Stall cleaning is a part of horse life that most of us know intimately. If you’re lucky, you eventually make your peace with it. If you’re not, you could come to loathe it. But fear not, The Working Equestrian’s Kate Severson has some insights to help get your mind right about mucking.
Here are five reasons it’s really not so bad after all.
1. It’s the best way to gauge your horses’ health every day.
No, really! If you’re familiar with your horses’ daily habits, you’ll know very quickly when they’re feeling even the slightest bit off. From how their manure looks normally and if they’re typically neat or messy in their stall, to knowing if they’re a fast eater who cleans up their hay, or tends to take their time, if you’re in there every morning, you’ll be the first to know when something is just not quite right. I have first-hand experience with this. Last winter, I noticed one of the horses was not acting quite normal in his stall that morning, and even though his manure and eating habits were normal, he ended up having a low-grade fever and we caught an upper respiratory infection before it became anything more than a mild runny nose!
2. It’s a great way to get yourself in the zone for the rest of the day.
If stall cleaning is part of your normal morning routine, I find it’s a nice way to get into the groove, so to speak, and start the day off in a good rhythm. I generally don’t clean stalls daily, but when I do it regularly for a prolonged period of time, I find myself looking forward to the quiet time in the morning with just myself and the horses before the day gets busy. It’s usually when I plan how I want my day to go and think about what I want to focus on with each of my rides.
3. If you’re not a morning person, it’s a vital time needed for the caffeine to kick in.
You’ve probably seen those mugs, “If you’re not coffee, I’m not interested in talking to you.” Not going to lie, I’m a bit like that in the morning. I need my caffeine kick and cleaning stalls gives the coffee time to work its magic in the morning. By the time the clients arrive or my boss comes down to the barn, I’m in a much better mood!
4. Trust me, cleaning stalls can actually be fun.
I’m serious! In an industry that doesn’t involve a lot of instant gratification, there’s nothing I find more pleasing than stepping out of a freshly cleaned stall. It’s very satisfying.
5. There’s rarely a better time to give your horse a little bit of loving.
Aside from grooming, spending time in the stall cleaning while your horse is munching hay is a good way to get a little extra time together. I find it’s especially helpful when we get a new horse in the barn that’s maybe a little nervous or unsure around new people. I can just do my thing, cleaning the stall, and after a few days of the routine, the new horse will be more comfortable and start showing a little more personality.
About the Author
Kate Severson is a young professional working at a training and sales barn in Texas. She currently shows some young dressage horses as well as jumper sales horses, and her blog Working Equestrian is her way of providing in-depth insight into what it’s really like to work in the horse industry.