You might become frustrated when your horse starts dunking his hay in his water bucket. While it could be simply because they like the way it tastes or the mushy mess it makes, hay dunking could also be a sign of discomfort that warrants further investigation. Here are some of the main reasons that can cause a horse to dunk his hay:
- If your horse is suffering from painful dental issues, they might wet their hay to make it easier to chew.
- Your horse might have a sore throat or scratched it on course forage. Adding water might make swallowing his hay more comfortable.
- If your barn or hay is especially dusty, your horse might avoid nasal irritation caused by inhaling dust by dunking his hay in his bucket.
If you’re worried your horse’s hay dunking habit is a serious issue, contact your veterinarian to make sure everything is okay, especially if the behavior started suddenly.
If your horse just prefers to eat wet hay, you can do them a favor by wetting it before feeding it to them. This method can also help contain some of the mess. Sometimes horses have special quirks that we just have to accept and accommodate!