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Water Question

Okay, big/small issue.... so big, so simple, that I never saw an
answer... So, here goes.
My boarder asked about the quality of water for horses - in general, I
Here's MY situation..

About five acres of rich, bottomland pasture with a stream running
through the middle.  That's our horses' water supply all the time that
they are pasture-surfing.  Woops - they sometimes have a choice of tap
water in buckets which is hosed in from my cabin in the summer.  They'll
drink that sometimes.

In the spring and sometimes after a hard rain, a "peeper pond" appears. 
They utilize that water source also.

So, these horses usually only get tap (yummy well water) only sometimes
when stall-bound and in their beet pulp mash.

My question is pretty simple (but hard to put into words)... so, par
usual, I'll spew out several questions::

-- When is water safe/not safe for horses' consumption?  Example:  I
don't drink water 	out of this stream - I know it's high in at
LEAST the coloform count (isn't that 	what cows help produce?) and
who knows what else.

--  Can horses' bods tolerate more organic/inorganic material in their
water than we 	can?  You endurance riders sure have lots of
experience on which water 	your horses will "go for" on long

-- Will horses drink "natural" water that will make them sick, or do they
seem to "know" 
	water to avoid?

Something(s) tell me that horses can tolerate a lot more water impurities
than we can, but then I haven't tried drinking out of pasture puddles
lately.  Any brilliant answers out there?  Any answers that everybody but
me has?  Help!!!!

Karen in trout-stream Pennsylvania

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