Wrap those buckets! It can save you $500 in vet bills.

We all use them, you know, those good heavy duty buckets with the flat backs? Mind you, I don’t think it really matters which kind of buckets you use, they’re all pretty well created equal.

What’s the problem? Well, I’ve never had a problem in 10 years until just recently, and it happened to me no less than twice in a two-week span!

Two of my horses managed to get their eyelid stuck in the tiny little opening where the handle attaches to the bucket. The eyelid slipped in between the little gap while they were eating their grain and of course, when the horse feels anything tugging, he just panics and pulls back in a hurry. The result is a bloody mess and a ripped eyelid.

And it doesn’t matter whether the buckets are supplied with the little rubber stoppers to protect sharp edges and close that little gap either. In my case I had both scenarios. That was a hefty $500 vet bill by the time my boy was all stitched up again.

My boarder’s horse really ended up with a nasty rip. This poor girl is 34.

After my vet stitched her back up, she was ready to heal again. Unfortunately she now always has a “leaky” eye.

So, how can you prevent this from happening? The solution is so simple. All you need to do is wrap up the ends of the handles with electricians tape – good and tight – so there is no opening for the eye to get caught in. With the use of water and oil, you’ll likely have to redo the tape every so often. But at $2 per roll and a little bit of your time, it beats a vet bill in a heart beat!

The culprit. It doesn’t matter whether you have the rubber stopper at the end or not. The eyelid can still get caught.

Just wrap up the ends of the handles with electricians tape – good and tight.

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Reader's Comments

5 Responses to “Wrap those buckets! It can save you $500 in vet bills.”

  • The thought and the photos are making me cringe! I think I’ll be wrapping the buckets at the stable where I board very soon now! One of the horses there likes to rub his butt on his water bucket and ends up getting caught and either gets his tail hair pulled out or sometimes even yanks the entire bucket off the wall getting himself unstuck.

  • What a horrible experience, my heart goes out to the horse and owner. Wrapping handles is a absolute must! I’ve seen and heard about several nostril accidents as well as chunks of tails being ripped out but this is the first eyelid story I’ve run across. It reinforces the importance of this subject. We personally use electrical tape but I will look into the Gorilla Tape that was mentioned, perhaps that would hold a little longer and not need to be replaced as often. Since we show our horses we travel around quite a bit. I’m always surprised to see trainers and assistants hanging buckets at shows that aren’t taped. If your boarding facility does not wrap the bucket handles you should be concerned and start asking some questions. I personally love the opportunity to answer questions and share w/clients my experiences and why I do things a certain way. Wrap your own horses bucket handles if you must – if your barn manager has a problem with it, (in my opinion) you’re in the wrong facility.

  • I can attest to the bucket handle hazard. My 8 year old QH gelding caught his nostril and it too cost $500. It healed great with no visible scar. I did just as you did and used tape to wrap the loop in the handle. Great site. Thanks for all the good information. M.

  • I can feel your passion right through the computer screen! It’s obvious you have a real love for horses and you want all of us to make sound decisions with regard to our horses regardless of how long we’ve been a horse owner. I really admire you. You have truly put yourself out there and I’m very impressed. I agree with you that someone can always offer an alternate perspective, but it’s the way with which they do it that determines the recipients attitude and, possibly, the final outcome. I am not sure how to say this with out appearing pretentious or judgemental…

    There are two facets to writing: One is content. Your content is perfect. You present your ideas in a very knowledgeable, loving, caring way. You have demonstrated through your emails that your interests lie primarily with the well being of the horse and the emotional well being of the owner at the same time. You’ve created a wonderful balance of caring for both owner and horse simultaneously. I admire your courage to post that caustic email from one of your readers. You obviously have inner strength and a strong sense of self that only comes from learning difficult lessons in this difficult world.

    The other facet of being an effective writer/communicator is the way with which we present our ideas and the language we use to deliver the message. Please don’t be offended by what I’m about to say… The English language is a powerful tool and good grammar and proper usage will lend itself well when building credibility with an audience. I learned this from my mother. She always said that “it’s not only what you say, it’s how you deliver it that will determine how your audience receives it.” Your information is so good and I hate to see your hard work go by the wayside and your words fall on deaf ears just because someone can’t get past the grammatical and usage errors. I am not the best speller so I heavily rely on Spell Check. I find that my readers and listeners are more attentive and more open minded. Feel free to drop me an email regarding these ideas.

  • One of our QH’s, George, had similar incident with his water bucket. Sherri came in to the barn one day to find the bucket hanging from George’s nose! The injury healed well, & since that time every bucket on the farm, & the ones I use in the trailer, all have the handles thoroughly wrapped with gorilla tape!

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  • Do you have that nagging feeling that you may be paying too much for board and are worried that your horse may not be happy? Finding the right horse boarding stable doesn't have to be that overwhelming ... When you have the RIGHT information at your finger tips! Pick up a copy of my book How to Find Trouble Free Horse Boarding, Even if You are New to Horses.

    Do you have that nagging feeling that you may be paying too much for board and are worried that your horse may not be happy? Finding the right horse boarding stable doesn't have to be that overwhelming ... When you have the RIGHT information at your finger tips! Pick up a copy of my book How to Find Trouble Free Horse Boarding, Even if You are New to Horses.

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