When it comes to the well-being of your horses, one essential consideration is ensuring they have constant access to clean and fresh water. Automatic horse waterers can be a game-changer in this regard, but choosing the right location and the ideal waterer for your needs is crucial. In this guide, we’ll explore how to select the best location for your waterer and compare two popular options: the Drinking Post and the Nelson Automatic Waterer.
Selecting the Perfect Location for Your Automatic Horse Waterer
Encourage Movement: Traditionally, the horse’s water source has been placed near the food source and resting areas for accessibility purposes. This approach may still be ideal for some older, less mobile horses or horses with physical hindrances, but most would benefit from more of a distance between hay and water sources to encourage movement, especially in colder months. For an expansion on this concept, check out our Pasture Paradise blog post.
Climate Matters: Take your local climate into account. If you live in an area with harsh winters, protect the waterer from high snow accumulations.
Drainage is Essential: A well-drained location is vital to prevent water from pooling around the waterer, which can lead to muddy or soggy conditions that may affect the health of your horses. The Drinking Post works the same as a frost-free hydrant in freezing climates, so it does need to drain any undrank water. If you have a high water table, you will need to use the Nelson waterer. If you are struggling with drainage issues near your water source, consider installing soil stabilizers over the affected area.
Electrical Accessibility: If you’re considering an electrically-heated waterer like the Nelson model, ensure there’s a reliable power supply to be able to run it to the bowl. This will be essential to keep the water from freezing in cold weather.
Safety First: Keep the safety of your horses in mind. Position the waterer away from corners, tight spaces, or areas where horses may congregate in a way that could lead to accidents.
Consider Multiple Locations: Depending on the size of the herd and their social hierarchy, it may be wise to have multiple waterers to avoid competition and ensure all horses have easy access.
Paddock Splitting: To save costs, consider placing the waterer on the fence line (see right photo) so that it can be shared between two paddocks (as long as the waterer is capable to cater to the total number of horses between both paddocks). Sharing one waterer between more than two paddocks is not recommended as this layout creates corners which tend to encourage potentially dangerous social situations.
Comparing the Drinking Post and Nelson Automatic Horse Waterers
Drinking Post Frost-free Automatic Horse Waterer
Push-to-Drink System: The Drinking Post is designed with a unique push-to-drink mechanism. Horses simply press on the paddle to release water, which encourages natural drinking behavior. This is also seen as a benefit as any water the horse drinks is very fresh and hasn’t been sitting in the bowl for what could potentially be hours.
No Electricity Required: It operates without electricity, making it energy-efficient and safe for animals. Keep in mind that a pressurized water line is required which may be powered by electricity, but the Drinking Post itself does not require electricity to function.
Climate Versatility: The Drinking Post works well in all weather climates, from extreme cold to hot and arid regions. Particularly cold climates such as Alberta and Northern Ontario or Québec will require a 10′ Drinking Post. Eastern Ontario and other areas with a similar climate use a 8′ Drinking Post.
Limitation: Please note that the Drinking Post frost-free automatic horse waterer may not be suitable for areas with a high water table, as groundwater can affect its functionality.
Nelson Automatic Horse Waterer
Constant Water Availability: Being a float-type waterer, the Nelson provides a constant supply of water (meaning there is always water in the bowl…any water drank by the horse is immediately replenished), ensuring your horses have access at all times. The downside to this system is that the sitting water can potentially accumulate debris between the time the horses drink from it.
Heated Option: Some Nelson models come with heating elements, making them suitable for cold climates by preventing water from freezing.
Electrical Requirement: It does require electricity to keep the water bowl functional at all times in cold climates.
Durability: Nelson waterers are known for their durability and long-lasting performance. Nelson has been a trusted company in the equine industry since 1949.
In the end, choosing between the Drinking Post and the Nelson automatic horse waterer will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. Consider factors like climate, access to electricity, and the drinking behavior of your horses. Both options have their advantages, so make an informed choice based on what best suits your equine companions and your environment.
By selecting the right location and waterer, you’ll ensure your horses stay well-hydrated and healthy year-round. Contact one of our team members today to help you make the right choice.