The Goofy Things Horses Do

By Patty Wilber

We collect water off the barn roof for the horses to drink.  Why?  Well, it started as a project to reduce erosion.  When the heavy summer rains gush off the barn, the ground washes away, leaving gullies under the eaves.

We (Jim) put up plastic gutters and collected the run-off in a 50 gallon drum.

The horses drank it up like it was a magic elixir…which, compared to the taste of the well water, it probably is.

Then we got more horses and realized we could also do our environmental bit to reduce the pressure on our well, so we put 570 gallon tanks on each side of the barn and a 600 gallon tank up at the house.

The water starts out clear and in just a few days, hay drops in (from some thirsty mouth), dirt blows in, algae colonizes and in the summer, water bugs appear.  From where?  We live over a mile from the nearest live water!

In short order, we have an entire ecosystem in the tank, mainly blown in on the wind.

When the water level gets low, we clean the tanks.

This weekend, Jim cleaned. Risa was in the pen with him, and the wind was blowing fiercely when Jim tipped the tank up to wash it out. The tipped up tank  twanged and rattled.

Risa was dumbfounded, and when a swirling gust hit,  she thought she might need to leave.  She crouched into a spring-loaded jumping position at the green gate to the north lot.

She was seriously considering her options.

Jim started to yell her name in his best Dad voice, and finally, she turned to look at him.

“OH!” she said. “It’s you!”

The rest of the cleaning time, she quietly ate a bit of brunch.

Jim filled the tank with well water.

Later on, Pepper, who was in the north lot, decided to untie the gate rope and come check out the project.

She dunked her nose in and flung water about. Penny and Risa crowded in to watch.

“Looks really good! ” Pepper said.

She stepped INTO the tank and began to paw.  Water shot over the cinder block wall into the tack room area.

“Get out!” I told her. “You might poke a hole in the bottom!”

She gave me a look.  But then backed out, no damage done!

She rolled in a dusty spot, and the dust clung to her water spots in muddy clumps.


She is shedding extensively so with the added fun of mud on a coat that is coming off in handfuls, brushing her is a real treat!

I have spit out a lot of hair lately, and carry spare hair on every available clothing surface, just in case anyone needs some…

Maybe I should jump in that water tank!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
This entry was posted in The Write Horse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Goofy Things Horses Do

  1. Sharon says:

    Hi Patty – just a water tank tip: get a small net bag of some sort, about the size of a finch-feeder bag, put a rock in the bottom of the bag so it won’t float and fill it with barley straw. Sink it into your tank with a string attached so you can fish it out if you want. Sure cuts down on algae production. Lasts for months. Add a couple of goldfish, if you want. They eat algae, too. See you Sunday!

  2. BlogPatty says:

    Hi Sharon–well ok! That is a new on me! I will have to try it. Thanks!

  3. Richard Hall says:

    I’ll try it too. I have a pond I built for my pig Peggy to swim in and by mid summer it turns to pea soup. If I put fish in it Peggy will probably eat them. Where do I get Barley straw? I know I’ll steal some from Patty.

  4. Patty says:

    I got the barley straw, so Richard you can have a flake or two!

  5. Kathy says:

    Don’t forget the freezing of the tanks in the winter! Then you have the 300 pound giant hockey pucks of ice!

  6. Patty says:

    This winter we usedfish tank bubblers and sinking tank heaters and even in -25 degree weather, no hockey pucks–just a giant electric bill!!

  7. Finally!

Comments are closed.