How to Carve a Horse out of a Large Heap of Muck

(which may or may not be roughly horse shaped initially)

First haul your heap of muck from the paddock to the yard.  Tie it up – those heaps of muck like to wander if not restrained.
A well-secured heap of muck.  Attached oak leaves add to the charm.
Next, get your pneumatic drill.  What, you don’t have one?  Ok, get the chisel and lump hammer from your grooming kit.  Don’t have those either?  Fear not.  Get your metal curry comb and use it to shape the muck instead, but it will take a lot longer this way.
Set to work.  I find it helps to work on just one area at a time.  You can set yourself little goals as you go along : “I will have this section of neck fully exposed in ten minutes.”  “I should be able to carve out the tendons on this leg with another five minutes of work.”  It’s fun and there’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you reach each little target.  Honestly.

Front section chipped out

Use the metal curry comb to break up the concrete-like chunks of muck.  If that doesn’t work, try using your fingers first to break the chunks up a bit before tackling them with the metal curry comb.  If THAT doesn’t work, you have no choice but to use scissors to cut the stubborn chunks out (before you ask, yes I did – behind his ears).  After the first pass, go back over each section a few more times to chip away at the stubborn bits, then, to finish it off, use a dandy brush to put a nice nap on the coat.

Finally, it will look like this :

but don’t get excited, you’re only half-way…


and you undoubtedly started on the easy side.

so have a little rest, you will need plenty of energy to tackle this :

Follow the same procedure, even though both of your wrists which you broke in various horse related incidents feel like they’re going to fall apart and your hands have turned into frozen claws, incapable of doing anything but clutching the metal curry comb.

Finally, after about an hour and a half, you will have a beautiful horse standing in front of you.

Now it’s time to ride.  Enjoy.  Alternatively, you can collapse in a soggy heap in the corner.  It’s up to you.

Points to note :

Safety goggles are a good idea, to keep the dust, crap, hay, oak leaves, twigs and bits of stone and grit out of your eyes.

Remember to bring water with you – it’s important to rinse the muck dust from your mouth every so often.  Who knows what’s in it.  Actually, you can probably make a fair guess as to what’s in it from the flavour.  It tastes like digested hay – yum.
Also remember to bring a few tissues.  It’s going to be interesting when you blow your nose.  You can always conserve the output and try growing roses in it.
Remember that your face is now covered in muck-dust and you look like someone from the Black & White Minstrel show, so don’t call into the shop for milk on the way home.
Plan on a shower as soon as you get home, and it’s probably a good idea to brush your teeth too.
Your clothes (yes, all of them) need to go into the washing machine just as soon as possible.  (How on earth did that leaf get in there?)

It’s really helpful if you have a tube of that numbing stuff (Fastum, Volterol etc) for your aching wrists afterwards.

Seriously, can someone remind me why exactly it’s better for the horses to be kept “naturally?”

15 thoughts on “How to Carve a Horse out of a Large Heap of Muck

  1. A lot of the time I just do the "important" bits too, but this time he was so bad I couldn't leave it – and there's no rain forecast anytime soon so he was going to stay that way unless I tackled it.Even if he rolled – actually, there's no IF about it – he won't be so bad now, cos the ground is drier. I hope.


  2. Mine look like this all the time every winter. Clay here too. So I only bother to scrape off the bits where the saddle & bridle go, no point taking the rest off. They like to be brown….. 😉


  3. We have the most awful clay-ey soil here – you know the sort, when you walk through it, it sticks to your boots so you end up with about 5lbs of muck on each foot. It sets like concrete when it's thick enough, which it was on Flurry, and yes there were even stones, twigs and leaves ground in as well for good measure.


  4. I'm seriously thinking "rug" next time there is rain forecast. He manages to grind it into his neck and head pretty well when he's rugged, but that's not so bad, really.


  5. My wrists are still hurting, and it's the day after! It took an hour and a half, but that's including picking out the feet (a non-trivial task in itself) and pulling his mane (I started combing the dags out of his mane, but it was coming out in chunks so I just carried on and pulled it. All nice and tidy now, except his forelock, I love his shaggy forelock)


  6. Holy cow!! That is one muddy horse! I don't think I would have had the patience for that. I would tell Shy she is staying muddy til it rains, haha! De-mudding a horse is no fun task, good for you!!Flurry might be one horse were I would consider a blanket. . .just throw it off and he is ready to ride 🙂 But then again, I imagine Flurry would think of a way to get muddy underneath the blanket.


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