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Scoutrider 06-10-2009 02:36 PM

Dipping Hay?
My horse seems to enjoy dipping his hay, one mouthful at a time, into his water bucket before he chews and swallows. He grabs a giant mouthful and plunges his whole muzzle + hay into the bucket, throwing water up the walls and onto the floor. He seems content to do this as long as he has hay and water. The behavior itself is not a problem, I just have to refill the bucket and remove the sodden bedding, but what could he be doing? It reminds me of owners soaking hay for horses that cough or have heaves, but our hay is not at all dusty. Am I giving him too much credit, or is he just being a slob?

farmpony84 06-10-2009 02:45 PM

some horses do prefer to dip there hay but in most instances it means it's time to have their teeth floated...

G and K's Mom 06-10-2009 03:04 PM


Originally Posted by farmpony84 (Post 324991)
some horses do prefer to dip there hay but in most instances it means it's time to have their teeth floated...

Yep to the above. I have known life long dippers, but usually it's a mouth issue.

Scoutrider 06-10-2009 03:32 PM

Thank you! I'd never thought of that. The horse has a weepy eye, too, that I've been cleaning with warm water, that my farrier suggested could be a blocked tear duct, so the vet/dentist may be coming out to check that as well. This gelding was a bit of a rescue. He was given to the people we got him from in very poor condition, and after a month the last owners decided they didn't want a horse anymore, and so sold him. He looks like a new horse, now, gaining a lot of weight and muscle, but the teeth are a definite possibility. There was no telling how long it had been since his hooves had been trimmed, the teeth probably need some attention.
Thank you again!

White Foot 06-11-2009 01:32 PM

My older mare has heaves, it's a pain in the but!
As long as he doesn't let it soak for more than 5 mins it's not a problem, I would just keep an eye on his weight and energy level because soaking it can remove nutrients.

farmpony84 06-11-2009 02:35 PM

My older QH has very few teeth left and the ones he has are loose so he dips his hay... keeps my water NASTY!

Scoutrider 06-12-2009 08:00 AM

Scout is fairly young, ballpark of about 7 going by his teeth and my basic knowledge of aging + his rabies tag from a year ago(which, BTW, also had him as a stallion, so who knows exactly. As the stallion goes, Scout is pretty darn quiet to have been gelded in the last year...), so I don't think its missing teeth. I was at a clinic a few years ago, one of the speakers was an equine dentist, the go-to-guy in my area for horsey dental issues. He recommended trying to wiggle the horse's jaw (one hand on the bridge of the horse's nose, the other on his chin, and try to move his lower jaw) to get an idea of the shape of their teeth. If the jaw moves, there probably aren't any major problems. I tried this trick, and Scout's jaws slide easily forward and backward, left and right. I live in the middle of nowhere, and farm calls are expensive for the dentist to come out and say "looks fine, call me back in six months, $50 please." Are there other ways to get a better idea of the shape of his teeth without the tools to hold his mouth open? He isn't dropping feed at all, and he hasn't been gapping his mouth or evading the bit, just a minimal amount of sucking and chewing on the copper snaffle mouthpiece, when I ride. The dipping has even diminished in the last couple of days. My mom had a thought that maybe he just likes the water. He had it rough over at least the year before I bought him, not abused so much as neglected. Could he just be checking to see that there is water available? We have an indoor cat who was a rescue and she has some weird water habits. She spent three days in a locked apartment with no food or water, abandoned by the owner. For years she drank out of the toilet, sat by the bathroom sink and cried to have the faucet turned on, and pawed the water in her dish before drinking. Could Scout be doing something similar? Wow, that got long!Thank you all so much! :D

iridehorses 06-12-2009 08:58 AM

I dip my Oreo cookies in milk and I don't need my teeth floated.

AussieDaisyGirl 06-12-2009 09:32 AM


Originally Posted by iridehorses (Post 326124)
I dip my Oreo cookies in milk and I don't need my teeth floated.

I was just thinking the same. LMAO.

Honestly - I think it may be just a quirk and if he's already slowing down on it, I'd keep an eye on him. Which of course, we know you will!

zurmdahl 06-13-2009 10:08 AM

My mare's dipped her hay since her previous owner got her when she was two. She's seven know and still does it. She's obviously had her teeth floated in that time and has never had a problem. Some horses just like to dip their hay. She even brings it all the way from the back corner of her stall to her bucket. I've never heard of it being related to needing their teeth floated.

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