Horse people often say to me that they don’t want to clean stalls all day. In our competitive and status-conscious society, manual labor has become second class work to many people. Everyone wants to be top dog, but few want to pay the price for getting there. With the effects of the great recession grinding on, many people are being forced to take a second look at manual labor jobs. Top corporate managers who are out of work are looking with envy at blue collar professionals like plumbers, electricians and carpenters.
In the horse industry, we understand manual labor. Most jobs at horse farms and ranches are hands-on, involve long hours, and require manual labor skills to one degree or another. Even the owner is probably faced with cleaning stalls on occasion.
Many of us feel that the honor of caring for one of the most beautiful and intelligent animals in the world is its own reward. So what’s the real issue about cleaning stalls? The real issue is not the poop, or the hard work, or the repetitive routine. The real issue is what some people think about the job. We live in a society where cleaning up poop is not appreciated. Cleaning stalls is considered little more than a necessary evil at most horse farms. The people who do this work are not rewarded very well emotionally or financially for their vital task. Yet, where would we be if the stalls did not get cleaned? We’d be faced with odor, flies, and disease, just for starters. The blow to public relations and sales would be devastating. So, next time you find yourself cleaning a stall, don’t get sucked in by what someone else might think of the work. Remind yourself that it is the horse that you are caring for, and the honor of doing that is timeless.