Category Archives: Horse Stories

SOME HORSES are just very TIDY in their paddocks… and others… not so much. Why is that? Are they taught tidiness?

Right now, I have 10 horses here.  A cross section of horses acquired from several different types of farms… 7 of them are tidy, 1 of them is beyond tidy and 2 of them are very untidy.

What makes a tidy horse?

I have my theories.


My first theory is that Mama teaches the babies.  If you have a tidy Mama, then the babies are tidy.  For example, Mama Tess was VERY tidy.  I don’t know if her dam taught her?… but MT was a show horse for many years – and even through all of those stalls and travels, she was always neat.

Having Tess in the barn for 3 years was never an issue because she did her business is the exact same, very convenient places, every day.

I believe that she taught all of her babies to be tidy.  Both Wrigley and Gwen are MT’s babies and they both make sure to be clean around where they eat.

Here are half siblings, Wrigley (front) and Gwen. Both are MT’s foals. Wrigley is 11 and he is very clean. Gwen is 24 and also very fussy about her pen. The areas around their food is always clean.
–I don’t think they know that they are siblings. Gwen might, but I doubt Wrigley knows, unless Tess or Gwen told him.

My second theory is that some horses like to be clean (like people).   I think if they have the space, theses of type horses would prefer to be tidy.  For example, Finn and BG.

(Now, I may be also proving my first theory here as well…) Finn and BG are full siblings.  They were both raised by the same dam on the same farm.  They had lots of space as babies and I think their Mama taught them well… but I’m not sure because I wasn’t there.  Or, this genetic line has a propensity for clean.  (My Sicilian family would vouch for this trait in their line…)

All I do know is that both Finn and BG are very clean and fussy horses.  They have 2 bathrooms in their pen and you will never see errant issues anywhere.

Finn in the front, BG in the rear. You can see their two potty areas way in the background.

My third theory if they were not raised in a stall or small quarters, they are more discerning.  For example, here we have Annie, Missy Miss and Mo.  All three were wild and had access to ample space.  They have never been in a small space or stalled.  As you can see, their eating area is pristine.

This is Annie. She is pristine.  Her bathroom is around the side of her wall – very clean indeed.

Missy Miss and Mo. You can see their potty place, but it is far away from their food – this angle doesn’t really show the depth. You can see that their eating and drinking row is wide and clean.

My fourth theory is that some horses are OCD – just like some of us.  Here we have Dalton.  He is MR. CLEAN (other than playing in his water all day).  Dalton was born on the range.  Then he was crammed into a paddock, then he was set free again at Sweetbeau Horses.  Now, he is here.  Dalton has one bathroom and he is exacting, as you can see.  This guy has a virtual oasis of clean in his paddock.

Dalton is OCD. His paddock is in perfect order at all times (except for the overturned feeder and him playing in his water all day).

My fifth theory is that if they were raised in small quarters in unkempt environments, they never learn to be tidy.

Case in point, my two little piggies (and pigs are clean so I’m not sure about that phrase…) but my two n’er do cleaning equines are Dodger and Norma.

They poop where they are standing.  That’s it.  Norma is worse than Dodger.  …At least I’ve seen Dodger walk off to do his business.  But not Norma.

OK, so… what do we know about these two…?  Well, Dodger was a failed ‘pony ride’ pony.  He was kept in a small stall and only brought out to go around in circles.  (He hates kids.)  I purchased him at a meat auction for $27.50 (his meat weight).

Norma was raised on a donkey farm in Oregon.  I think her owner loved all the donkeys, but he was way past his prime and could not keep up with the work.  The place was a mess and all the donkeys were holed up in a huge, metal building with sliding doors.  In his defense, I answered his ad in the paper, asking for anyone to help him adopt out his donkeys before he died.  I answered the ad.  He was very sweet, knew all the donkeys by name and was kind and eager for me to adopt one.  I should have gotten two.  But, that was 24 years ago and I didn’t know then what I know now about donkeys.

Anyway, I think these two are messy because that was how they were raised.

Dodger and Norma. Both were raised in cramped and squalid conditions. I adopted Norma when she was 2 – and this about her has never changed. She poops where she is standing. As for Dodger, he was a prisoner of a nasty ‘pony ride’ traveling Fair person. He has scars on his back from the ill fitting saddle. Dodger was kept in very small quarters until I purchased him at a meat auction. That was 24 years ago. He has never been tidy… but then again, he has also lived with Norma that entire time (I got them at the same time), so maybe they feed off of each other’s negligence. But, they’ve had plenty of space for many years – yet they still are not tidy – at all.

Do any of you have theories?!


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YOU WAKE UP ALREADY LATE FOR WORK and BEFORE YOUR COFFEE you go out to feed and and AND THERE IS MAYHEM OUTSIDE! Why do they always create issues when you are late for work?!

OK so, I didn’t get any pictures.   I didn’t have my phone.  In fact, I wasn’t even awake, really.  I was physically upright, but my eyes were at half mast and I was still shuffling along in my jammies WHEN – I walked outside to feed this morning around 5:30 am.

IMMEDIATELY, I knew something was wrong because there were 3 horses in front of me, staring me down (and one was HUGE ) – where there should have only been one tiny mustang.

HOLY CRAP!  What did they do with Dalton?!  I couldn’t see him.  I realized that gigantic Annie, little Missy Miss and devilish Mo were all in Dalton’s pasture, but there was no Dalton.

My eyes scanned the boards for the break in the fence.

Wha?  No break.  All the boards were up.  Huh?

Then my eyes trained on the gates… (heart racing now) WHERE was the break?!!!  Aha!  Dalton’s gate was opened.  Not broken… OPENED. (Eyes darting around now, begging to see an upright Dalton…)

OK, I’ll deal with that later.  First, where is Dalton?!

Heart racing as I stumble run along the fenceline.

I FOUND HIM, upright and fine, in Annie/Missy Miss and Mo’s pen.  They had switched pens.  A, MM and M were in Dalton’s pen and Dalton was in their pen.  The gates to the big field were open in both pens.

My guess is that Mo or Dalton figured out how to open the chain on Dalton’s back gate.  And the switcheroo happened.

Interestingly, Dalton didn’t mix with them.  He just switched.


Alas, I have no pictures…  but my first step was to put hay out for Finn, BG, Wrigley and Gwen so that they would settle down from all of the shenannigans that were going on that they weren’t a part of – but wanted to be.

Then, I put Norma and Dodger into the catch pen in their paddock with some hay.  (They were not happy about that.)

Next, I haltered Dalton and put him in Norma and Dodger’s paddock.

After that, I opened the adjoining gate between Dalton’s paddock and the trio’s own paddock – and put out hay.  They all went back into their own paddock and assumed their regular eating positions.


OK, now I closed that adjoining gate and opened the adjoining gate from Norma and Dodgers paddock into Dalton’s paddock to let Dalton in to eat his hay in his own paddock – which he did.

Silly me, however… I let Dodger and Norma out before I remembered to close the adjoining gate, so Norma, of course, went into Dalton’s paddock.   Luckily, he was eating and paid her no mind.

I ran into that paddock, made sure to shut the gate to the big pasture (that they had opened with their little, nimble lips) and closed it with a sturdy clip.

Then, I got Norma by the flymask and pulled her back into her pen with Dodger.

Phew.  Then I closed that adjoining gate.

Everything back to Defcon 1 again.

And all this before my coffee.

Needless to say, I kinda looked messy when I showed up to work, but I made it on time.

And, when I got back home, everyone was where they were supposed to be.

Thank horsegods for catchpens and good natured horses.

One of these hooligans opened the gate… but neither are telling me.

AUGUST BUCKET FUND for Dorothy and Willie!  Both horses are in severe need of nutrition and medical aid.  Dorothy was eating sand, she was so hungry.  Willie has strep from the horrid feedlot.  You can read their story hereAll donations are 100% tax deductible!  Click here to donate!

This is Dorothy in the killpen in Kansas.

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