Interesting facts about horse pooRSS feed

Posted: Sunday 16 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:27pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

As you know, Smokey shares a field with three (or sometimes four) other horses. You may also have read my rant about ragwort and other injurious weeds. Well, I decided I should learn a bit about managing grass for horses. I have, therefore, bought a book called "Managing Grass for Horses" by Elizabeth O'Beirne-Ranelagh. Over the course of the next few weeks, I intend to amaze you with interesting facts.

Today's interesting fact: horses create latrine areas in their field. They will go to these areas to wee and poo. However, horses won't graze near poo (can't blame them for that, can you?) so the latrine areas become full of long grass and weeds. You will have seen this in horse fields - areas of long, rank grass (the ungrazed latrines) interspersed with areas of very short grass, where the horses DO graze. Now, those of you who have horses will already know this, so what's interesting about this? Well, did you know that stallions reverse into the latrine areas to dung, since this marks territory. Mares and gelding face INTO the latrine areas, so make the latrines ever bigger?

Certainly, one of the keys to managing the grass seems to be lifting the dung. Most of us don't have / make time to do it though. Most folk who have horses work full-time - otherwise you can't afford the horse, and if time is restricted and the choice is riding or picking poo, most folk would rather ride. If you have a field of your own or with one or two others, you might be able to get an agreement about clearing the field, but at my last livery, no-one bothered. One or two of us tried but it's thankless (and time-consuming) when you're the only one doing it and you're picking for seven or eight horses.

With this in mind, I was out in the field today picking poo. I have to confess, I haven't done it for some time. And it was clear where the latrines were and also that they were getting wider spread. So I'm working from the outside in to restrict the spread. It's fine just now - there is plenty grass but we'll need the whole field in the winter, unless we have a sacrifice area.

I'm off to bed now to read a bit more... Watch this space for more interesting facts about horse poo.



Friday 5 October, 2007 at 11:59pm

Just as a thought - something I heard that makes it a little easier on you, the field, etc -

If you rotate pastures frequently, and put chickens in right after the horses (or cows, etc), they scratch in the latrines, spread the manure out so that it's not as concentrated, reduce horse pathogen load, and get a good feeding. It's a lot healthier for the pasture and the horses.

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