Search for the Holy Grail … of Pitchforks

All shapes and sizes are beautiful in their own way, no muck rake shaming here. Photo by Kate Boggan

It’s just another one of those weird horse person things: we have strange attachments to inanimate barn items. One such odd affinity seems to exist between many equestrians and their favorite muck rakes. When someone spends as much time as the average horse enthusiast does picking up poop (roughly 60% of the time), you get picky about your pick.

That “Visiting the Vet” piece should be bigger. Chart by Kate Boggan.

You know the feeling. You show up to the barn and grab an available wheelbarrow, although you probably have a favorite one of those too, and you realize someone else is using YOUR pitchfork. If you’re like me you might just wait until your favorite fork is available and busy your self with other barn chores in the mean time. But on those days when you’re really in a rush you might not have time to wait, so you’ll have to select a different stall cleaning utensil.

This. Can. Ruin. Your. Whole. Day.

When once stall cleaning was almost cathartic, now it’s stressful. The tines aren’t the right spacing from one another for the shavings you use. The handle is at a funny angle. The weight is different causing you to overshoot your wheelbarrow, or even worse, bang the corner against your fork and spill your whole scoop into the aisle! And if you have to do more than one stall like this … I pity you.

Found this pitchfork outside the stall of our resident chestnut mare. Not sure how good it is for picking up poop. Photo by Kate Boggan.

So how does one pick the perfect pooper scooper? Personally, I prefer muck rakes with aluminum handles. Wood is fine, until I have to clean six or seven stalls and then it gets heavy and my callouses get callouses. I also like to use the pelleted bedding, so for me I like rakes with tines closer together. The pelletized bedding (dust) sifts right through and I get the satisfaction of removing even the tiniest poo particle.

In truth, there’s no science behind the perfect pitchfork, although I personally LOVE the Flex’n Fork by Equi Tee Mfg. I think much like our equine partners we settle into routine and dislike (some more than others) when it gets disrupted. My advice is to buy your favorite muck rake for yourself and guard it with your life.

One last piece of advice, for those of you who actually own pigs dressed up like horses, I recommend one of the following:

Sometimes there’s just no sifting through. Photo by Kate Boggan.

And sometimes you need to call for reinforcements. Photo by Kate Boggan.

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