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Weird behavior w automatic waterer

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  • Weird behavior w automatic waterer

    Help! My horse suddenly stopped drinking out of his auto waterer. He stood next to it and pawed for an hour (!) - offered water from a bucket and drank is down greedily. Had been drinking great prior - been at this barn for 6 months. It's not shorting - horse next door drinks fine (shared between the 2 of them), and we tested it. Could he have gotten a static shock from his blanket or something and is now scared? We out treats on the edge of the watereer and he would get kind of close then yank his nose away.

    It's cold out - even w the heater it can get a layer of ice occasionally, but I've seen him drinking fine out of it even when it has some ice in it.

    Not sure what to do - we can't just leave out buckets for him as they will freeze. Any suggestions very much appreciated...thanks!

  • #2
    I went through this with a couple of mine. You hit my first thought, which was an electrical issue. Could the horse he shares with (or a paddock mate if he has any) have gotten dominant about the waterer and sucker punched him when he was using it? Or, if he's a clipped show horse during the summer and has been let get shaggy for the winter, could his whiskers hitting the edge be bothering him?

    You also hit my answer, which was to treat in/on the bucket, sink some carrots, etc. I've had some luck with that, and with loading the bowl with a favorite flavor (molasses, soda, kool aid, etc.).

    Unfortunately, one of mine wound up with a bucket hung in his paddock because he just wouldn't use the waterer anymore (or at any rate, I couldn't figure out how to fix it). I had them at home, so it wasn't that big of a deal for me, but I know that can get seriously inconvenient.

    Best of luck with it!

    Comment


    • #3
      Electrical issue....this is well documented. There is a ground fault. Easy to figure out. Turn off the power and see if the horse will drink out of the waterer. If he does when the power is off and not when it is on you have the answer.

      You need to have an electrician check this out.
      Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
      Alfred A. Montapert

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that it's likely electrical - even if you tested it, I still feel strongly that there's something electrical going on here.

        But another thought - what's the water like in the trough? Does it need cleaning?
        Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks guys. The water is clean. Barn owner seems convinced that it's not an electrical issue as the other horse drinks just fine. Maybe he just isn't as sensitive as mine? Will see if I can try to power off/on test this weekend...

          Comment


          • #6
            Or do you have another heater you might substitute in to see if that makes a difference? How old is the heater you're currently using?
            Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.

            Comment


            • #7
              Does your horse have shoes and his pasture buddy does not? That might make a difference especially if the fault is in the area around the waterer, not in the waterer.

              We had a short in a buried wire in one section of a paddock - horses would be completely fine and then all of a sudden would bolt if they were in that area. Both had shoes on and must have really been picking up the current. I never felt a thing when I was standing right next to them.

              Electrician, stat!

              Comment


              • #8
                Depending on the kind of waterer, it might be bothering him when it refills. The ones at my barn are Nelson, the kind that are tall stainless-steel cylinders. When the horse drinks from the bowl and gets it down low enough, a little pipe on the side squirts water in again. The horses HATE that, and I can see them anticipating when it's going to fill up again and jerking their muzzles out of the waterer as it starts. They DO drink out of it, but MUCH prefer a tub of water. If you have an alternative source of water they might drink that rather than using the scary waterer. Also, if yours did at any time do something that scared the horse, including giving them an electric shock or squirting water on their noses or whatever, even if it only did it once and doesn't do this any more, they could associate the waterer with whatever noxious stimulus it emitted, and might be reluctant to use it again.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would call an electrician. I will give you and example why. I traded barn work for lessons at one time in the past. The work I did was to put a hot water line into the wash stall of a local trainer. I DID NO ELECTRICAL WORK.

                  There was a powder room on the other side of the wall shared with the wash stall. All I did was to cut into the hot water line in the powder room, run some pipe thru the wall, and plumb up a hot water spigot next to the existing cold spigot.

                  When that happened next was unexpected.... you got electrical "tingles" when you touched the hot water spigot in the wash stall. It turned out that the hot water heater had been improperly installed and was not well grounded. There was never any problem in the powder room as it was dry and sink handles were plastic. However, in the wash rack, the spigot was metal and the floor was wet making a nice path to ground....thru whoever was touching spigot.

                  Trainer got electrician to re-do wiring on hot water heater installation.
                  Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                  Alfred A. Montapert

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I know there are millions of waterers with electricity wired to them that work fine.
                    There are millions of horses drinking out of them fine.

                    We have never had luck with any of several we tried being safe for all horses at all times.

                    There have been horses that just won't drink, some that won't drink at times, some that won't drink in a blue moon.

                    ANY horse that is NOT drinking at ANY time is just not worth it.
                    We quit trying, we have big tubs and break ice.

                    Now, as long as whoever is in charge is very, very careful to see horses are drinking properly, ALL the time, EVERY horse, you can get by most of the time.
                    We don't think it is worth the worry and trouble.

                    Automatic waterers are wonderful, easy to check and keep fairly trouble free.
                    Add electricity and the problems they may have and noticing them quickly, as important as it is for horses to get all the water they need all the time, well, we quit thinking it was worth the stress.
                    Especially here, where we don't have that much problem with ice in the winter in big tanks kept ice free twice a day.

                    Hope you can fix that problem so your horse will again be comfortable drinking out of those waterers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry, ignore my last post - it was read and I translated "automatic waterer" to mean "trough heater." Eek. Ignore me, please!
                      Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        thanks all. Electricity checked out - we think he got a big static charge from his blanket. Moved him to a different stall and he is drinking fine - unblanketed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Glad you got it figured out! Poor baby, I don't blame him for being leary of his water if he got zapped....
                          "You are under arrest for operating your mouth under the influence of
                          ignorance!" Officer Beck

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dmj View Post
                            thanks all. Electricity checked out - we think he got a big static charge from his blanket. Moved him to a different stall and he is drinking fine - unblanketed.
                            Glad that you resolved that problem.
                            Thanks for letting us know what worked.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              ok so bringing this up again - I'm just pretty vexed by it. Can I never blanket him again? Gah.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Spray his blanket with static guard?
                                "You are under arrest for operating your mouth under the influence of
                                ignorance!" Officer Beck

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Turn the waterer off and hang a bucket(s). Problem solved

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Had this situation happen at a stable I managed, where each stall had a heated auto waterer. One horse (who was quite the personality"anyway) stopped drinking from his waterer. All we could guess was that it had shorted or something, shocking him. We *never* could get it to happen to one of us, and even after having the waterer checked and serviced, we eventually moved him to another stall, thinking that *maybe* he would drink from the auto waterer in THAT stall. Nope, no dice. That horse, to my knowledge, has never drunk from an auto waterer since, despite his owner's efforts at re-conditioning him (which involved draining the waterer and attempting to feed him out of it)

                                    Anyway, he's the only horse in a 25-stall barn who drinks from buckets. And this is YEARS later.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      how funny yes, my horse is quite the personality as well...sigh.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Could you rub dryer sheets all over the blanket?? I used to rub dryer sheets on my horse, the hair itself, under the blanket before I took it off, due to static shock.

                                        Also, I know some folks who poured a 2 litre bottle of lemon/lime soda in their big tank. The way I see it, all you need is some Buffalo Trace and you're good to go.
                                        GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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