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watermelon as hydration?

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  • watermelon as hydration?

    In my ongoing quest to keep my horse hydrated at rides, I'm pondering using watermelon.

    He drinks like a champ during training rides, even ones where I trailer him off-farm to local parks. He's fine alone or in a group. But at competitions, he just won't drink. Even at the holds, when he's perfectly calm and eating well, he won't drink. I've tried apple juice and gatorade in the water, and also horse quencher. No such luck. He'll eat his mash, but not if it's too soupy, so he's only getting limited liquid there. At one ride I got desperate and used the syringe, but I'm not sure how much I actually got into him that way.

    However, he absolutely loves watermelon. It has a ton of water in it, so I'm thinking this might work. But I'll have to give him a decent amount... has anyone else tried this? Can you think of any reason why this might be a bad idea? Or do you have any other crazy ideas?
    RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

  • #2
    Hmmm, I'm sure some wouldn't hurt but don't know if you would be able to get enough water out of it to make too much of a difference.

    One more trick you might want to try (only one I've ever tried that works on my nope, I'm not drinkin' ever mare) is to float a couple of handfuls of oats in a bucket- she will spend forever slurping to try and get them
    "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
    So you might as well have a good time"

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    • #3
      What about cutting up the watermelon and putting it in a bucket of water? He'll probably wind up drinking a bunch of water to get to it all.

      Start with an inch or two of water and then go from there.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
        One more trick you might want to try (only one I've ever tried that works on my nope, I'm not drinkin' ever mare) is to float a couple of handfuls of oats in a bucket- she will spend forever slurping to try and get them
        Yeah, that's one of the things in horse quencher. My horse takes one mouthful, realizes he's not going to get the oats without the water, and then stops. Sigh.

        Maybe I'll try the watermelon-in-water at home over the next few weeks, so when he sees it at the hold at my next ride, he'll remember about it.
        RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

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        • #5
          I give my horses lots of watermellow. All rinds that we have eaten and any mellons that are just a little green or little too ripe go to the horses.

          At an endurance race or CTR, I'd give the horse opportunity drink first, Then offer the mellon more as a dessert to top off his water supply.

          Yes a mellon has a lot of water in it. But it's not the same as drinking a 5 gal bucket of water.

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          • #6
            What flavor of horse quencher did you use? My "will not drink away from home" mare loves the peppermint, but will not touch the apple.

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            • #7
              Yes Watermelon

              Water is the best thing.. But any fluids are better than no fluids. At Tevis in 2007, Piper drank well, but from the 50 mile mark on, he ate tons of watermelon. The volunteers were digging through the trash bags to find more for him.

              Here is a thought , that may seem counter intuitive at first. How much electrolytes are you giving the horse pre-ride? I have backed off my previous electrolyte levels. Piper, and my other horse General Lee, get about 1/3 the recommended dose the day before the ride, and about 1/2 in their morning feed the day of the ride. Then I give them about 1/3 the recommended dose at the second vet check, 35 mile mark of a 50.

              Electrolytes in heavy doses can cause diarea, and stomach upset. Sometimes they taste so bad, they make a horse not want to eat..or drink. If the horse drinks when at home and during training, then something in your race/ride day preparation may be the clue to the problem.

              Paul N. Sidio
              Spokane MO

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by psidio View Post
                Here is a thought , that may seem counter intuitive at first. How much electrolytes are you giving the horse pre-ride?
                Now this is an interesting thought. I did a 25-mile CTR last weekend with no electrolytes at all - I was only originally planning to do the 13-mile clinic, but the weather cooperated and my horse felt good, so I ended up doing the whole thing. But I didn't have any electrolytes with me, so he didn't get any. The weather was cool and damp, so I wasn't too worried. And he did actually drink at one water crossing about 20 miles in. That's the first time he's ever done that during a competition, and the first time he's done a competition without any electrolytes. And he passed his vetting with flying colors. Will have to experiment with this.
                RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by pnalley View Post
                  What flavor of horse quencher did you use? My "will not drink away from home" mare loves the peppermint, but will not touch the apple.
                  I have the apple. Will have to try peppermint.
                  RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Although stimulating thirst can be a side effect of giving electrolytes, that is not their main function so it makes little sense to give them before a ride.
                    You give them because you want to replace LOST electrolytes during and after a hard workout, especially when it's hot and humid and the horse is sweating lots.
                    So if you're riding on a cool day and you're taking it easy, there may not be a need for electrolytes at all, even if you do a 25-mile ride. If your horse always has access to a salt and mineral block at home, they will balance it out quickly, or you can always add a scoop to their wet feed that night if you're worried.

                    My advice is to take it easy on the e-lytes because I've seen too many horses losing lots of water due to diarrhea brought on by too heavy a dose before the ride even starts... You need to know your horse well.

                    And yes on the watermelon if your horse likes them but of course a bucket of water is always better. So even though it's hard, try to create a calm atmosphere for your horse around the water trough when in a competition. He may be feeding off your nervous energy or the general tension in the air or may be worried about other horses crowding him at the trough so take your time and hang out there for a bit. I'm sure eventually he'll be drinking just like on training rides.

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                    • #11
                      must be an acquired taste. My horses don't like watermelon. Oh well- more for ME!
                      They will however, drink orange pop and beer, neither of which is very useful on a long ride.
                      "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

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                      • #12
                        OMG! My horse LOVES watermelon rinds! (He has no idea the red middle part exists!)
                        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

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                        • #13
                          we went to a ranch sorting the other day and we were there from 12:30pm to 9pm. I mixed up one dose of the peppermint horse quencher. The "will not drink" horse drank about 1/3 of a bucket. The other horse drank 3 1/2 buckets. I just kept adding water to the bucket (no more HQ). I believe he was sloshing

                          I'm a believer

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                          • #14
                            We use watermelon but with a twist. I will usually drill a small hole in the watermelon and put as much water in as it will hold. Seal the hole with good old fashion duct tape and use that on the trail. I do not compete though nor do I ride more than 5-6 miles.
                            Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                            Originally Posted by alicen:
                            What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by leilatigress View Post
                              We use watermelon but with a twist. I will usually drill a small hole in the watermelon and put as much water in as it will hold. Seal the hole with good old fashion duct tape and use that on the trail. I do not compete though nor do I ride more than 5-6 miles.
                              I'm having trouble picturing this... so you take a whole watermelon, drill a hole in it and then inject it with water? Then when you want to feed it, you cut it into pieces? That sounds like a good idea
                              RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yes and since there is a great chance the moment I try to cut the watermelon it will spill water all over the place I carry a colapsable(sp) bucket to catch the water and if possible cut it up in the bucket. This makes for a comical routine on occasion but there usually is only family with me so not many to entertain. I have had my watermelon leak all over my horse's but before and I have had it end up all over the trail but mostly this routine works without a hitch. You can inject watermelons and virtually any fruit with various substances including alcohol. (Vodka watermelon anyone?) I actually had the thought as I was making vodka melons for a party. For a more portable melon you can do honeydews or cantalopes. One of the ponies at the barn will eat the honeydews rind in all. I don't allow the cantalopes to be eaten with the rind since its a different texture and I worry about choking.
                                Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                Originally Posted by alicen:
                                What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  How in the world do you transport an entire watermelon on a trail ride? I have a hard time managing a water bottle and both reins!

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                                  • #18
                                    I have heard of drilling a hole in a watermelon and filling it with vodka, never water. I guess horses wouldn't like that too much though

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