Touch
                Proudly owned by: Kopper & Fuego~my super cute bay & chest Arabians , Precocious Leader~aka "Mr. Withers," my dark bay OTTB
                Lightning Bug~ RIP my b/w tobiano TWH.


                • #9
                  I tried the styrofoam cap for my outside faucet and it never worked. Could be that the faucet was always in the shadebecause of the recycling storage bin. We'll see this winter how that works. Try draining the hose thoroughly and laying it flat and see if that might work for you, Unicorn. I'm further north than you and so far, these past few years. I've had good luck just doing that each time I fill the tub. I hang the hose over a tree limb until until it's drained then lay it flat. Sometimes, I just leave it over the tree. Today it was 28f this morning- going up to mid 50=60'! Gotta love the NE!