Why Raking Up Horse Poop is Therapeutic

Why Raking Up Horse Poop is Therapeutic | SLO Horse News

Therapy definition #4: any act, hobby, task, program, etc., that relieves tension.

When the mind is tense so will the body be. Tasks, hobbies and programs that relieve tension are therapeutic to our mental and physical health. Call me crazy, but I’m not; raking up horse poop is therapy for me.

Reasons why the task of raking up horse poop is therapeutic:

Poop Happens and It’s Therapeutic

Why Raking Up Horse Poop is Therapeutic | SLO Horse NewsTaking manure fork in hand and raking up the manure after your horse poops is a big part of life for most equestrians. Horses poop about 50 lbs of manure A DAY, and it’s plopped all day long. While your horse eats, he’ll take a break and walk to the other side of the pen or stall and poop. He’ll poop while you groom him, he’ll poop when you ride him, he’ll poop when he gets into the horse trailer, he’ll poop out on a trail ride, he’ll poop while tied to the trailer, he’ll poop while you are walking him from his stall, he’ll poop at night too. All that poop needs to be mucked, ie. raked up, and deposited elsewhere.

This means that horse riding = poop cleaning; you simply can’t have one without the other. Perhaps the close connection raking horse poop has with the actual joy of riding contributes to its therapeutic effect on me.

Horse Poop is Not Gross, Stinky or Goopy

Okay, okay some of you are making a face right now . . . However, think of most animal poops and, yes, they are gross, stinky and goopy. No one could actually enjoy working with animal poop, could they? Well horse poop is simply a bit different story. It’s basically just balled up hay that is a bit moist with a hay-like smell and is generally not goopy (unless there is a problem). You can pick up a horse apple in your hand (the older and drier the better) and it won’t squish through your fingers; heck my horse friends and I threw horse apples at each other as kids!

Horse manure is easy to work with. It’s lightweight, doesn’t stick to the manure fork, is easily scooped up and deposited elsewhere and really, it doesn’t stink! Sure, it has an odor, but not an unpleasant one  (beauty is in the eye of the beholder?). All good reasons for why raking up horse poop is therapeutic for me.

Raking up Horse Poop is Easy

Why Raking Up Horse Poop is Therapeutic | SLO Horse NewsThe actual task of raking manure into a pile then scooping it and dumping it into a wheelbarrow or depositing it somewhere else is actually not a hard task. The working conditions are quiet and you share the office space with a warm, soft, kind creature who talks occasionally and goes about his business quietly.

You work outside and the actions of raking and lifting tone your core muscles and arms. It’s light, physical exercise and is mentally calming. In addition, the satisfaction of seeing the task accomplished with a clean stall is very therapeutic for me. Knowing my horse benefits from the action brings even more satisfaction.

Grab a Manure Fork to Relive Tension: Raking up Horse Poop is Therapeutic

So, there you have it. Raking up horse poop is therapeutic, and it’s available anytime of the day or night, anytime you are with your horse. It is easy, doesn’t stink, requires you to work outside, works your core and arm muscles and is mentally calming. So, the next time you need a tension release, grab a manure fork and start mucking! You’ll finish relaxed and happy. Now, go take on the world!

Photo Credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos


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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

1 Comment

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    Reply February 27, 2017

    Chris Weigl

    Love your article! It’s so true! I have never minded cleaning up horse manure. It’s therapeutic in a way like gardening because you can just let your mind drift. I don’t love pushing a full wheelbarrow up a steep hill on the way to the pile but at least you can get a good workout. If I had to choose between doing the dishes and cleaning a stall, I would take the stall every time! I know…weird. That’s what happens when you love horses.

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