Why is horse poop better than dog poop?

I spend quite a bit of time on the trails and I see a lot of thought provoking things. Some of these things occur naturally while others are man made. While hiking in Colorado I often see signs reminding people to pick up their dog’s poop and the odd thing is that these trails usually also allow horses but there are no similar requirements for horse poop. So after many many hours of mental effort trying to figure out why, this is what I’ve been able to come up with:
  1. Nobody wants to step in dog poop.” This is true but I would argue that stepping in horse poop is much more unpleasant. I spent over 900 miles on trails in 2012 and not once did I have to step out of the way of dog poop but I did once or twice for horse poop.
  2. There is more dog poop than horse poop therefore it’s more of a problem.” I don’t know about this one. Maybe. But it taks an awful lot of dogs pooping before they produce the same mass as a horse and dogs are kind enough to spread theirs out more so if you do step in some the problem will be minor.
  3. Dog poop is somehow worse for the environment.” I don’t know how this could be the case but even if it’s true, is it really better for the environment if your dogs poo is sealed in a plastic bag and carted off to a landfill to sit for a thousand years or so. (I’ve even seen bags of dog poop left on the side of the trail. Now I know what you’re thinking but my car was the only one in the parking lot on an out and back trail so they didn’t pick it up on the way out.)
  4. It isn’t practical for horseback riders to clean up and pack out horse poop.” I would submit that a horse carrying a human could also carry a shovel and a garbage bag with no additional inconvenience and that the real issue is one of horseback riders no wanting to stoop to such a level.
Some closing thoughts:
  • I’m not referring to trails that either do not allow dogs or do not allow horses. In these cases I assume that should the other animal be permitted the same rules would apply.
  • I don’t have a dog or a horse nor have I ever been inconvenienced by the feces of either animal while hiking. I’m just trying to make sense of rules that confuse me.
If you care to stoop to my level and talk about horse and dog poop, I’d love to hear it.

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User Comments

  1. Sara |

    Darlene, out of curiosity, what kind of horses do you have that you don’t have to clean their stalls daily? I could understand that dog poop and horse manure have 2 different smells, but unless your horses are in a run in shed and not in a stall over night , I feel sorry for them if you don’t clean their stalls every day. 🙁

  2. aspie |

    Horse’s eat alot of grass, grass contains alot of Nitrogen. Dogs only eat grass when they are feeling unwell, however dog food contains a high quantity of nitogenated compounds. (Nitrogenated simply means that a Nitrogen based catalyst was used in the formation of a compound.) Since dogs also eat alot of rubish as well as a lot of protean, dog poop does not contain as much Nitrogen as horse poop.
    Horse’s spend a good percentage of their lives wallowing around in fields munching on grass, grass contains alot of Nitrogen because Nitrogen is a key element in plant development. All plants require Nitrogen, that is why plant food, tomato food and varius other plant foods all contain Nitrogen. Horse poop is saturated in Nitrogen this is also the reason why horse poop dosent smell so bad, because we are surounded by Nitrogen from the time we are born the time we die, as Nitrogen is an Elemental gas in our Atmosphere. People use Horse poop to spread on fields, alotments and their gardents to inrich the nutrient levels of the soil before (and sometimes after) planting. Other uses of Horse poop include Energy production, Alcohol Production, Yeist Extraction, Salt production (not table salt), Tar Production, Sulpher Extraction, Potasium Extraction, Hydrogen Extraction, Penicilin Production, Acetic Acid Production (Viniger), Fireworks Production, Leather Production, production of certin plastics, and production of certin E numbers.
    Those are just some of the uses of Horse poop that I can think of off the top of my head, most forms of poop excluding bird and fish poop can be used for Energy Production, the leading fravrioute is Panda Poop as Pandas eat Bamboo all their lives and Bamboo has a high quantity of Hydrogenated compounds in it, so naturaly Panda poop is saturated in Hydrogen.
    Given all then evidence I am convinced Pandas fart alot.

  3. Steve |

    If horse poo is so benign, then why does colorado require that weed free hay be carried into the wilderness areas to prevent noxious weed propagation?

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  5. Caroline |

    Are you kidding me ??? horses eat grass grain and hay ..totally biodegradable. Dogs eat meat so their poo is full of bacteria. Put a pile of horse manure in your garden, it will make your garden grow, toss in a pile of dog poo and it will kill the plants… I can not believe you wrote the above article with no research.
    I would love for you to take a pile of dog poo and a pile of horse manure and leave it outside…months later the dog poo will still be there, not the horse manure.

    • Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and also for elevating my blog post to the status of article. But I must say that Janalina made some very similar points about a month ago which I found compelling.

      We aren’t really trying to write a peer reviewed journal. It’s just a blog about things that we find helpful, entertaining, curious or otherwise interesting. This blog post grew from a simple thought that occurred to me on the trail which was that I have never been inconvenienced by dog poop while hiking but I have been inconvenienced by horse poop. Although admittedly very rarely.

      I have started to wonder though, if dog poo is so harmful, why don’t more places ban dogs outright.

    • christine |

      I know! I’ve seen people on horse back yell at me for not picking up my dogs poop which is to the side of the trail, where no one would step in or even see it, when 5 min later, their horse poops right in the MIDDLE of the trail, and they keep riding along pretending it never hapened.

  6. Janalina |

    Horses manure has been found to be environmentally benign. It poses no health risk to humans, wild animals or the environment as it carries very little harmful bacteria and no dangerous pathogens. Dog feces, by contrast is loaded with harmful pathogens that are dangerous to humans, wild animals and groundwater supplies.

    The number or horses on trails is insignificant compared to the number of dogs. Manure piles may be large, but they are easy to see and therefore avoidable. Dog piles are harder to detect.

    Finally, which would you rather accidentally step in (provided that you could not see the horse manure twenty yards away)?

    • Thanks Janalina, everything you said makes perfect sense.

    • Jules Ellingson |

      I would rather step in dog poo. Cleaning horse poo out of shoe tread is a pain in the ass.

      Most dogs don’t even do their business on the trail and as mentioned, the number of dogs it would take to create this same amount as a horse would be, well A LOT.

      I will have to look into what these pathogens may be. I know you can compost dog poo so I can imagine it’s that bad.

      • Darlene |

        It’s 04/2016, and the same question came up again. First, if asked the question…which would I rather step in, answer would always be horse manure! I had two Dobermans’ for about ten years, and I cleaned up every day,even in the winter. It smelled awful. If you stepped in it barefoot, it would ooze through your toes, if you stepped more in the middle of your foot, it went up both sides. You would literally have to wash your foot with soap and water, or else,when you went into the house, you would stink out the house. Now with my two horses,I don’t have to clean up every day, not even their stalls. It does not smell, it doesn’t really stick to my feet. I could just wipe my feet, or boots on the carpet, and walk right in. For those of you that think I haven’t done my homework, I did. Actually I was looking up other articles on the subject. Thank you Al, very intriguing blog

        • Hunter |

          Why are you walking barefoot through horse manure so much? Is that a country thing?

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