General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Do equestrians have the same obligations that dog owners do to pick up their animals' poop when riding in a public park?

Asked by elbanditoroso (26353points) June 21st, 2014

Where I live, there is a large park that has biking paths, horse trails, running trails, a lake, grassy areas, playgrounds, and so on. There are many signs that say “you must pick up after your dog”, and the county makes available small plastic bags for this purpose.

Horse riders share many of these same trails for various distances. Horses, like dogs, defecate when and where they feel like it – on the trail, off the trail, etc.

However, in my nearby park, it doesn’t seem that horse riders have the same obligation to pick up after their animals that dog-owners do.

1) do they where you live?

2) should they be required to?

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20 Answers

Seek's avatar

I’ve never seen an equestrian shoveling up horse poo. This is a very good question.

downtide's avatar

Because horses are vegetarian, their poop does not contain the same dangerous pathogens found in dog, cat or human faeces. Horse manure, unlike the faeces of a carnivore, naturally biodegrades in a short amount of time.

Scientific study results here

marinelife's avatar

Horses are mostly grass eaters so there poop recycles itself quickly

elbanditoroso's avatar

@downtide – that suggests that the primary reason dog owners are required to clean up is for health reasons.

I have always had the understanding that the underlying reason was aesthetics – keeping the park clean so that walkers and bike riders don’t have to walk and ride through all sorts of shit.

Suppose a dog owner feeds their pet only vegetarian dog food? Is it OK to let the dog shit remain on the path?

Coloma's avatar

No, I would disagree. For one, horse manure is not the same as dog shit as @downtide mentions. Herbevore poo quickly dries out and crumbles away back into an organic compound that enriches the soil.
Carnivore shot stays around forever and smells, bad.
If one was riding on city streets perhaps, but on a trail, well….too bad, deal with it.
I have had horses and ridden many combo trails for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians and have never had this issue present itself. It’s not like the trails are 2 feet deep in horse manure, the occasional pile of poo is just not a bid deal.

Coloma's avatar

Goose poo is mostly grass and grains too…best walking fertilizers ever. I had the greenest lawn in the world, just water that poo into the grass and, well…how green were my pastures. haha

jca's avatar

I think LuckyGuy discussed something like this on here this past winter.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’m sure it has nothing to do with the health benefits of dog shit vs. horse shit.

More likely it has to do with local law makers not receiving nearly as many complaints about horse shit as about dog shit.

jca's avatar

Good question. Maybe because horses generally poo on trails and it’s large so it’s obvious; Or they poo in streets if they walk on streets. Dogs poo in yards, on lawns, in parks, playgrounds, anywhere.

I remember when my daughter was about two, I went upstate with her and a friend. We were in a playground and as we were walking back to the car, her foot came about two inches from stepping in a big pile of fresh dog shit. She had sandals on. Imagine what a disaster that would have been for us. It made me mad that the dog owner left it there, or let the dog run loose so the owner was not aware of what the dog dig. Horses probably would not be wakling in playgrounds so that wouldn’t be an issue if it were a horse.

longgone's avatar

I can see how that would be annoying – but I also think picking up after one’s dog is very different from what you are suggesting….

First off, manure is much less of a nuisance. It hardly smells, melts into the soil very quickly, and is rarely found on city sidewalks and playgrounds.

Secondly, it would be a huge pain for horse riders to remove their animal’s droppings. There’s the obvious annoyance of getting off; a small baggie won’t do, and I imagine equestrians might even need a shovel to do the job properly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well my horse shat at Sonic once. I felt bad so we ran

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III It’s more embarrassing when they squat and pee about 3 gallons. They can poop on the hoof but peeing is at a dead standstill.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I was in Hot Springs Arkansas last year and I remember seeing those horse and buggy tourist rides. The horse actually wears a bib-like device to catch the poo.

gondwanalon's avatar

Unfortunately it just isn’t practical to collect the horse poop and pee. But thank goodness horse riding is generally restricted to certain areas and trails where the horses can poop and pee to their hearts content and stink up the area to high heaven, More power to them. I’ve leaned the hard way to stay away from horse riding areas. I can’t stand the stench, the flies or the typical rude arrogant rider attitude.

Coloma's avatar

@gondwanalon Hey…( HAY lol ) I’m not an arrogant rider, and if you use a fly spray on your horse, there are no flies, AND, nothing smells better than horse sweat and alfalfa breath. Come ride with me. haha

cazzie's avatar

I know in an urban setting, like during a parade, or those organised rides in New Orleans, the horse poop has to be cleaned up, but I can’t see the point in parks or trails unless there is so much that it piles up. Like mentioned here, they are herbivores and it isn’t harmful. I’d feel responsible to perhaps shovel it to one side so it isn’t in the way of people, but other than that, it isn’t

@elbanditoroso I’d never feed a cat or a dog a vegetarian diet. It’s cruel. It will kill a cat and it is very difficult to do for a dog. From WebMD: Dogs and cats process certain nutrients differently than people do. Here are two examples:

Vitamins A and D: Dogs and cats cannot make vitamin D in their skin, so it needs to be in their diet. And the vitamin D needs to be D3, which comes from animal sources, not D2, which comes from plant-based sources. “People and dogs can use D2 to some extent, but cats really need D3,” Heinze says.

Taurine. Dogs can make taurine if provided the right building blocks through dietary protein. Cats cannot make their own taurine at all, so it is regarded as an essential amino acid in this species and must be present in adequate amounts in the diet. Both species can suffer taurine deficiencies.

downtide's avatar

Places where they don’t want horse poop on the floor generally have signs saying “No horse-riding”.

talljasperman's avatar

I’ve seen them with a bag on the back side of a horse , so they are collecting some of the poop.

Coloma's avatar

Dung catchers are usually only used on carriage horses or other horse drawn vehicles in city areas. Very inhumane treatment of many carriage horses, but, that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Coloma It’s due to Kramer feeding the carriage horse Beef-A-Reeno.

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