Barn Anthropologist Observes Horse Barn Life in its Natural State

My job is to observe Barn Life in its natural state and then report back. A Barn Anthropologist, if you will.


My job is to observe horse barn life in its natural state and then report back. A Barn Anthropologist, if you will. Usually I have no place to sit, and this is especially a problem in the spring when everything is so wet in the horse barn. Horse barns are notorious for poor seating. Somebody should do something.

Spring Thing
As a Barn Anthropologist, I pay particular attention to a phenomenon known as mucking banter. For you nonscientists, mucking banter refers to those wonderful conversations between horsepeople while they clean out stalls. It’s very similar to the conversations office workers have over their cubicles. There’s something amusing and moderately revealing about communication between disembodied voices.

It was during my springtime visit while eavesdropping on a hearty round of mucking banter that I first heard the term “stool watcher.” Hmm…Stool Watcher. Interesting. It sounded a lot like a sitting job to me. Should I volunteer? Could I be a Barn Anthropologist and a Stool Watcher? I investigated.

There’s a problem with anthropological investigations. If you start asking questions, you might not like the answers. Of course, I didn’t receive an actual answer. Unless you count a chorus of ridicule laced with bizarre suggestions as an answer.

And then there was that Deadly Stare from my daughter. I bet Barbra J. King’s bipeds were better behaved than this group.

Later, my old buddy and primary source of reliable information, Google, gave me my answer. Apparently, “stool watching” is indeed of particular concern in the spring. It’s a time-honored method of keeping track of the effects of seasonal dietary changes.

That is, horses eat more fresh grass in the warmer weather and somebody has to keep on eye on whether or not the sudden switch is irritating their bowels. It’s not a seating issue. Who was to know?

During my following visit, the mucking banter revolved around another springtime issue: mares in heat. I did not investigate.



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