Do Horses Poop While Running?

Now, there’s more than one reason to stay clear of the back end of a horse – not just because of a risk of getting hit with a hoof, but also because of something possibly just as unpleasant.

Horses can walk, trot, gallop, pace and defecate at the same time. So, pooping while running is something that horses have adapted to do.

But just because most horses can poop while running, it doesn’t mean that all horses do so. Some will stop dead in their tracks and take their time to pass manure before moving forward.

This can be unpleasant for horse-owners for a number of reasons that I’m going to cover below.

But pooping while running can also be unpleasant for other horse-owners such as jockeys. For them, a racehorse pooping while running can become a veritable workplace hazard.

I’m also going to discuss some tips and tricks on how to nudge your horse to poop while running, instead of stopping every time, and how to make sure your horse doesn’t leave behind an unsavory obstacle for you during a race.

Why is it Bad for a Horse to Stop for a Bowel Movement?

Some horse owners will argue that there’s nothing wrong with a horse needing to stop to take a poo, and they’re right.

Others will argue that it’s inconvenient if their horse stops every time it needs to pass manure, and they’re right too. It doesn’t help that horses will pass manure multiple times a day.

If you see a horse defecating while running, know that it’s perfectly normal for them to do so.

If on a trail with more horses, people allowing their horses to come to a sudden stop to poop can be very inconvenient, not to mention potentially dangerous.

Likewise, horses on a show ring can get disqualified if they simply stop and defecate. Not to mention in races, where they can lose a lot of ground compared to other competitors if they stop for a bowel movement.

Horses are sometimes used in hunting expeditions, where once again, stopping mid-chase after a hound can put the rider at a disadvantage compared to others.

Therefore, it’s not that it’s bad for a horse to stop for a poo, it’s just inconvenient for the riders that are engaged in various activities and rely on the speed of the horse to gain ground on their competition, for example.

That said, horses should never be discouraged not to defecate. Instead, they need to be encouraged to defecate while running or doing other activities.

How Many Times do Horses Defecate a Day?

Horses will defecate anywhere from 8-12 times a day, amounting to 13 to 20 kg of manure per day. This is a lot but remember that horses will graze all day and can consume a lot of pasture.

Depending on size, breed and gender, some horses will pass manure more frequently than others, but relatively often compared to other mammals.

For example, foals will empty their bowels more often because of their liquid diet, while stallions will defecate more frequently than mares because of their habit to scent-mark territories.

With numbers so high, it’s highly likely that your horse will pass manure while engaged in some activity or other, whether it’s trailing, racing or during a simple trot.

Can Horses Defecate and Run at the Same Time?

Just because some horses will stop for a poo, it doesn’t mean they can’t defecate and run at the same time. It’s just that they prefer to stop or simply haven’t considered pooping on the go.

If this isn’t something that bothers you or it’s not inconveniencing you, you should simply take it as an interesting personality quirk of your horse and go about your business.

If your horse stopping each time to take a poop has become an inconvenience, there are things you can do to make sure your horse can poop without having to stop even while engaged in running or other activities.

In certain cases, it can be to your disadvantage if your horse stops mid-way for a poo. Luckily, you can change this behavior by teaching your horse that it can do its business even while being active

How to Train Your Horse to Poop While Running?

There are several ways you can teach your horse that it doesn’t need to stop to take a poop.

But you do need to know when your horse is preparing to pass manure and take that time to nudge your horse to keep moving.

You can tell them to keep moving, you can use the ends of the reins or a gentle tap to signal that they should not stop and keep on moving forward instead.

It will take a bit of repetition for your horse to catch on and understand that they can do their business while doing other things.

If your horse is adamant on stopping for a bowel movement and no amount of training seems to be working to kick the habit, you may want to consider a couple of minutes of brisk walking or trotting before any activity that requires your horse to keep on moving.

A bit of exercise will ‘get things moving’ for your horse and maybe it won’t need to go a second time during whatever activity follows after.

Wrap-Up

Horses pooping while running? You’ve probably seen it too and wondered if it’s something you need to worry about. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal for a horse to be pooping while in motion.

Horses can and often do poop while running, which is a convenient skill for a horse to know. If your horse isn’t multitasking at this level, you can try and change this behavior by nudging it to keep on walking when they’re about to defecate.

This is an especially useful skill for racehorses and other show horses. But even for horses that are used on trails or during hunting, stopping to poop seems like a good idea to kick this habit.

Horse Facts   Horses   Updated: September 9, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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