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Spinoff- snow vs water

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  • Spinoff- snow vs water

    I just learned that when horses are turned out this winter, (snow & cold temps) the BO does not put any water in troughs claiming it freezes anyways and they will eat snow.I would really appreciate input on this as I am very uncomfortable with this. I researched on web and found that there is a 10:1 ratio !! I have heated water and lugged it out to the pasture mine was in.
    Am I being paranoid?
    Water buckets in stalls are freezing and holes are being chopped in with hammer. Sometimes dumped & filled but not with regularity. what about colic?Thanks so much

  • #2
    NO you are not being paranoid. Yes, your horse is very much at risk for colic. If it were my horse and the situation did not change immediately, I would move my horse today! Why are you still there?


    • #3
      That is very lazy and cheap of the BO.
      Yes, some horses will eat snow if that is all that is available to survive, but surviving and thrivingare 2 different things. Mine go through a lot of water in the winter, Mustang included.

      BO probably does not want to spend the money on heaters or bother withhauling water, frozen hoses, etc.
      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


      • #4
        They will eat snow if they have to, but they have to eat a LOT to get adequate water intake, and if it's very cold and eating snow makes them chilly, they often won't eat enough.

        Very, very shabby horsekeeping, IMO. I'd be barn-shopping yesterday. What else are they NOT doing and making excuses for?
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          What the other's have said.

          Eating snow not only doesn't provide enough water, but the amount of energy it takes for the horses to "melt" the snow and keep warm just aren't worth it.


          • #6
            This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves, the myth that large animals, horses included, can get their water by eating snow. It just makes me crazy!! Isn't not having enough water one of the biggest causes of colic??? I think so. Dehydration, even chronic low-level, makes it harder for animals to maintain their body temperatures in all temperature extremes, both hot and cold. Horses need more, not less, water in the winter. Think about it. Everything they eat is dry in the winter. In the summer they get some moisture in grass. Even frequent watering due to water freezing without heaters isn't enough for some horses. My gelding simply won't drink as much as he needs to if the water is icy cold. I use a tank heater as they are out with run ins. My 2 horses and 2 ponies drink about 70 gallons every 2 or 3 days. Contrary to popular belief the tank heater does not increase my electric bill in any noticeable way. Even if it did cost, say, $20 a month. Would it be worth risking colic to save $20 bucks a month for 4 or 5 months? I didn't think so. Water is the easiest, cheapest thing we can do to keep our horses healthy and comfortable. Unfortunately, if the BO won't fix the water situation, you do need to find another barn for your horse's welfare. I moved mine because the BO kept unplugging and removing the tank heater from the outside heater and only watered twice a day, morning and night, regardless of how quickly the buckets froze. This same BO was an absolute freak about other colic risks, but not water in the winter. Go figure.
            "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


            • #7
              And, since horses are eating dry feed, their water intake is higher than you would think.

              We've had snow and ice, just a couple inches, certainly not enought to keep 4 horses hydrated. In fact, I put out an extra heated 16 gal bucket because they were drinking one tank down so fast I was afraid it would go empty and the heater would be out of the water. Silly boys would drink down so far then toss the heater out. I have been filling that tank twice a day, that's as much water as they drink in the heat of the summer.

              It was a concern because that was the only tank for two of the horses and the other two had access to two other heated tanks, but they like "this" one better. Its the social gathering spot don't ya know.

              Time to move.


              • #8
                Some people get confused with snow vs water. Some folks will notice that the trough isn't getting drained as much when there's a lot of snow on the ground and assume horses can replace the water with snow.
                Not true for a healthy gut.
                Horses don't feel as thirsty when they're getting a mouthful of snow with every bite of grazing or hay...but they will still go drink a gallon or two here and there to replace the amount of liquid they aren't getting from snow. Takes a whole lot of snow to replace a gallon of water. Horses need those extra smaller drinks of water though.
                That's a boarding pet peeve of mine...when BOs or BMs welsh on water supply. Not breaking up ice in buckets/troughs often enough, not offering water in turnout, etc. While I understand that time equals income in the horse business...it's still free to provide water. Just takes a tad more labor and if people don't want to have more work outside in winter...go get a desk job.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!


                • #9
                  I'm sorry, but that's complete and total crap. A horse couldn't possibly eat enough snow to cover their water intake needs. There's no excuse for not providing water outside. Absolutely none.
                  "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                  • #10
                    I've always made sure that all the horses had
                    fresh water
                    clean buckets
                    as much as they need..

                    Sometimes I was out there 7 times during the day, just making sure they got their water. I had 3 more buckets than I had horses, and didn't have anyone fighting over them.

                    Just like the hay in piles out in the pastures, they had 5 or 6 piles (shaken towers) hay in the sheds, for 3 horses and same in other pasture. Because of the Winter, sure it was more work, but absolutely worth it.

                    Horses all got 2 buckets inside and they got warm water when they came in from the fields, more water at dinner, and more water when I went out 2/3 hours later for night check.

                    Buckets were dumped each time I refilled. My electric bill each month was $38 in the winter. We were on a co-op electric co.

                    Even now up here, my electric bill runs $53 a month. I have a dusk to dawn, two outside motion lights, 5 lights inside barn, and run my studio equipment and sewing machine just about every day.

                    I just deleted my experience with a horse I sold that went to a barn where someone had this attitude with a devastating outcome.

                    Please try to find another place for your horse.


                    • #11
                      Snow is definitely not sufficient for horses. I recently moved my horse from a barn where the BO believed the same thing. He was convinced that the horses could eat the snow and he would always make a point to come to me and talk about how all the vets were wrong and that horses don't drink much in the winter and so don't need water. I ended up having to haul buckets every morning to ensure that my horse had plenty of water. And he still wonders to this day why he had a horse colic and die last winter. Hmm.. I wonder?


                      • #12

                        I know of several wild herds that probably have to rely on snow at some point in the winter. I wouldn't do it to my own horses as it makes their lives very hard and possible puts thier health at risk.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trees4U View Post
                          I just learned that when horses are turned out this winter, (snow & cold temps) the BO does not put any water in troughs claiming it freezes anyways and they will eat snow.I would really appreciate input on this as I am very uncomfortable with this. I researched on web and found that there is a 10:1 ratio !! I have heated water and lugged it out to the pasture mine was in.
                          Am I being paranoid?
                          Water buckets in stalls are freezing and holes are being chopped in with hammer. Sometimes dumped & filled but not with regularity. what about colic?Thanks so much
                          How long are they outside for? I wouldn't worry about water outside if they are out for less than 4-5 hours.
                          Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                          • #14
                            In most states it is actually against the law to have horses where they cannot access water. I understand there is snow, but that is ridiculous.


                            • #15
                              Horses don't even like really cold water........their water intake goes down if the water is near freezing so I don't even fill the barn buckets until it is time for them to come in. I also put electolytes in the barn buckets during either weather extreme: very hot or very cold. The 'lytes encourage them to drink more in the cold.
                              Providence Farm


                              • #16
                                And thus, the big reason I am a water zealot. One cold weather colic is enough. Never again.

                                Tell the BO to provide water or your leaving. Then act accordingly.

                                The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



                                • #17
                                  I have heard of people that didn't offer their horses water and they seemed to do fine but I couldn't do it. I know the wild horses survive but I also think there is a HUGE difference to eating frozen grass in the snow (which they are then taking in moisture with most bites) rather than dry hay. If it was only a few hours I would be o.k. with it but anything more and I would want water for my horses.
                                  Cindy's Warmbloods
                                  www.cindyswarmbloods.com Cindy's Warmbloods
                                  www.facebook.com/CindysWarmbloods Join Us on Facebook for latest updates!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Cindy's Warmbloods View Post
                                    I have heard of people that didn't offer their horses water and they seemed to do fine but I couldn't do it. I know the wild horses survive but I also think there is a HUGE difference to eating frozen grass in the snow (which they are then taking in moisture with most bites) rather than dry hay. If it was only a few hours I would be o.k. with it but anything more and I would want water for my horses.
                                    And with wild horses, it's survival of the fittest. Not something I want to test on my horses.


                                    • #19
                                      Move your horse!!!


                                      • #20
                                        Ok. So I live also in the frozen cold.

                                        If the horses were outside 4-6 hours max, no water outside would not bother me. What bothers me most w/ the care you have described is the care of the buckets in the stall. It would be absolutely unacceptable to punch holes in the ice. The water is too cold and will refreeze too quickly (at least here). I would insist that my horse gets a warm bucket w/ fresh water when brought in and refreshed/hot water added or replaced w/ a new bucket at bed time/check (10 pm). Then they must get a new bucket in the morning at breakfast. Otherwise the horse is probably not getting enough water.

                                        My rule of thumb for my barn: between 0 and 10 - add hot water at 10 pm, below zero - dump buckets and replace. (buckets are hauled to the house for thawing). AND mine go outside to heated water tanks (HUGE difference IMO).