It's no ones favorite chore but someone has to do it, that's right, stall cleaning. I currently work as a stable hand at Stephens College stables and I spend 4-6 hours of my day cleaning stalls. My job is important because the horses spend a majority of their time in their stall. An improperly cleaned stall can lead to lameness and can prevent bedding from absorbing urine. That is why it is important to know how to properly clean a stall. Some people like to take the horse out of the stall during cleaning, however, it's completely up to you and your horse. Some horses may not like for you to be in their stall with them but most horses don't mind it. If your horse misbehaves while you are mucking his stall, try putting his halter on and just tying him up or moving him out of the stall completely.
The first step is to sift out all the fecal matter with a mucking fork. This step isn't hard because the feces is easy to see. It works best to shovel the manure into a muck bucket or a wheelbarrow and pile clean bedding into a pile. Next, it is important to make sure you scoop all the way down to the mat or ground depending on what is at the bottom of your horses stall. This is how you will be able to find all of the wet spots. Be sure to remove all wet bedding as wet bedding will host infectious and disease bearing bacteria. All that should be left is a pile of clean bedding which can now be spread around the stall floor. It's important to remember to flip the bedding as you spread it back out! Flipping the bedding may seem like an unnecessary waste of time, however, it is actually just as important as every other step. If the bedding isn't flipped, it becomes very packed down and to the horse it feels as though he doesn't have any bedding at all. Doing these three things all around the stall area will leave your horse with a beautiful new living space that he can soil all over again. Don't forget to add more bedding after cleaning! You may not need to add more every day but it is important to make sure your horse has plenty of bedding every day.
This article makes it seem that cleaning a stall isn't so bad (and to be honest, it's really not that bad) but it isn't the most exciting chore. So here are just a few tips on how to make stall cleaning a bit more fun:
* listen to music (it always puts me in a better mood!)
* dance to the music (it always puts everyone else watching in a better mood)
* talk with a friend (talking helps pass the time)
* use it as time to spend talking to your horse
* most importantly just don't think of it as a boring chore; have an optimistic mind set!
Just remember that you might not enjoy having to clean up after your horse but your horse enjoys all the things you do to take care of him. He can't feed himself, clean his own stall, refill his own water bucket or any of the other things you do for him. It's your responsibility to care for your horse; you are his hero!
- Dallis Beckfield
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