Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dip and Sip

Dip and Sip (verb) Coined by either Blair or Cheryl in the 1980's. The action by a horse of plunging dry hay into a water bucket before eating, therefore wetting the hay and fouling the bucket.

I've known many a horse to Dip and Sip. The first one was Blair's (and later Cheryl's) horse Llano. I can't remember if he did it a lot, or even all the time, but I do remember that he'd get his mouth all wet by doing the Dip and Sip and then, outside of his mouth covered in little fragments of alfalfa hay, he would stick his tongue out a little bit and flap his lips to make this flapping, sucking, slurping sound. He would only do it occasionally and it amused us all to no end. That's how he got the nickname of Squid Lips, which morphed into Squidly, and finally just "The Squid".

Wow I just laughed out loud writing that. It's so absurd! But fitting, cause this horse had a great sense of humor.

Anyhow, back to the Dip and Sip. From the very first day I got Kaswyn he did the Dip and Sip. And let me tell you he meant business. This horse stuffed his water buckets with hay. If he would eat all that hay then it would not be a problem, but lots of it would fall to the bottom, uneaten, only to make the water nasty and smelly in just a few hours.

I tried everything to break him of this habit -
I put the hay on the other side of the stall. He dragged it over to the bucket, making a huge mess in the stall.
I hung a hay bag. He dragged the hay across the stall to the bucket.
I put up a second bucket, but he dunked in both.
I wet the hay. He dunked it anyway.

So I gave up and just resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to change his buckets in the afternoon if they were gross. Sometimes they were not that bad, but other times I would get to the barn and they would be foul, stinking and stuffed so full of hay that I would dump it out in one solid mass. The barn staff would see me dumping the buckets and they'd say "We just scrubbed those this morning, I swear!" and I'd say "I know, he's a gross little thing isn't he?" I learned to accept that it made my horse happy to dunk his hay, and that it was probably good for his digestion anyway.

So for fourteen years my horse has done the Dip and Sip. About ten days before the tooth problem came to a head, he stopped dipping.

I thought it was a little weird, but then I figured that maybe we were into a batch of hay that was really soft and didn't need dipping. Then he stopped eating the hay at all and I had other issues to deal with. But when he returned to eating hay he didn't want to Dip and Sip. I was concerned. I find it very odd that a horse would change an eating habit that he's had solidly for fourteen years! I forgot to mention it to the vets, but I'm sure they would just think "Yeah, that's another check mark for the CRAZY column for this broad."

But I know my horse. And if he's not doing the Dip and Sip then something is wrong. The past few days he does seem to be dipping a little hay, but not like he used to. I've been watching his buckets carefully, and the gals at the barn agree that his buckets have little or no hay in them.

I never thought I'd say this, but I wish my horse would start dipping his hay again!


Anonymous said...

If it weren't for Kaswyn's good nature I would swear he was the Squid reincarnated!! Llano too would drag his hay any distance to any water source to dip and sip. He not only used his outdoor water (a muck bucket) but also his indoor self-waterer. Talk about a stinky mess. It couldn't be cleaned enough.

Phinale does not dip and sip. He does, however, waste a lot of water as he loves to pick up his outdoor water (a muck bucket) and toss it about, empty or full. I tie it to the fence but he still manages on occasion to get it loose and have a field day.

I personally think the dip and sip is really good for their digestion. That being said, I'm glad Pman doesn't do it!

Katie said...

lol! I have never ever heard of a horse that 'dips and sips'! Thats just halerious!

I hope that Kaswyn starts to 'dip and sip' again! Even if its not the nicest habit in the world.

Jocelyn said...

at ourbarn we call it " dunking", my mare is a dunker. We've also tried the hay on opposite corner and while it helped, she still managed to sneak in a dunk or two.
I hope to hear about gross buckets soon from Kaswyn.
I get those bites too, its totally spiders, arent they gross? ewwwwww.


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