You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink it………..and don’t I blooming know it!
So after a dressage test, a show jump round and an XC gallop round, plus of course all the warm up beforehand and the few hours it takes to get to the event and back home, you (ie. my horse) are still going with the line:
“I’m not thirsty” ?!?!
Fair enough, I’d believe that statement if it wasn’t for the fact you guzzle down a few litres as soon as you step into your stable or field back home!
Who else has had this conundrum? I’m onto my 3rd fussy drinker now and I feel like I’m a trying to recreate John 2:1-11 NV when Jesus changes water into wine just so my neurotic Thoroughbred will do himself a favour and drink!
At first we wondered if it was a case of him missing his own water bucket… so we ended up lugging around a giant 40 litre PINK tub to events (yes, he is a princess and pink will only do, unless another colour has sparkly bits on it!). Turns out, he’s not fussed but he did discover that if you headbutt the giant tub when it’s full of water, you will get an early bath!
Adding apples into the water seemed a good place to start. It certainly got Mr H interested, but he shortly lost his cool and decided that if the apple wasn’t going to come out of the water, the water and apple could come out of the bucket! Although rather proud of this snippet of rare genius my boy showed, it was quickly subdued as I realised my wellies were in fact the new bucket (minus the apple!).
Next trial was adding feed into the water……. And it worked! But sadly on the wrong horse as the old girl decided to pop her head over the fence and have a good guzzle whilst Genius stood and watched! At least my old girl was happy though.
We’d then been given advice that Ribena (a blackcurrant squash) often worked. At first it seemed like a dead cert for my chap as it made the water pink and we all know how much he likes his pink! Sadly despite the manly colour and the nice smell it was another duff attempt. But on the bright side we had some nice squash at the stables finally!
The bucket of pink, though did seem to create a bit of ambiance between Mr H and his girl. But that only lasted a few seconds before the squealing and general grumpiness between the two resumed.
However, after all our trials and tribulations, a rather obvious result came from the clever people at NAF. Some clever genius decided to put pre-made Electrolytes in a sports bottle! Although it’s never going to give a horse high quantities unless you are willing to stand for a very long time with your arms up in the air (at times, it can feel like there’s a high chance of loosing circulation!); it does give them SOMETHING!!!! Which is a hell of a lot better than we were getting!
It also kills two birds with one stone as we always tend to add electrolytes in water at home, to try and replenish the horses after competition, even the exceptionally sweaty ones like my chap! (although I know sweat is good, I do wish someone will one day create an antiperspirant for horses, it would be a godsend!) “
The only issues with this method is:
A) Mr H knows his head can go much higher than me
B) He knows that his teeth are stronger than the plastic bottles and he will attempt to bite the bottle in half!
C) Bottles full of electrolytes look very similar to a certain brand of sports drink, but certainly aren’t as palatable as those sports drinks as members of your supporters will vouch for! (Seriously guys, use your head. Why would we keep the drinks in the tack locker when we have a fridge a few meters away?!?! Therefore I have no pity for your stupidity. However, I hope OI never do the same!)
Even if we don’t use this product each time, it’s given us the idea of using a sports bottle or even a syringe water into my chap.
So the moral of the story is: you may not be able to lead a horse to water but you can make it blooming hard for them not to drink it!
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