When immersed in the horse community, it’s easy to forget your day-to-day “normal” is different from most. Horse ownership is a lifestyle in itself, and much more than having a pet.
Horses consume you- from the friends you make, the clothing you wear, the time you spend in the barn… and the odor you don’t notice.
But it’s okay, because your horse still loves you, and equestrian friends understand! It’s great to know you’re not alone.
Here are our top 10 disgusting things horse owners do:
1. Tolerating Green Drool
A “quick run” to visit your horse, and two hours later someone notices the giant green streak of goo on the back of your shirt.
Not only are we oddly tolerant of horse drool, but it can also be a positive sign while riding. “Wow, nice and foamy,” say all the equestrians!
There are not many creatures in this world that can get away with leaving giant streaks of slobber on you.
2. Tasting the Horse’s Food
“It smells so good I could eat it!” Famous last words.
Unlike dog food, most horse treats smell delicious. In fact, some of them might even seem more appetizing after reading the wholesome ingredients, such as molasses and ground flax found in Dimples Horse Treats.
See our guide to best horse treats here.
Although not for human consumption – most of us have snuck a taste from the cookie jar. We’ve all had a cheeky big of an apple or carrot intended for our horse.
3. We’re Oblivious to Horses Farting in our Face
Whether you laugh or ignore it, horses passing gas can’t go unnoticed. Farts amplified by 1,000 pounds of weight are not discreet.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal to be braiding or brushing a tail and have a horse “let it pass” directly in our faces. Of course, we don’t mind, given our oblivious nature to the odor.
There are very few animals that can trot by you, displaying grace and beauty, while ripping a big one simultaneously. Horses are magical.
4. Sheath Cleaning
Sheath is probably the first horse would say is the most disgusting thing they do. We’ve seen a non-horsey person’s face when we’ve explained what sheath cleaning is. Priceless!
However, cleaning is important, mares’ teats and vulvas must also be cleaned regularly.
Then there is always that one horse with the awkward length tail when excreting, he/she always seems to “bring back” some tail hair.
Thus, we get to pull hair out of our pets’ butts on a regular basis. We are constantly digging through hooves (and hopefully not thrushy hooves- that is gross).
Cleaning/grooming also consists of removing chestnuts and ergots, wiping nostrils, and tending to minor cuts and scrapes livestock are prone to.
5. Picking up Poop with Bare Hands
You’ve cleaned the stall, replaced pellets or shavings, and everything looks great. You give it a final look and there’s a single apple-sized nugget of poop sitting there.
It’s staring at you, but you have already put away your manure fork and dumped the wagon.
Are you going to fetch your supplies? Nope. “Horses don’t eat meat, their manure isn’t even that bad,” we tell ourselves. You are going to grab that “apple” bare-handed and toss it out of the stall!
Some of us even like to make art out of our horse’s manure… (See the featured image at the top).
6. Drinking The Horse’s Water When Needed
Not all barns are equipped with a fridge full of cooled waters and lovely indoor plumbing.
Even for those that are fortunate enough to be at one of these stables, most of us travel at some point.
Not everyone grew up drinking out of water hoses, but if you didn’t, you will as a horse owner!
This is more than we can say about the barn kids. They are frequently found covered in mud drinking out of the horses’ water tanks.
7. Using the Horses Bedroom as a Last Resort Bathroom
Chances are, you’ve mastered using the restroom in the woods during a trail ride or hidden in a stall at the fairgrounds.
We’re still not sure how horses feel about us using their bedroom as our last-resort bathrooms.
8. Enjoying the Aroma of Manure
Have you ever brought a friend to the barn, and they mentioned the smell of manure? Our automatic response is probably an eye-roll, as we have become immune to the odour.
In fact, to most of us, the smell of horse manure and fresh pine shavings has therapeutic qualities.
We happily track our manure around on our shoes, likely smashing it into any clean carpet we come across.
9. We Forget to Wash our Hands when Making Dinner
Most of us have thoroughly examined fecal matter for proper consistency, or even dug inside to look for worms!
Just remember- wash your hands before fixing your family dinner! The kids won’t appreciate pinworms.
10. Eating Breakfast in the Barn
Horses consume us, which means sometimes putting our own needs last. This means scarfing down meals in a stall or on the way to the barn.
Many of us crunched for time have held a granola bar while simultaneously shoveling manure, leading horses, or trying to sweep a barn aisle.
We consider it a good day if our breakfast doesn’t end up covered in horse hair or flies!
Our Final Thoughts
What’s “normal” for us can be viewed as outright disgusting to the average person. Smelling of manure in the supermarket, picking hooves before preparing lunch, or even just regular grooming activities are enough to raise eyebrows.
What are some of your favorite disgusting habits? Do your equestrian friends do the same?
Be sure to share this article and let everyone know what really happens at the barn!