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Sipping Wine and Closet Drinkers

To a non horse person it would seem odd that I can find something so mundane as watching horses drink water interesting . . . but I can! Just like people they all have their own little rituals that they observe while eating and drinking.

Some of the horses savor their water like they are sipping fine wine. Chili and Apollo are two that come to mind with this approach. Just as the French think a meal should be eaten slowly and enjoyed, some horses feel the same about their water. Chili likes to go up to the trough, take a small sip, and then stand there and hold the water in his mouth for a bit until he swallows. Then he repeats this approach over and over. It takes him forever to take a drink of water. Apollo also sips the water over and over, and then he will often just stand there in front of the trough, drop his head, and take a nap. I guess wine does have that effect on some of us!

Chili says “why bother with a sparkling clean water trough when you can sip from the puddle in the pasture?” I took this picture today – note that Chili is extra, super muddy! They have a lot of material to work with as we’ve had a lot of rain this week. I am so appreciative of all of the gravel around my gates this week.

I watched both Baby and Harmony demonstrate the “tongue technique” at the water trough this afternoon. They take a nice drink of water, and then hold it in their mouth with their tongue sticking out. Baby even has his tongue out while he is drinking.

Baby standing at the trough with water in his mouth and his tongue slightly out of his mouth

Some of the horses feel that drinking water is a very personal, private activity. They walk up to the trough and look around to make sure no one is watching. Then they lower their head to drink, but before their nose touches water they change course and take another look around, just to be absolutely positive that no one is watching them. Once they are satisfied that no one is watching and their water drinking will be completely private they finally lower their head and drink. Ogie is the first one I think about when I think of the private (or should I say closet?) drinkers.

The next group of horses act like they are being offered a cold drink of water after crossing the desert. They start drinking and they drink, and drink and drink, without ever lifting their heads or stopping to take a breath. You can literally watch the water level in the trough go down as they drink. I watched Sebastian take this approach this morning.

Another approach I see regularly are the dunkers. These horses walk up to the trough and dunk their noses in, often over their nostrils. They sometimes blow bubbles in the water while they are drinking with their noses submerged. Asterik is a dunker.

And of course their are the horses that are all business, there is no ritual involved. Taking a drink is just a necessary part of life for them, no ritual, no planning, no special approach. They just walk up to the trough, take a drink, and walk away. Buffy and Lily are definitely like this, they have more important things to spend their time on than standing around the water cooler wasting time.

So what is your horse? Is he sipping fine wine, a closet drinker, a dunker, parched like he just crossed the desert, or simply all business? Or maybe something else entirely?

Ogie in the front, Winston, Asterik and B-Rad in the back



Cinnamon, Lexi and Sky


Everybody follow along, single file! Levendi and Apollo leading the way.

Leo, Baby and Homer following along. Dustin, Trigger and Ivan are in the background.

MyLight and Lily eat hay while Buffy and Cuff Links graze

Grazing while the sun was setting. Asterik, Faune, Sebastian, Winston and Ogie. B-Rad is partially cut off to the far left.

Mina peeking around the barn door to see if it has stopped raining.

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