by Mike R. Trumble

It is that time of year for frigid temperatures, short days and unpredictable weather in the Northeast. What this all means is we need to make sure our horses have readily available water. There are many ways this can be done. If you don’t use one of the automatic waterers with the heater built into it you need to buy a heater.

There are many choices of de-icers with different wattages or heating capacities. The different types of the de-icers are sinking, floating and one that fits in the tank’s drain plugs. Once you figure out which de-icer will work the best for you, you will need to set it up. You need a high-quality outdoor electrical cord. Check for breaks, cracks and any burn marks on used electrical cords. Check your outlet. Make sure your outlet is in proper working order. Make sure there are no shorts.

When you are installing your de-icer make sure all the cords are out of the way of hooves and teeth. You do not want them to cut up the cord with their feet nor do you want them chewing on it. Once you plug your de-icer in check often to make sure there are no shorts where the horses could get electrocuted.

On my farm I have tried all three types mentioned above. I find what works best for us is the one that gets put in the drain plug. I like this the best — no wires around the horses and it shuts itself off if temperature goes above freezing and if the water goes below the heater because of the built-in thermostat.

Good luck on your search for the best way to keep water thawed for your horses.