Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pet Peeve #874: when horse people attribute negative intention to their and others’ horses

 I have to vent. Today on a horse group discussion someone asked what to do for her horses who are free to come and go between stalls and pasture. They are urinating in the stalls and she doesn’t want them to mess up the shavings.

She said they will actually come in from the pasture when she’s mucking and pee/poop right in front of her.

She feels this is them insulting her.

I could not believe how many people responded saying their horses are “jerks” who do the same thing, their horses are “shits” who are “giving the middle finger” by coming into a stall to pee.

Many recommend not putting any bedding in the stalls so they won’t pee in them. 

I am totally confused. Isn’t a stall a horse’s space to rest, relax, eat, drink, pee, poop, as they see fit? Some horses are closed in stalls many hours a day, some are free to come and go. What is the point of a stall if you’re going to take the bedding out so they won’t use the bathroom, and you lock them out because you don’t want them to be in there messing up the shavings. What are the shavings even for, if not to be rested on, peed on, and pooped on?

We do close our stall doors when horses are turned out, but when they’re “in” I expect there will be pee and poop and that it’s sometimes going to be messy and that some horses are tidier than others just like humans are. They pee in the shavings because it soaks up the urine and doesn’t get all over their legs. Same reason I sit down on the toilet and use the bathroom instead of going outside and peeing behind a bush.

If I’m mucking and any one or more of them comes in and pees or poops, I consider that is them doing me a favor, not them giving me the middle finger. 

Why do people who presumably love horses and keep them insist on attributing negative intention to what seems to me normal behavior?

I do not even begin to understand this mentality. Sigh. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I agree with you. The horses aren't insulting you or giving you the middle finger. It's what they do naturally. Yes, I've seen my horses pee and poop outside when they have to because they are turned out from 6 a.m. to around 7-8 p.m. in the summer. They don't have access to stalls during the day as they are out in the pastures. But each and every one of them takes a pee or a poop when they come in at night first thing after they get the apple snack in their buckets. That's the routine, come in stop at feed bucket for snack and then pee and maybe poop. Then they get fed and checked over and it's a wrap. Some of them make a mess of their stalls...Rosie I'm talking about you, and the rest don't. They are big animals in stalls so what would you expect them to do, stand in one spot and walk on tip toes and not mess up the shavings? They all lay down to sleep at night and eat from their hay nets etc. People are unreasonable and I'd say they are the jerks. The end.

billie said...

Thank you. I needed to read your take on this as a counterweight to all that I endured reading yesterday. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Val follows me around while I muck, and often conveniently positions himself right beside the manure cart - sometimes landing the pile into the cart and saving me the work. Maybe those horse people are just getting what they deserve. And they are missing the whole point of horse ownership if they don't realize what a blessing to the mental health mucking after a horse is...

billie said...

I hadn’t even thought about the aspect of benefits of mucking - though I certainly get those too and feel like it’s a meditation. It does end up feeling like the whole adage of “it’s how you look at a thing that matters.” They’re choosing to view it as adversarial behavior on the part of the horse, and I just do not get why anyone makes that choice when it’s so easy to see it in a positive light. My comment that I viewed it as the horse being helpful was met with a string of comments about how horses are jerks, shits, etc. which is when I said to myself, time to leave this entire conversation. Good grief! Thanks for being part of the other horsewoman tribe. :)))

Anonymous said...


If you aren't willing to clean up after your animals, you don't deserve them. Find them a new home and buy a piece of machinery that needs repair. Your animals will benefit from your decision.

(From someone that cleans up after approximately 60 animals and has never once felt that they were giving me the finger!)



billie said...

Agreed, Marty! Good to see you and the care of your animals is a huge part of why we are honored to have Redford and Rafer Johnson as part of our family. They started in the world with lots of love and care, and it shows.

I sometimes lovingly refer to Keil Bay as a slob. He is on the drop manure everywhere/mix it up end of the spectrum, but he’s a big horse and if he’s moving around inside a stall, even the double one we created for him, it’s not easy to avoid stirring it up. Plus, he’s lived his whole life with people mucking his stalls multiple times a day, so why would he need to worry?

Anyway, the thing is, whenever I see any equine drop manure I feel like it’s a gift. It means the digestive system is working properly and it is an ongoing regular way to know they are healthy and happy. Ditto urine. It means they’re drinking and their kidneys are functioning. I remain totally confused by people who do not want to do the care part of living with horses.

I hope my one line addition to the discussion made a few people shift perspectives.

billie said...

So today the original poster has put photos up of the stall with no bedding and her horse came in and urinated on the bare mat. She thinks he is mocking her!

This is a horse who has lived in a stall in some fashion his entire life. He’s doing what he has always done.

People are suggesting she train him to urinated upon command!

My brain is exploding. What the heck?

Matthew said...


billie said...

Yes, that’s about it.