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I board my horse at a stable that doesn't have electric outlets by the stalls for heated water buckets. Is there anything I can do to keep his water buckets from freezing? Thanks for any suggestions as I'm desperate!

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Extension cord can work in some cases, can sometimes be run overhead to be out of the way...other than that, I have seen buckets that have some kind of double side that supposedly doesn't freeze as easily and I saw the other day on some advertisement (can't remember where...horse mag maybe?) a type of insulating cover to wrap your bucket with. Check out horse magazines, they are usually full of advertisements for all kinds of stuff.
I saw the ad you mentioned and called the company. They said you have to start with hot water which this barn does not have that either! Wish I still had my own farm and to make matters worse, it is hard to find a place to board in this part of the state!
I take 2 gallon with me to the barn and pour in bucket.. it thaws the frozen and makes water drinkable..water is still warm by the time I get to barn. Also, could do this with the covers someone is talking about.. and it would not freeze as fast.
One thing you don't want to do is overload a barn that does not have electrical outlets or breakers to handle a number of extention cords... last thing you want is a fire. If only a few horses, I'd think it would be safe.
What about keeping the horses outside as much as possible and sharing a heater for a larger trough that may be closer to a electric source? And as for hot water available for the insulated cover... ever thought about getting a small water heater like they carry to shows and such? You hook it to the hose and it heats the water. For those carrying water to the barn, go to Walmart and buy those large hot/cold insulated bags and 5 gallon gas can and fill it with very hot water. It will still be hot when you get there. There is also the Water Bucket Cozy (google it) that works great at "prolonging" freezing. Had one before we got electricity and it worked great. I would water at night and about 12 hours later, the buckets had a paper thin sheet of ice which the boys could easily break to get to the water. They have them for the larger troughs as well. And, if you get those foot warmer pads that you put in shoes and gloves and place them inside the cozy... we used about 3 of them... they help give some extra heat and the cozy keeps the heat inside. This gave us about 15 hours of free water even at 10 degrees. Just place them inside right up onto the bucket. You can use electrical/duct tape to help them stay put and replace them as needed. I reserved them for the really cold nights. Also, I used to switch the boy's buckets in the stalls to large rubber muck buckets in the winter. The rubber and the larger size prolongs the freezing.

While on the subject of ice, here is a tip. Our water troughs would freeze to the point where you could not get the ice out. My hubby took two broom sticks and wrapped a piece of large auto chain around the middle of each... about the length of almost touching the bottom of the trough. At night while the boys were up inside, the water would freeze around those chains. In the morning, all we had to do was go out there, lift up the broom sticks and the chains brought the ice with them! We laid it to the side and it melted during the day or poured hot water to melt it from the chains. Also... don't let that water melt in the hoses. Disconnect them from the spicket... blow it out and lay it down flat and your hose is always ready! Hydrants are nice too!
Oh and one other thing.... on cold, cold nights if nothing else, close up the barn, get lots of gator aid and give it to your horse in his bucket. A half bucket of the stuff mixed with water will provide needed electrolytes and keep the water from freezing because of the salt. Treat for the horse and the body heat from the horses will also slow down freezing. Too expensive... make your own. I put the recipe below.

1 packet of Flavoraid or Koolaid... pick a flavor they will like
8 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Liters Water, preferably cold

Place all dry ingredients in a bottle and fill with cold water. Stir or shake until all dry ingredients have dissolved.
Drink immediately, or refrigerate for a few days before consuming.
Makes 2 liters (about 8 Cups).

We started this mainly to replace and make them drink even when cold. Salt makes them thirsty!!
Thanks so much for the recipe. I'm definitely going to try it! There is electric in the barn but only lights and one outlet (for clippers). The woman that owns the barn has now agreed to let me hire an electrician and have an outlet put in by Doc's stall for a heated bucket. Hate to put in the expense for a barn that isn't mine but can't buy a farm until we sell the home we have. I'm looking at the cost of electric outlet is better than a colic. Thanks so much for the help.
Do you think you could use the powder electrolytes mixed into the water? Would it freeze? I think you had a great idea.
You have to be careful with those small water heater coils. They will start a fire if not supervised. One of those started a fire at Suffok Downs where I worked back in the 80'S AND THE BARN CAUGHT ON FIRE, in the feed room and we had to save all 40 horses. We turned them loose and shut all the doors.
I use the heated water buckets now, they are great. Make sure when you get your bucket that you get one that will shut itself off when it is empty. Some of them don't have those. The electrical items for water are much safer now than in the old days because they are made better. I have them in our troughs and have used them the past 5 years and never a shock or any other problem. We also unplug the buckets when the boys are not in the barn to be safe.
Thanks for the tip regarding the auto shut off. I did not know about this option. Do you think that Co Op or TSC would carry this?
cheapestest way ive found is to go to lowes and ask for the underlay foam that goes under the floating hardwood floors,comes in a roll,wrap your buckets and bind with duct tape,even with it in the teens mine gererally only freezes a little on the top,we water twice a day and it doesnt take but a few minutes to pop the top layer of ice out an refill the buckets,,,but the bucket with warmers are still the best way to go,if you can get the power to them.just make sure you check the amperage,low voltage causes more barn fires than anything else


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