From Endurance to Dressage
Technically this post should fall under my newest series of posts, California Barn Life, but it's not actually specific to California. Everyone cleans poop. Or, at least I think they do. Maybe we do it differently here in California. Our ridiculously dry weather (in the central valley anyway) removes any excuses like, it's too muddy to push the wheelbarrow. Or, my favorite one, I can't even find the poop in this mud! Yeah, since we don't have those excuses, it tends to get picked up.
I mentioned yesterday that I was assuming some of the barn chores for a few days. I'll admit it, I have gained a whole new level of respect for RM's daily efforts. Don't get me wrong. I have cleaned a lot of stalls in my time. It's not a very technical job, and most anyone can do it, but even so, RM has jumped quite a few notches up the impress me ladder. She does it every day! And she works full time.
Cleaning ones own stalls is easy, especially when there are only two that someone else cleans in the morning. Have I mentioned that I clean my own stalls each afternoon? I do. I clean whatever has accumulate since the morning clean-up which is usually not much. Well whoop-de-doo! Try doing four horses day after day!
Yep. Here we are on day two of four stalls a day and I am already complaining. Or, whining, which is a much better description. My fingers are sore, my abs hurt, my shoulder is stiff. One more day. How does RM do it every single day? My helmet is off to her.
We have four geldings in our barn, and each of them has a different style of living. I can't decided who makes the biggest mess: Bounder, Bailey, Speedy G, or Sydney.
Bounder, RM's horse, likes to go inside, and he's not very careful about where. And once it's there, he shuffles it around so it's everywhere and then buried, too. Not the easiest stall to clean.
Bailey's distant piles.
Bailey, the other boarded horse, likes to go outside, but he chooses to go as far outside as possible. And he doesn't like the piles to touch. It's like playing connect the dots when cleaning his stall.
In some ways, Speedy's stall is actually the easiest to clean. He goes outside along the fence line, and if you don't get to it quickly, it's pulverized into tiny pieces that can't be picked up. Darn!
What makes Speedy's stall difficult to clean is Speedy himself, and the two pits that he has carved at either end of his run. I refill the pits, but each day he digs them back out making pushing the wheelbarrow a bit like trying to cross the Grand Canyon. Speedy makes the job difficult because he won't get out of the way. He thinks he's helping, but he's not. He grabs the handle of the cart. He stands in the exact spot that you're trying to clean, even if just moments ago you were trying to clean a different spot. And if you inadvertently bump him with the handle of the pitchfork because he's standing on top of you, he acts as though you've aimed at him from some great distance before hurtling a spear at him! Move it, buddy!
Sydney's stall is probably the hardest to clean. He likes to do it all: inside piles scattered and buried in the bedding as well as distant piles left in random order.
Who is your designated poop cleaner? Is it you, or do you have a stall cleaner? Hubby asked if everyone cleans poop. He's trying to figure out why it needs to be done every single day, including Christmas day. I know many people in my area just leave it to dry and allow it to (eventually) find its way back into the sandy soil, but I find that a bit distasteful. And even though I am joking about how hard it is to clean, I actually enjoy the process and know the horses enjoy a poop-free place to sleep at night. So yep, stalls need to be cleaned every single day.
Thankfully, RM feels exactly the same way!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: