Behavior of stabled horses provided continuous or intermittent access to drinking water

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD; Douglas A. Freeman, DVM, PhD; Nadia F. Cymbaluk, DVM, MSc; Harold C. Schott II, DVM, PhD; Kenneth Hinchcliff, BVSc, PhD; Beth Kyle, BScA, MSc

Objective-To compare quantitative measures and clinical assessments of behavior as an indication of psychologic well-being of stabled horses provided drinking water continuously or via 1 of 3 intermittent delivery systems.
Animals-
22 Quarter Horse (QH) or QH-crossbred mares and 17 Belgian or Belgian-crossbred mares (study 1) and 24 QH or QH-crossbred mares and 18 Belgian or Belgian-crossbred mares (study 2).
Procedure-Stabled horses were provided water continuously or via 1 of 3 intermittent water delivery systems in 2 study periods during a 2-year period. Continuous 24-hour videotaped samples were used to compare quantitative measures and clinical assessments of behavior among groups provided water by the various water delivery systems.
Results-All horses had clinically normal behavior. Significant differences in well being were not detected among groups provided water by the various delivery systems.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Various continuous and intermittent water delivery systems can provide adequately for the psychologic well-being of stabled horses. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:1451-1456)