Monday, February 20, 2012

Mucking magic

It's important to keep an eye on the details when you're doing barn chores in exchange for riding time, just like any other job. So here's a tip for mucking that will save some money for whoever buys the stall shavings or pellets.

You can see the rubber mats.

Look how high the shavings are piled up in the corner by the green Jolly Ball!

So beautiful...

Moral: The good stuff is stuck in the corners, people! You don't need to open another bag of pellets!

For me (probably for you too) mucking is like meditation--a kind of large-scale version of this:
Photo from

Mucking was the first real interaction I had with horses as a middle-schooler--I dragged my parents to Day's End Horse Farm Rescue to supervise me while I mucked and groomed. Then it was just about wearing down their patience enough so that they would buy me lessons. But today, I take such satisfaction in being able to fling poo through the air with the greatest of ease--really. I don't have to think about it. The repetitive motion is soothing. I just slide the muck rake through my fingers quickly to extend my reach. There's no part of the stall I can't fling poo from and still make a slam dunk in the wheelbarrow. The other horses are munching away at their hay, and I'm warm and focused in the chilly winter air.

Other moral: Be one with your muck rake.


  1. Aw I volunteered at days end when I was little too. But mostly I worked off my lessons at Willowbend Farm in Upper Marlboro. When I started I was 11 and way too small to be efficient at mucking so I cleaned water buckets! I'm not sure mucking ever reached a zen level for me lol, but if you want more meditation time your welcome to come clean my horse's stall lol

    1. Oh neat! I didn't know you rode too. What type of horse?

  2. Did you really get all that from the corners?! Impressed!

    1. Yup...the stall belongs to a (soon to be former) stallion who paces around in circles all day begging for attention from passers-by and especially the mare across from him. So there's generally a big empty area in the middle of his stall, and a mountain of shavings up on the walls.

  3. I've never mucked out a stall, but I've shoveled snow and dug up my garden. I understand the zen!
    Aunt M.