First- thanks for reading past the title- you are fearless. But on the other hand, can someone tell me what is scary about fecal matter in the first place? My farm has leavings from 8 different species and fear of it is an urban luxury we can’t afford.
Second, unbelievably, I am writing this by request. No kidding. (I leave a pause here for head shaking…)
Manure tells a story. Horses don’t have the strongest digestive system. Manure (or the lack of it) is a reflection of a horse’s health, from their teeth to the tail. I spend part of every day paying attention to manure. Again, no kidding.
In the wild, most grazing animals poop and move on, leaving the grass a little greener. Once horses started living with humans everything changed; they live in pens now- eating and pooping in one place. That is where the quandary begins- how do we manage a healthy horse in the most natural way possible, while living in an un-natural (to them) place. Keeping a clean facility is rule one. Mucking is born!
I actually like mucking. It is solid physical work that appeals to my tidy nature. I have lots of company-almost a hindrance of help. And I do my best thinking when I muck.
Once a month the manure is hauled off, along with all of the nasty things growing in it. Afterword, fleetingly, it is almost as if no one poops. Inconceivable! Then the cycle begins again.
This week I took a varied fecal sample to the vet to check the parasite population. They found one measly egg. “Hard to do better than that,” the vet says, “no worming treatment needed.” It’s a big pat on the shoulder that we are doing things right for the horses.
Some barns blindly worm every horse- every two months. Wormer can stress a horse’s immune system. Why give even a small dose of poison, if there is nothing to kill? So, fecal sample anyone? It is an easy, inexpensive way to help your horse without hurting him in the process. Surprisingly easy and the results are good information, one way or the other.