It doesn’t take long to figure out what products and procedures work well for horse chores. Last night while shoveling horse stalls (it’s more like forking horse stalls), Mikki grabbed the manure fork I normally use and I in turn took hers. After a few minutes, we happily swapped back again. Neither of us found it easy to work with a manure fork weren’t familiar with using. That might sound silly but we each use a different size and style fork and that makes more of a difference than I would have thought. Mikki uses a smaller fork purchased at a tack shop for around $20. It’s the typical style you see for manure duties, with a nice smooth aluminum handle. We bought the fork I use specifically for use with pellet bedding such as Woody Pet and Equine Pine. In fact, I think it’s actually manufactured by the Woody Pet people (I think they call it their “Fine Tines Fork” – around $26 at Tractor Supply). It’s tines are closer together for catching small manure pieces. It’s also quite a bit larger than the one Mikki uses and as a result picks up a LOT of horse manure, which makes it quite heavy to use. For those who use sawdust or pine pellets, cleaning stalls is part scooping big chunks of horse manure and part sifting to separate the good bedding from the little pieces of manure. The larger fork does a great job as a “sifter”, since it’s deep and the sides adequately keep the payload from prematurely escaping the fork. The smaller fork Mikki uses doesn’t work as well as a sifter because the payload keeps falling off the sides. At least it does for me. Mikki has it down, though and much prefers it over the larger stall fork.
Here’s what they look like. Even though the larger one looks like it’s carrying less horse manure, remember it’s deeper. You just can’t see the depth in the photo.
On the left is the smaller fork, with the larger Woody Pet fork on the right. While shooting these pictures, I lost some of the horse manure from fork on the left.
Incidentally, we’ve been using both stall forks for at least 6 months without any of the tines breaking. They’ve fallen down in the barn and used as rakes and shovels (not recommended) and have proven to be durable, despite being plastic. The bolt holding the fork onto the aluminum handle of the smaller one needed tightening once.