Thursday, January 21, 2010

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.


jane augenstein said...

Great pictures! The horse Bonnie, looks like she could be Gilly's mother, her markings are so similar to his! Gilly's real mom was a paint Tennessee Walker I was told.

RuckusButt said...

Hee hee hee, that is the cutest goat picture ever!

I think Brumby is a combination of the deep, desert drinker and the wine sipper. He takes a long, deep drink and you can see the water level diminish but he stays and goes back for several smaller sips, savoring it. He guzzles it but appreciates it too. That is one of the first things I noticed about him, that he is such a water lover.

Gillian F said...

In Boston Faune was a dunker; at horse shows everywhere, Faune was a dunker. It made his grooms FURIOUS because of course, it made him and his stalls messier than they would have liked.

When Faune coliced a few years back, after he recovered he went on a water strike, which was very alarming. It turned out he wanted nothing to do with the water buckets in his stall (all 4 of them *roll eyes*). As soon as we replaced those, he resumed drinking out of 2 and dunking out of 2.

I don't think he dunks at your house, though. Seems he's a lot more occupied elsewhere than his stall thankfully, hehe.

Much love,

raphycassens said...

Lofty and Angelo do the tounge thing - it always makes me smile...

SmartAlex said...

My weanling is the only one who has a notable drinking pattern. He's a gulper. It all started when he was weaned. He would run around franticly, then, since he didn't have his mother to nurse and calm him down, he would run to the water bucket and take a sip. Every two minutes until he has run off steam. Four months later he is still doing this. He will do a drive-by of the water bucket, plunge his muzzle in for a gulp and come up spluttering and coughing but he is off again, running off his endless energy. He also bolts his feed, which is why his dish is full of fist sized rocks. But I haven't figured out how to keep him from inhaling the water yet.

Our other horses, no matter how well they have been watered, when we come by with the "special" white bucket to top off their pails, they have to have a drink.

Jill said...

cutest goat and cutest Bear picture!

one of my cobs will drink quite politely, and then spend an age staring into space, sucking on his tongue, making obscene noises. what a charmer!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Fun post Melissa....we think a lot alike. I like to watch my horses drink water or any little unimportant behavior! lol! Glory is a tongue (she's the first one in from the pasture and doesn't let anyone else at the trough or gate so she takes her time), Romeo gulper, Teya just drinks, Derby just drinks, Maduro just drinks and Slick is probably most private.....just because he's afraid the others will move him off of the trough before he's done! There's a protocol to drinking just like every other horse activity around here. I have NEVER seen any of the horse plunge their nostrils under though! Funny!

Jen said...

I love this post! I'm curious about what type of drinkers my guys are when we're not around...I'll have to ask our barn owner. When I catch them, I always bring them to the waterer before taking them out of the pen. Barrett is a drink to get it done kinda guy & Mosco is more of a cross between a wine sipper and a guzzler, complete with the last mouthful being dribbled out of his mouth (preferably on me if I'm not paying attention!). He drinks big gulps, then lets that settle in, ponders surroundings, then big gulps again.
I love hearing about the little quirks of the different horses you care for!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Yay! Another Mina photo! I think horses are messy drinkers...not like us goats! My lady was sitting next to Number's stall and playing with Nigel and Number took a drink, came over, stuck his head over the stall and opened his mouth. The water dribbled all over my lady! tee hee hee. We goats laughed. So did Nigel.

Anonymous said...

I saw Maisie drinking this morning - she's a delicate sipper - her nostrils are all hitched up like skirts!

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

I had no idea that Apollo sipped his water like fine wine. I did often see him drink and hold it in his mouth for a long time when I had him here with me. Interesting...

CyborgSuzy said...

My gelding is all business - but he'll hold the last mouthful and carry it around for up to a minute afterward before opening his mouth and letting it cascade out while smacking his lips. Usually this happens right after he walked up to stand close to one of his humans...