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I've heard it said but have been unable to verify so far that horses do not have the proper muscle to control their bladders and bowel movements. That is why horses poop in parades and show rings, so I've been told. Is this true? Is a horse unable to be "paddock trained" because of physical inabilities? Thanks so much for any and all information!
Andrea Brunz

Yes, they definately can. Often horses will just go wherever they feel like it, but that doesn't mean they can't control it.

Often, horses (especially stallions/geldings) will not pee in a horse trailer, for example, because they don't want the urine to splash up on their legs. So when I'm hauling horses, I'll be sure to stop and give them a break so they can pee.

My sister has a horse that she barrel races, and he usually pees before he runs.

I talked to an old jockey once who told me they used to whistle a very shrill note to a horse to tell them to urinate before a race (makes the horse lighter)-- I've never seen this done but he said they taught the horses to urinate on that command.

I also have corresponded with a man who has a miniature horse that is his seeing-eye horse (as opposed to a dog). His horse, Cuddles, leads him all kinds of places and in buildings, and he says that she has never had an accident, and always goes outside.

Horses generally don't care and will go wherever they are -- but actually, from owning horses, I've noticed some are neater than others and will use a certain area of their paddock or stall (which makes it easier to clean up after them too).

If they have to go while you are riding, they may just stop and do it -- but you can ask them to keep moving or not, and they will often wait until later.

I've also read that wild horses may defecate or urinate in certain areas to mark their territory.

I don't know anyone who has tried to 'paddock train' their horse. I think because of a horse's nature it would be more diffcult to teach a horse than a dog or cat, but I don't think it is impossible. Mostly since horses are kept outside, it isn't an issue like it is with dogs or cats.

-Then I sent another email-

Forgot to add -- often horses will poop before they perform because they are nervous. It is a basic flight response... horses are flight animals when they get edgey they may empty their bowels so if they have to run, they'll be lighter.
In parades, I can imagine the noise, excitement, and activity could make a horse nervous.

Often a horse will poop just after being loaded in a trailer -- they get a little nervous or scared and will go before the trailer starts off.
Horses that are hauled a lot learn to pee before going in, because it's harder for them to stretch out (especially males) while in a moving trailer. Also, they don't want the pee to splash up on them (many people stop to give their horses bathroom breaks if they are hauling for a long time).

Often they will go before entering a show ring, but may do it during a show too... mostly their riders and owners don't care, and the horses learn that it is OK to go wherever they are. I suppose a horse could be trained only to go in a certain area, but most people don't bother since horses are kept outside.

Also, many horses aren't comfortable peeing when they are being ridden and handled. I've often seen a horse ridden for awhile, then as soon as their rider gets off, the will pee. Almost all of our horses are that way--- they will wait until you're done with them. Only one, my sister's horse, will go when he has to (even if you're riding him), and he will almost always pee before he has to run.




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