What can I do to protect my horse from harming himself on his buckets?


Horses are famous/notorious for taking an ordinary, seemingly safe object and turning it into a weapon of mass sore creating, cut making, and hair scraping.  Buckets are no exception.  So, in general, we use buckets all the time, despite their ability to turn our beloved horses into scraped up messes.  Our horses eat, drink and are bathed from them.  Here’s what I love and don’t love about them:





In the LOVE column:


  • Lots of colors, so you can keep color code your barn.  Some colors are so hideous (I mean unique) that you can be sure they will never “walk off” at a show.
  • Lots of sizes.

  • Portable.  I keep some stashed in the trailer for emergencies and road trips.
  • Easy to clean.  I suggest dumping water buckets daily, and scrubbing them at least weekly.  A mild soap, a double sided sponge, and diligent rinsing does the trick.  For grain buckets, scrub as needed, which will probably be more than once a week.  Please no sharing between horses!
  • Some varieties have a flat side, so that hanging against a wall is easy.
  • They can be used for storing your bathing supplies, which is great when you are at a show and you need to tote all of your gear and your horse to the washrack.
  • Also great for toting your ringside goodies at a show: hoof picks, water bottles, last minute necessities.


Keep the snap openings away from your horse.  Somehow, horses can find their nostrils snagged in these snaps.  Of course, right?



Rubber buckets are great in winter - they won't break when you are smashing ice. 


In the NOT LOVE column:


  • Lots of colors, some so bright you could see them from space.
  • Watch for sharp points on the handle.  If the little rubber thingy has come off, make your own with duct tape.  (Use #48539 for duct tape).
  • Can be easily cribbed on.  If this is the case, you will get more sharp edges.  You can prevent this by using a sticky paste repellent (not liquid or spray, as this can flavor the water), or you can get ultra handy and latch a toilet seat to the rim.  It’s very difficult for a horse to grab one of those and crib.
  • Heavy when full.  Find a way to bring the water to the bucket.  I would love water piped directly to the stall with valves outside of the stall, but a hose works, too. 
  • Can easily capture a horse’s hoof if hung too low.  Can also easily capture a horse’s hoof if hung high and the horse in question does a “watch me stand on my hind legs dance.”  Please make sure the bucket can fall if this is the case.  
  • Horses can get their hooves and heads stuck in buckets and handles.  We all know what comes next, a panic attack and a vet call.  In general, I only like horses to have access to buckets when they are secured to a wall.  If you need toys for your horses, I’m sure I can come up with a few ideas!


Muck tubs are great for the farm - but if your horse is in direct contact, remove the handles.  


No handles for muck tubs if it lives in your horse's stall. 

Any other tips for a safe life around horses and buckets?