What does "cleaning a stall" entail to you? At our farm, we occassionally get people who just want to clean their horse's stall (whether it's a part of owning a horse, stress relief, etc... I think all horse owners are drawn to doing that once in a while). Great, right? Well, it seems there is great variance in what it means to "clean a stall".
I guess here at our farm, we believe there are a few basic elements that are important to understand when cleaning a stall: stall floor
(matted or clay, here at our farm), saw dust/wood shaving bedding
(costs an arm and a leg, we essentially consider it to be horse farmer's gold), manure
, and urine (create the seemingly elusive "wet-spot")
. Occassionally we get the horse that has figured out how to dump their water bucket, but we'll just classify that as urine, too, for "clean-up" sake.
Cleaning of the stall:
All we want left in our stalls is "clean" bedding (this could be 100% fresh or often-times, we are able to "salvage" dry, unsoiled bedding in an otherwise soiled stall <- most efficient and economical) and the clay floor.
This is where we start finding HUGE discrepancies in what it means to "clean a stall". It seems 90% of people who clean stalls (at least in our experience), forget that horses pee. Lots
. What could be worse than stepping in your own poo? Giving yourself a pedicure in your own urine - just think of how caustic that stuff can be! Do you REALLLLY want to leave your horse standing on that
? What usually happens is people will either pick out most of the manure and say "I cleaned the stall!" or, they will completely GUT out all of the bedding EXCEPT
the wet stuff that is kind of stuck to the clay - out goes the good bedding and poop, in stays the urine. See where I'm coming from?
When people clean stalls, we say "Okay, you are doing a good job getting out the manure, don't forget to find the wet spot(s) and get all of that out, too!" The person enthusiastically says "Of course! I've got this!", and they either ignore it (laziness?), or just don't recognize it when they see it.
So, mostly we kind of just stand back, shake our heads and get back in after they leave and fix it. I always laugh about it, but really - what do you all consider to be "cleaning" a stall? Are we too picky (I don't think so because frankly, we are a boarding facility and I know DARNED WELL that if I cleaned the horses stall the way the owner does, I'd, in all likelihood, get questioned about it in some unpleasant manner)?
Assistant master-stall-slinger (my husband being master-stall-slinger)
PS - I always find this amusing, although sometimes it can be annoying (we have had a few instances where we've said "okay, you can work off SOME of your board, here is what we need you to do..." <- those are the situations that make me complain). I think we are too nice to say "Hey, wtf? That sucks, fix it and do it right or you won't get credit anymore!" I think if we actually PAID an employee we'd be more inclined to really come down. We've told people "Hey, you aren't doing it properly, it ends up being more of a hassle to us when you don't do it right: we need you to do it this way..." and then we hop in and "show 'em how it's done". Haha. BUUUUT, then they go back to doing it the "lazy" way.