A council from Somewhere Doon Sooth recently wrote to a number of livery stables and riding schools, reminding riders of their “duty of care to clean up after your horses.”

What an outcry ensued!

One recipient said that she was unaware that it was her responsibility, saying that “Horse muck usually just disappears when there’s rainfall.”

Really? That gives some insight into her mental process, doesn’t it? She was unaware that it was her responsibility… Whose responsibility did she think it was?

And, of course, horse dung doesn’t “just disappear”. It spreads itself around and goes into the water course. The big pile of poo turns it into something that no motorcyclist wants to find himself slithering sideways through.

Another horsy person asked: “Are we supposed to come home from a ride, then go back out in the car to pick up the mess?”

Eh, yes. You made the mess, why should somebody else clear it up for you?

Remember, this isn’t a little bit of litter we’re talking about. The average horse produces approximately fifty pounds of manure each day. That’s an average of nine tons of manure per year – a pile so big that if you fell into it you might never find your way out again.

A dog leaves only a little package of poo, yet owners are breaking the law if they don’t clear up after the animal. A horse leaves a pile of poo the size of a Volkswagen, and there is no onus on the owner to do anything about it. Odd that.

Another horsy lady said she was “disgruntled” at receiving the letter, and had gone out to examine the contentious dung. (I can just see her now, with a magnifying glass and a stick.) She proclaimed that it definitely wasn’t from her horses.

I wonder if horses leave little name tags in their droppings.

As you may have guessed, it’s not an offence for a horse rider to leave the mess – though it should be. It may not be an offence, but it is certainly offensive. Disabled in wheelchairs, motorcyclists and cyclists, all dodging steaming piles of poo.

It’s also incredibly arrogant, to think that you can just leave a mess and trot off into the distance because somebody else will clean it up for you.

The solution is simple: if you have a horse, then carry a suitably sized plastic bag with you – as dog owners have learned to do… Oh, and a big shovel.

Drew McAdam


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