One thing that I feel should be mentioned, and I am not sure why no one
else seems to have brought this up, is the potential of transmitted
diseases when non-stable mates drink from the same bucket/trough or
share food. There have been a number of nasty "bugs" spreading (at
least in the northeast), and as a rider, I never know where the other
riders' horses are from or where they've been. I enjoy the ribbons I
bring home, but I do not want my mounts to bring home anything extra
such as a cold, or worse...
I know of more than one ride (including the Old Dominion) where ride
management forbids horses to drink directly from the big stock tanks
used to supply water for the riders (crews dip buckets to get the water
ahead of time).
Kansas City, Mo