HANDS ON

EQUUS - - Contents -

• Drink­ing prob­lems? • Weather-re­lated colic • Spot­ting trou­bled hocks • -ain­tain­ing herd har­mony

Watch a herd take turns at the wa­ter trough and you’ll likely see a va­ri­ety of drink­ing styles. One horse may take dainty sips, while an­other fills his mouth and pro­ceeds to spit wa­ter all over the sur­round­ing area. Don’t let those dif­fer­ences con­cern you.

A horse who spits or drib­bles wa­ter may en­joy rins­ing his mouth, even when he isn’t thirsty. A horse who lingers qui­etly over a bucket af­ter drink­ing might be suck­ing his tongue, which is a harm­less sen­sory habit. And a horse who dunks his nos­trils un­der the wa­ter line and blows bub­bles is prob­a­bly just nat­u­rally play­ful.

The only time to worry is when you no­tice a rad­i­cal change in drink­ing habits. If a horse who typ­i­cally dunks his hay sud­denly has a clean bucket of un­tainted wa­ter, for in­stance, it’s pos­si­ble den­tal or mouth pain is keep­ing him from eat­ing. A horse who used to be a neat drinker but now drib­bles every­where may have trou­ble swal­low­ing. If your horse’s drink­ing habits change sud­denly, de­scribe the sit­u­a­tion to your vet­eri­nar­ian. It might be one clue to un­cov­er­ing a larger health is­sue.

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