Friday, January 25, 2008

Stall Slobs

Is it just my personal experience or are all mares pigs when it comes to how they treat their stalls? I'd be interested in hearing how other people's mares, geldings, and stallions who are kept in stalls manage their urine and manure during the night. Both of my mares hold their bladders all afternoon so that they can release a flood onto their stall floors as soon as we open the doors and let them inside. My husband once dug a hole to China in an effort to get a puddle of urine out of Lostine's stall. The dirt beneath it was red and the air stunk heavily with ammonia, because she always pees in the same spot. Both Lostine and Gabbrielle are in the habit of burying their manure with dirt and shavings, and then kicking it around, stepping in it, and squashing it flat. Cleaning their stalls takes a month of Sundays since the piles are broken up into a hundred little pieces.

My gelding Bombay, on the other hand, uses one corner like a toilet. He leaves all of his piles there and is careful not to step in them. He rarely urinates in his stall, so a $6 bag of wood shavings lasts several weeks instead of just a few days. I can muck his stall in less than two minutes. He seems to have the instinct to stay clean. When I am picking up manure around the paddock, he will actually walk up to the wheelbarrow, back into it so that his tail is hanging over the bucket, and poop right into it. I guess he's being considerate and doesn't want me to have to pick it up off the ground! He's truly an amazing horse. One of these days I'm going to get his toilet-trained antics on film and post it on YouTube.

Please leave a comment and let my know about your horses' bathroom habits. I really want to get down to the bottom of this (pun intended) and find out if this is truly gender-specific animal behavior.


Beckz said...

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Jackie said...

Ha! I grew up spending my summer cleaning stalls for a barn full of at least 35 horses. Thinking back, I'd definitely say the mares were dirtier than the gelding. In general, the geldings would poop and pee in one spot and leave it there. The mares would do it all over and then toss it around to spread the love. There are always exceptions, but I'd say that for the most part, your theory holds true.

My gray mare treats her stall like yours does, only she leaves at least one poop pile intact to use as a pillow. She always has a huge green spot on the same cheek.

Rising Rainbow said...

Well, it doesn't hold true on my farm. I have mares who are very tidy. Not all of them BUT the mares who are tidy teach their foals to be tidy too! I have seen the mares correct their foals for not pooping or peeing in the correct place. Those foals grow up to be tidy horses too.

Stallions tend to be tidy because they are marking their territory but if upset or excited will get messy on occasion, but I have some pretty messy geldings and stallions and mares as well. I think it has more to do with their temperment than their sex.

Rising Rainbow said...

Here I can tell you I have some very tidy mares AND they teach their foals to be tidy. I have actually seen the mares correcting the foals for not poopoing or peeing in the right place.

I also have some very tidy geldings and stallions. They are in to marking their territory. I would say half of my horses are real pigs and the others are really neat but it's split pretty evenly between the sexes.
I would guess it has more to do with a horse's particular personality than sex.

dressagemom said...

My horse is a pig, pig, pig! He pees in one spot but when he poops he walks through it and spreads it all over the stall like your mares. I pick his stall every evening when I'm at the barn and it's a mess even though I know that it was just cleaned that morning. He does do me the courtesy of pooping right after he's ridden or worked so I can grab it quickly before he can bury it.

I did know a mare once who was very neat in her stall. Not only would she poop in the corner, but then she'd try and pee on the poop so that the rest of her stall was pristine.

Echo said...

Yep - mares are filthy - Echo is truly disgusting in her stable. I have never mucked out a dirty stallion - in my experience, stallions are very house-proud and tend to keep their stables very clean. Geldings? I don't know - guess it depends on their personalities!

TCavanaugh said...

I am extremely lucky. My mare is pristine in one certain corner and has taught her foals to do the same.

I now keep everyone in a 30X20 in and out area and she has taught all others to only use the one side of the shed.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I would say it all depends on the personality of the mare or gelding. In general my geldings are very clean and tidy, except for one who is an absolute slob. My mare is also a pig, no one ever wants to do her stall. On the other hand I have had mares that were very clean and tidy. So there you have it, there seems to be no hard and fast rule, it's a personality thing I guess.