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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The Metro Nashville Police Horse Mounted Patrol!

I found the Metro Nashville Police Horse Mounted Patrol on FB – and I liked them because the site is horse focused.  They show sweet photos of their horses in their pastures and grooming each other, as well as work shots.  I like that they value the personalities of their horses, not just their job capabilities.

Here is the site.

Click to go to site

In case you don’t do FB, here are some pics!

Skipper and Buck are ready for the weekend!

Orozco and Zeus spent a lot of time grooming each other this morning. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!

Zeus was curious as he watched the MNPD motorcycle officers show off their skills during the annual National Night Out Against Crime event last night.

Boo and Buck spent their Saturday night patrolling in downtown Nashville.

Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!