But you can find a friend who has it, and stick to her like glue!
With horses, time is not often on your side when you face a delimma--especially something as important as water. So, when we saw Red licking his water, we knew enough to take it serious.
From the window or backyard, I could see these things. 1.) He looked healthy, 2.) He was drinking from a full metal stock tank, 3.) This tank had been sitting in the same place, at the corner of the pasture, for the two months we'd had the horses there.
Now, some background: We'd only lived in this house for six months and when we bought it, it was just a half finished house in a large, empty field. We had to string hot-wire, mow the pastures, run hoses out to stock tanks and put up corrals with panels until our barn and permanent fences were built. We refer to those days as living in shanty town because that's the only way to describe how it looked. Ah, those were the BAD 'ol days!
On closer inspection, there weren't any bees in the water and Red had not been stung on the tongue, as I had guessed. Something else I should add here, because Red is very old, we're always quick to wrongly assume that any issue which comes up is related to him. This bias on our part has made fools out of us. Like the time I looked out in the pasture and saw Red with all four feet up in the air and assumed he was dead. (More on that later) At the time this happened, he was about 26-27 years old.
So, I phoned a friend--that smart, horse friend I'm always talking about. I might be dense, but at least I know who to call! I related the situation to her--Red is licking his water and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with his tongue or throat. That's all I told her.
She thought about it for a second--quietly. I began to doubt calling her. What was she going to say that I couldn't figure out for myself, me being the one that was here?
Finally, the wise one spoke. I've only see a horse do that one time. It was drinking out of an automatic waterer and the waterer had a pulsing short. The horse was taking licks of water in between shocks.
I told my husband and both of our eyes lit up! Could it be? Could that metal stock tank be connecting with one of the hot wires from our fence?
Um, yes. We went out to the pasture and sure enough, the metal tank had been shoved just close enough that a low wire was making contact. Metal and water are conductors of electricity. The electric fence charger is on a pulse so that if you were to accidentally grab it, you'd have a second to get your bearings back and release it before the next shock is delivered. It was, in fact, the case, that Red was taking licks of water in between pulses of shock.
The lesson from this--don't set metal tanks near hot-wire fence. Which leads to yet another mystery and lesson involving water tanks...the case of the disappearing water.
Once upon a time, my husband I had drug a hose to a large stock tank and filled it up to overflowing. The next morning we went out and it was bone dry and the horses were asking for water. Huh? What? Why were they drinking so fast? We filled it up again. The same thing happened. Filled it up again. The same thing happened. This was a big tank, and the water should have lasted the horses for at least 2-3 days, maybe more.
I bet you guys can figure this one out--just another lesson in the annals of what not to do.