Summer is ending and winter is around the corner! An automatic waterer can help make your winter chores easier—no more thawing hoses, lugging water, or chipping ice. But before you install that waterer, ask if it will also make your life easier in the other three seasons, when your horses are wearing their Greenguard muzzles!
We have gotten some questions about which waterers are compatible with Greenguard muzzles, and we are thrilled that our customers love their muzzles so much that they are planning a big investment around them. To help you out, here’s an alphabetical list of auto waterers that should work with your Greenguard. You can click here for a quick reference summary table.
Behlen: Behlen makes a line of poly waterers similar to Ritchie or Miraco in appearance. Behlen estimates that each of the AHW80’s twin drinking basins measures 13 inches by 11 inches. The AHW100, designed for extreme cold weather, is of similar dimensions with perhaps slightly smaller drinking areas. The AHW250 is a cattle waterer with a much larger single drinking basin that would certainly accommodate a muzzle. All of these waterers are insulated and available with heat pads.
BT Suntank: Electricity-free BT Suntank waterers use insulation and solar power to keep water from freezing in the winter. The 42-gallon model has a circular drinking hole with a 15-inch diameter, plenty of space for a muzzled horse. The 25-gallon model has a large oval-shaped tank. To keep the water algae-free in summer and unfrozen in winter, BT Suntanks utilize a float that horses depress to access the water. If your muzzled horse isn’t comfortable with this, however, the float can be removed except for winter, when your horse is less likely to need his muzzle.
Cobett SB and LB: With inside diameters of 11.5 inches and 17.5 inches respectively, the Cobett waterers both have plenty of clearance for a horse-sized Greenguard. Another plus is that they don’t require electricity, even in cold climates. One thing to consider is that cleaning the drinking basin requires unscrewing two bolts and lifting out the 18-gallon basin. This is a more elaborate procedure than cleaning a Nelson, for example, and we all know that our muzzled horses tend to leave grass and dirt behind when they drink so regular cleaning is a must!
Equuspring: Look at a picture of the Equuspring pasture waterer and you’ll have no doubt that it will work with your Greenguard. In fact, two or three of your Greenguard-sporting horses could probably fit their noses in there at the same time! The inside diameter of the drinking basin is 34 inches at its narrowest, leaving plenty of room to maneuver. Like the Cobett, the Equuspring has a high-capacity drinking basin (25 gallons) but you can empty it for cleaning by pulling a drain plug. The Equuspring is available with or without insulation or heat. Keep in mind that it is 36 inches tall and 53 inches around at the base, so for miniature equines the manufacturer recommends recessing it in the ground several inches to permit them access.
Hoskins: Hoskins waterers are similar in design to Behlen, Ritchie, and Miraco but are stainless steel rather than poly. There are several models that will work with Greenguard muzzles. The HC 7-26 has a single drinking basin measuring about 9 inches by 10 inches. The HC 14-26 has two drinking basins of that same size, so it can be set in a fence line to water two pastures at once. The HC 17-16 (16 inches tall) and 17-26 (26 inches tall) can also go in a fence line, with two slightly larger basins measuring 9 inches by 13 inches. The SC 32-36 is also double-sided and is designed for large herds, with two basins measuring 11 inches by 16 inches. All are available with heat.
Willie, wearing a Greenguard for the first time, immediately drinks from a Lilspring 2800.
Miraco Lilspring 2800, 2900, 3100, 3200, and 3500: Miraco’s Lilspring line offers several options for the muzzled horse. The 2800 has a single drinking basin measuring 13.5 inches long by 8.5 inches wide. This is a tighter fit than we might ideally recommend, but our clever test horse, Willie (pictured), immediately figured out how to drink from a 2800 during his first two minutes wearing a Greenguard! The 2900 and 3100 are both double-sided drinkers, so you could set them in a fence line and supply two pastures. The 2900 is smaller, with a drinking basin measuring 13.5 inches long by 8.5 inches wide. The 3100’s basin measures 18 inches long by 10.5 inches wide, spacious enough for a horse-sized Greenguard. The 3200 is a trough-style drinker that holds 24 gallons of water and measures 35 inches long by 16.5 inches wide. If you have a large herd, you might even consider the 3500, a very large square-shaped waterer that holds 40 gallons at a time and will be overkill for most equine applications. All of these models can be heated. Like Ritchie waterers, they can be drained for cleaning by pulling a drain plug.
Nelson 760: The larger Nelson model has an inside diameter of 9.5 inches at the widest, leaving just enough room for a horse-sized Greenguard. Adjusting the water level upwards may increase clearance since it gets narrower at the bottom. Nelsons are designed for easy daily cleaning, without the use of any tools. For cold climates, heated models are available.
Remy enjoys a cool drink from a Nelson 760 while sporting his Greenguard muzzle.
Ritchie Omni 3 and Omni 5: Both of these models are double-sided, allowing you to supply two areas at once by placing it in the fenceline. Each drinking basin of the Omni 3 is 16 inches long by 9 inches wide, and the Omni 5’s measure 18 inches long and 11 inches wide. Both models are insulated and can be heated, and cleaning is fairly simple: by pulling a drain plug inside the unit, you can drain the drinking basins into a bucket or onto the ground.
Ritchie trough-style waterers: Ritchie has a number of trough-style waterers designed primarily for cattle, for example the heated and insulated CattleMaster 480. They have plenty of room for a horse-sized Greenguard or two. Draining the tub for cleaning is just a matter of pulling a plug, though with these large troughs daily cleaning would generate a lot of waste and puddles unless you plan ahead with a drainage system, or bring several buckets. Additionally, if you have just a few horses, these large troughs meant to water hundreds of cattle may feel like overkill, and they are priced to match their capacity. Also keep in mind that in cold weather, some unheated units require a minimum head count (number of animals drinking from them) to stay unfrozen. These models’ expansive width and low height (16 to 22 inches, depending on the model) might also encourage your horses to take foot baths.
Varnan: Varnan’s three sizes of pasture waterers (18”, 20”, and 24”) all have wide enough drinking basins to accommodate a horse-sized Greenguard. They have large basins (14 gallons, 20 gallons, and 25 gallons, respectively) with drain plugs in the bottom that allow the water to drain underground. This is handy to avoid mud near the waterer but brace yourself to reach in during cold weather! Varnans are available with heavy insulation to minimize electricity use in cold climates.
The 24” Varnan has plenty of space for a horse-sized Greenguard.
What Doesn’t Work
Behlen Energy-Free Waterers: Behlen’s line of energy-free waterers all have balls which horses must depress with their noses in order to access the water below. The openings in which the balls sit are only 8 inches in diameter, too tight a fit for horse- or pony-sized Greenguards. Some equines wearing muzzles may be reluctant to depress the balls, so we cannot recommend these models even for ponies and miniatures.
Bar Bar A: Unfortunately for those who prefer non-electric waterers, the Bar Bar A has an opening too small for the horse-sized Greenguard (7.5 inches by 8.5 inches). Pony- and small-pony-sized Greenguards do fit, but the waterer contains a paddle that horses depress with their nose to get water. Although in testing we were not able to catch the muzzle on the paddle, due to the risk we cannot recommend this waterer for our muzzled friends.
A horse-sized Greenguard is too large for the Bar Bar A.
Drinking Post: Like the Bar Bar A, the electricity-free Drinking Post is too small for a horse- or pony-sized Greenguard (less than 8 inches in diameter) and has a paddle that could catch muzzles, so we cannot recommend it even for small-pony-size wearers.
Miraco E-Fount and MiraFount: These Miraco models are not recommended because they require horses to depress a ball with their noses in order to access water through openings ranging from 8.75 inches to 10 inches in diameter. Depressing the ball may be difficult for horses wearing muzzles, and Miraco does not recommend them for that application.
Nelson 730: With an inside diameter of only 8 inches at the widest, the standard-sized Nelson is too tight a fit for a horse- or pony-sized Greenguard. A small-pony-size has plenty of room though, if your herd is on the diminutive side.
Ritchie EcoFount: The inside diameter of the EcoFount series’ drinking basins is 9.5 inches, which should be just enough for a horse-sized Greenguard. However, the ridges at the top of the drinking basin have been known to catch halters, so unlike the smooth-sided Nelson 760 we can’t recommend this model.
Ritchie UltraFount, Omni 1, and Omni 2: All of these Ritchie models have plenty of length but not much width (front to back) in the drinking basin. Each drinking basin of the UltraFount, which is available in both single and double basin models, measures 10.5 inches long by 7 5/8 inches wide. The Omni 1’s basin measures 9 inches long by 6 7/8 inches wide, and the Omni 2 is a double-sided model with similar dimensions. The UltraFount should work with the small-pony-sized Greenguard, but none of these models are wide enough to accommodate a horse- or pony-sized Greenguard.
The Bottom Line
Although your Greenguard grazing muzzle isn’t compatible with all automatic waterers, there are many good options to choose from. For quick reference, this table summarizes the information above:
Please be aware that waterer models may change over the years, so double-check the specs before you buy. If you have any information or photos you want to share, we would love to hear from you! Please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.