Horses: Unraveling the Mystery Part 2: They Poop

This is well known. Horses poop, and they poop a lot. They have no shame about pooping, and will poop whenever and wherever they feel like. Sometimes they have little quirks – my appaloosa mare will never poop while being ridden. She’s too much of a lady to do that. My pony poops in neat little piles.

Pony poop pile. He likes his area neat.

Their poop requires maintenance. If it’s not removed, it just builds up, and then you have fields and stalls full of poop. On a near daily basis, depending on if the horses have been in the stalls, I trek down to the barn and clean up their poop.

Their stalls are like their rooms. They walk themselves into their own stalls, and are very comfortable in them. And they each arrange their stuff in ways that suit them. By stuff, I mean their poop.

My appaloosa mare that is such a lady while I ride her, makes up for it by pooping and shuffling all around the stall, spreading her poop around as much as possible.

I imagine she sticks her head out the window and swings her hindquarters around like a pendulum.

My thoroughbred likes to poop in her water bucket, which is by far the grossest thing to deal with. Once she poops in the water, she’s obviously not going to drink it, so frequently it’s a full bucket of water and poop. The prospect of spilling it on myself while carrying it outside to be dumped is terrifying.

Some days they are neater, it just depends how long they’ve been in. Today, I managed a full load to cart away.


It took a while, and the whole time they stared at me through the window. If there was ever a time I felt like the horses’ servant, it was now. They had nothing better to do than stare at me, waiting for me to finish so they could eat their dinners. They are not patient either. The pony likes to give me nasty stares and the two mares take turns grinding their teeth on the side of the barn, just as a reminder that they are still standing there, waiting for their dinners.

Once the load is dumped (I can imagine my husband giggling at the double meaning), I bring in the fresh shavings. And this brings me to what non-horse people don’t understand.

The smell and feeling of a clean barn is so calming. The smell of horses, wood shavings and leather should be bottled and sold. It brings back memories of my very first lesson when I was a child, and horses were an exciting mystery. It brings back memories of being a teenager, giggling and gossiping in the stalls. It’s the feeling of being at a show, everyone dumping their shavings to prepare their horse’s stall, the smell amplified. It’s soothing, peaceful, but makes me think of my original love and wonder of horses. It’s why I love being in the barn.

Not pictured: smell

Additionally, I think people should know horse poop really isn’t that bad. I’m not about to go roll around in it, but once it’s not “fresh”, it’s basically dirt. I usually kick every pile I pass to break them up. Depending on what shoes I’m wearing, I may not kick the fresh ones – the ones that are still steaming and green. Those will stick to your shoe. Keep that in mind next time you wander in a horse field.

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