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Stopping horse from pawing waterers

I am boarding this little gelding that developed the habit of pawing the autowaterers with persistence and enough force to damage them. We moved him to a pen with a trough, and had to set the pen up with three troughs to ensure the horses have clean water as he paws the troughs too.

We assume it’s to cool down, but the doofus has TWO ponds to paw in (it won’t stop raining here). When he was in the paddock with the auto-waterer, I tried setting up a plastic trough for him, but he still pawed the waterer. I tried tieing tires to the waterer to make it harder for him to stand close enough to paw with force, but he is a persistent booger.

I am hopeful once winter comes he will lose motivation to paw, but I can’t risk him destroying the waterers. Any ideas?

What kind of waterers? I had one horse who pawed at my Bar Bar A, which is circular and low to the ground. I cut a plastic 55 gallon drum down to a good height then secured it so that it encircled the waterer. He could stick his head in over the top of the barrel to drink but couldn’t stick his feet in it anymore.


Also wondering what kind of waterers. Is he pawing AT the tub/waterer or is he trying to get in them?

My gelding likes to get in the trough and splash around, or he uses his face to create a wave pool. He’s out with one that cribs on the water tub, so my BO built a lid for the trough that basically covers the lip (so no cribbing) and just leaves a bucket sized hole for drinking (so no swimming or wave pool).

If he’s pawing at the actual tub or waterer, I’m no help. Nor do I understand the horsey logic :laughing:

Our water bowls are all placed in corners and have a thick steel bar to section them off. It stops horses from rubbing on them, and makes it difficult for them to get feet at the bowls as well. Would something like this work for you? Even if they were set on a flat wall or fence line instead of a corner, a metal loop might help?

OP, apologies, I have no solution for your waterbaby :smirk:
@Small_Change solution sounds best :+1:

And you never shall.
Same logic is why the sinking de-icer for my 50gal barrel trough has to be run through a Rube Goldbergesque contraption of PVC pipe, cinder block & rocks to weigh things down.
All so my Jr Engineer pony doesn’t pull it out :persevere:


For a classy look you can wrap it in old tires. I see a lot of that around… could maybe do a heavy mat? I had to hang a light weight mat in my old horse’s spot in the trailer b/c he loved to strike the trailer wall when we were stopped too long at a light…

I once had a boarder’s gelding that dumped troughs from pawing/playing all day long. Hundreds and hundreds of gallons. Honestly, it’s infuriating, I don’t understand how anyone thinks it’s cute. I guess if you’re not in Florida, it could be humorous. But when it’s 90F+ for over half the year and the horse is without water for hours, and leaving his pasture-mates without water, because I can’t go fill a 110-gallon water trough every 30 minutes, it’s not cute. Not to mention, wasting that much water anywhere is not ideal.

I ended up building a wood “cage” for the trough with 2x4s, so that there was just a hole in the middle big enough to put his nose in to drink. That worked okay for a little while, but he ultimately ended up being highly destructive in several other ways and I asked his owner to leave.


I had a similar issue (luckily he grew out of that habit). We sunk 4 fence posts around it and that stopped him. The distance between the posts was enough to get their heads through to drink but any pawing ended up with him mostly just smacking the wooden post, which was not as fun and the game was quickly abandoned.

How did you dump and scrub it?

It was an auto waterer, so just the bowl removed to be cleaned

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Ah got it!

I’ve put the trough under the fence( removed the board) so only part is sticking out to drink from and run electric at the second board( in this case) so he could only slide his head carefully to drink.
It also kept said horse from cribbing on the trough.
Good luck!!

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It’s an outside two bowl stock waterer: https://cdn.brantfordhomehardware.ca/products/5218132-0.jpg

The dude paws high at the center cover that is over the float and gets his feet in the water. The waterers are built into the fenceline (shared with the adjacent paddock).

@StormyDay has a good idea, but trying to not do that much extra/permanent work.

Hahahahaha we have the same pony!!! I have a real water baby who has been a swimmer since he was a foal (17 now!) The splashed water, while cute, was driving me insane. We put the 80 gal trough on cinder blocks and voila!! If the trough is higher than the knees they most likely wont get in. In summer i fill another trough for him to splash in on the hottest days because he really does enjoy it lol

Our tank heater cord is encased in pvc and clamped to the trough against a wall he cant reach hahaha

We had heated Nelsons outside. They have a heavy duty stainless steel exterior. A heavy removable ring covers the edge of the bowl. They can bang their muzzle on the bottom, but can’t pull it out. Every once in a while the float for the bowl needed to be adjusted. We knew because if the bowl was empty they would stand there looking at it. They would start kicking if it diddn’t start filling. It never showed any signs of kicking 15+ years after installation. It was mounted on a concrete footing. It sounds like it could survive if fenced off as a few people have suggested.

Yeah I’m FL too and have a trough pawer. I like your solution

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Prop it up on cinder blocks. Makes it harder for them to get a leg in.

We have multiple pawers who can and do tip over the damn troughs even on cinder blocks. Next year I’m going to have to get creative to prevent them from swimming and allowing us to dump the darn things

Double stack? Triple stack?:rofl:

that would work with the trough (although two decoy low troughs worked too), but not with the auto waterer. Fortunately now it is cooler he has been safely put back in a paddock with the auto waterer with no issues.

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