Winter Poop Patrol
I’m one of those nutty boarders who actually LIKES cleaning manure. Not stalls so much, more paddocks and pasture, which probably suits management just fine since then they don’t have to worry about me taking out too much bedding or putting in too much replacement.
That said, picking manure from the paddocks in the winter isn’t as much fun as in other seasons:
- It’s cold
- It’s dark
- It’s slick
- If there’s snow, it’s difficult to push the wheelbarrow
- You have to carry extra tools to dig out or unstick buried, frozen manure
Fortunately for me, my barn owner excels at problem-solving, so here are her solutions to these five winter paddock cleaning conundrums.
1.She got tired of not being able to feel or use her fingers while shoveling in the snow so tried a pair of the FieldSheer Mobile Warming Blacksmith Workgloves. Sometimes innovative new products like these are a nice idea but poorly executed, however, these gloves are legit!
2. The barn is named “Crack of Dawn Farm” for a reason, which is that she has to be at work super early. And with the short days in winter, neither of us can get there before dark. Therefore, the rechargeable battery-operated headlamp picture above between the gloves is a must-have.
3.I didn’t get a picture of these because I don’t have my pair yet and she keeps hers in the car for safety, but we use the brand STABILicers® winter traction cleats. They make a wide variety of these now, but basically, they’re a traction device that straps on to your boot or shoe.
4.We use the “muck-bucket-in-wheelbarrow” system to clean the paddocks, which works great — until it snows. Wheelbarrows were just not made to travel in snow.
You know what WAS made to travel in snow? A SLED! I don’t know where she came up with this great idea, but my barn owner bought us a sled that fits two muck buckets and all our tools AND pulls with one finger!
5.Normally one of those standard-issue plastic manure forks is all you need to pick paddocks during warm months. However, with freezing temps, uneven ground, and snow cover, winter requires a few more tools. Here’s what we typically carry out with us to the frozen tundra:
I hope this description of “Poop Patrol” in the winter in the North is helpful to others caring for horses in the higher latitudes. If you’ve thought of a clever way to beat Mother Nature during this season, enlighten the rest of us!