We have the Solar Water Trough you discussed in your August issue, and we love it. However, there are a few cautions people should be aware of before they buy.
Our trough (the 42-gallon tank, as opposed to the 25-gallon tank in your article) is quite heavy and difficult to move without special equipment. Our pastures are rolling hills, and the only southern exposure available leaves the tank tipped down somewhat. So, in order to empty it for cleaning/moving, the corner opposite the drain must be jacked up a bit. We use a hand truck to lift it and then shove a cement block under the corner.
I can't believe your comment that you didn't clean yours! Our horses slobber/wash their teeth/blow bubbles in the water, and it gets nasty pretty often. We take the cylinder and disc out and, using a hose-end sprayer, Clorox inside the entire thing weekly, even in winter.
We've found horses with big heads or short noses can't dive down deep, so you might need to top it off often to keep the water level high enough for drinking.
I wish the drinking cylinder could have a bigger diameter, but that might compromise the insulating capacity of the design. We tried putting it on a dolly so we could move it around but the horses pushed it all over the place (having a wonderful time, the brats).
The trough does do its job well, though. We range from -3 to 95?°+ degrees here, and the temperature difference between this water and water in an open tank is astonishing in both summer and winter.
We did have to clean the tank when horses managed to get grass, dirt or other ?debris? into the tank, but we never had to scrub algae or slime out of the tank. Our test horses were between 15 and 16 hands, and they drank right down to the bottom. There are now more horses at the test barn, and we opted to set a second small tank next to the other one, rather than get a large tank, which is considerably heavier, as you state.
Blame For Injuries
I commend Dr. Eleanor Kellon for her August commentary, ?who's To Blame For Injuries'? The same is true of humans. All injuries cannot be avoided, but there are a number of practices that obviously decrease injuries and their severity.
Not to join the helmet bandwagon, but I think the data is incontrovertible in favor of wearing ASTM/SEI properly fitted helmets. There are all kinds of excuses for not wearing one but, having had a closed-head injury with a helmet, none of them hold water compared to the potentially life-changing consequences of a head injury. Obviously all head injuries can't be eliminated by helmets (I'm a prime example), as I'm sure all chest and abdomen injuries can't be eliminated by body protectors. But both are things one can do actively to minimize the severity of any injury. So why wouldn?t you'
Debbie Stanitski, M.D.