Creatures of Habit…

I know you are probably tired of hearing from me by now but I have a question. I'm not concerned about this but find it unusual as does everyone I ride with. Everytime I go riding with Lightfoot, he has to urinate. He usually does it in the same few areas.

Story originally posted by: Maggie Training Director


He will sometimes do this even when I just take him out of the pasture to let him roam around the yard (he’s on the honor system). One of his “stops” is where we have seen a buck deer quite a few times. I didn’t think horses marked their territory but do you have any idea why he does this? His “stops” are not around any other horse facilities–just out in an open field usually.


Hi Deborah,

Horses, some more than others, are creatures of habit. They like routine and rarely like that routine altered in any way. Have you noticed, in his stall when you go to feed or muck, that you find all his “doings” are in specific area, usually in a corner or along the far wall. Well, this is the same thing a horse like this does out in the pasture. They are smart…look at it this way, would you (if you were him) rather graze in a pasture that has “poop” all over the place or in one that has specific “poop areas” giving you more good clean grass to eat? Another reason they do this is they use these specific areas as pest control. You know where there is “poop” there by the flies.

Another thing, I don’t think it is proven but I personally believe that horses, like any other roam or territorial animal, mark the areas they roam. If it weren’t for this (and their keen sense of smell) how would they know in which direction home lays. Right?

As to the urinating, if you know the horse’s anatomy you would know that the kidneys are located at end at the croup (the region where the saddle ends) on the horse’s back. The two urethra nerves, that stimulate the kidneys run from the brain down the spinal column to the croup (just before the hip) and about 4-5 inches just beneath the top muscle of the back. A horse will drink a large amount of water but won’t always urinate. Instead he’ll tend to hold on to the water his drinks. When you ride him and his has not urinated yet, the pressure you place urethra nerves by the weight of the saddle and your body weight, cause them to stimulate the kidneys and the bladder. It is said that once a horse that is being exercised or ridden will not really be relaxed enough to pay attention to his work or activity until he first urinates. I had a barrel horse that was like that, I got his best serious workouts after he ‘went.’ It was as if all that “stuff” was weighing heavy on his mind.

Neither of these findings should cause you any concern, it’s just the opposite…worry if these things don’t happen.

Maggie Flowers