SmartPak Monday Morning Feed: Potty Training Your Horse

Wait… what? Apparently potty training your horse is a thing.

SmartPak’s blog is full of wonderful stories and helpful tips, not the least of which is this nugget (pun intended) of wisdom on how to potty train a horse from SmartPak veterinarian Dr. Lydia Gray.

There are two simple steps in my barn to teaching your horse where to deposit his road apples: 

1.  Buy new horse 

2. Put new horse in pasture with Waldo, the owner’s 20-year-old warmblood 

This is the new horse. Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

And this is Waldo. Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

3. Voila! New horse is potty trained! 

Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

At our barn, the owner mows a strip just inside the fence perimeter of both pastures and all four horses pass manure ONLY on this strip. It makes cleaning the pasture a breeze because you don’t have to walk the whole field with your muck bucket or wheelbarrow, you just have to go along the fence line where the grass is nice and short.  

The strip before cleaning. Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

The same strip after cleaning! Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

When we do fecal egg per gram counts on our horses, their numbers are always low to zero. This is due in part because THEY do a great job of separating the “rough” (the area where they pass manure) from the ‘lawn” (the area they graze) and WE do a great job of picking the poop on a regular basis. FYI it takes about 48 hours for a strongyle egg to hatch and become infectious after being passed in a pile. 

Lest you think potty training is only for #2, take a look at these sand and wood chip piles in the paddocks for #1: 

Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

Not sure if Waldo is also responsible for the Urination Location, but it’s pretty funny to see a horse grazing far out in the field all of a sudden come walking in to one of these spots, stretch out to pee, maybe grab a drink while he’s in, then head back out for more grass. Come to think of it, it’s also pretty funny to watch them walk over to the fence line, TURN THEIR BUTT TOWARDS THE FENCE, and go.  

Waldo takes his potty training very seriously, as sometimes he puts his hindquarters right up against the fence so that when he makes a deposit, it actually falls on the other side. But, that’s how you get beautiful pastures like these: 

Photo by Dr. Lydia Gray.

It seems you can teach an old (or recently acquired) horse new tricks. Go SmartPak and go riding!