Water Bucket Safety

Water buckets seem harmless yet they are famous for catching eyelids and removing them. Ouch! And preventable.
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There are safety measures necessary to keep your horse’s eyelids attached to their face. Water bucket handles rank as one of the highest causes of eyelid lacerations.

A practitioner at a racetrack many years ago was concerned when many young race horses were ripping off eyelids. His investigation led to many improvements to bucket design. Yet as I go from farm to farm, I still see avoidable mistakes. I have photographed many of these mistakes as well as the good practices. The captions of these pictures explain.

Apparently, the horse sees the outer edge of the handle as a suitable object to scratch his eye. The edge catches the lid and in a flash, the lid (usually the upper lid) is left dangling by a small piece.

There are two things you can do to make bucket handles safe – three if you include basic maintenance. First, always place the thumb latches of the double ended snaps facing towards the wall. If you don’t use these snaps, look for safe hangers. Second, tape or cover the exposed handle ends or invest in buckets that cover their handle ends.

Below are pictures I have taken in barns. I have not found recently a bucket with covered ends but when I do, I’ll add it immediately.

Discussion to follow. If you want me to move this up on the schedule, let me know.

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