Friday, April 11, 2008

Drink Water

I’m teaching my horses something new, and it’s turned out to be a very handy trick.

It all began when it was cold, and I would carry out a bucket of warm water to mix into the water from my faucet at the barn. Siete would try to drink from the smaller bucket before I could pour it into the big one in the corral or pasture. She loved the warm water and would slurp down the whole thing. At first, it annoyed me to have to go back to the house to get more warm water, but then I realized that it was a great way to be sure that she was getting the water she needed. A horse needs to drink about 8 to 10 gallons of water a day, according to Tufts University's Vet School.

Now that the weather is flipping back and forth from cold to hot, I’m really concerned that the horses keep drinking enough so they won’t colic. These drastic temperature changes really can throw them off, especially Siete. So, I’ve been filling the small water bucket and offering it to her. “Drink water!” I tell my horse, and she does. Her mother was not so eager. So, I started to add the clicker and a treat to the command. Now, I have both horses lined up to drain the bucket.

“Drink water!” I tell Silk when I lock up her stall door every night. She knows what that means, and she goes to her bucket. It’s my new mantra.


M. C. Valada said...

Excellent advice. Arabs don't drink as much water as other horses, but Ace seems to be drinking more as he gets older. Victoria, you've shown that you can lead a horse to water AND make her drink.

Pony Girl said...

Thats great! My gelding always drinks out of the mud puddles in our arena. He even did it once when the top layer was frozen, he broke it with his nose. I don't know if he is trying to get out of work, or what? Don't get me wrong, he also drinks out of his water trough, which is always full of water. I guess I won't complain, at least he's drinking! But the puddles are about to dry up.

Grey Horse Matters said...

That is a great training idea to get them to drink their daily water. We only have one horse (Blue, who else?), that never seems to drink enough, I may try this on him. He is not shy about eating all the treats he can cajole, so this could work for him.

Jen said...

Victoria, you are a genius! I would never have thought of that! :)

Kudos to you on a wonderful blog. I learn something new from you every time I come visit.


the7msn said...

Fabulous use of clicker training, Victoria. I will try this with Hank - he's one of those camels who will NOT drink water outside his own environment for the first 24 hours, even if I take water from home - it makes me a nervous wreck. Thanks for the idea!