California Riding Magazine • March, 2013

Horsey Humor:
A Big Pile of Evil Horse Manure

by Bob Goddard

It began so small, so harmless. A tiny mound of innocent looking horse droppings carefully deposited in an out of the way place. Away from the house, not near the road, it couldn't possibly bother anyone.
Day by day, the little pile grew. I expected the neighbors to start complaining, but instead they sent their dogs over to do their business. Figured, why not? It's like peeing in the ocean. Our place was getting a reputation.

In a few months the pile matured into a fully grown adult hill. Large enough for certain winter sports. And it just kept growing. In fact, I think the actual rate of growth was accelerating. How could this be explained? Perhaps it was the miracle of compound interest at work. Or maybe we were witnessing the birth of a new species. In any case, it didn't seem right.

I tried to ignore the pile. I would shield my eyes or look the other way whenever I walked past it. I tried not to look at it directly in its eyes. I tried even harder to pretend it didn't HAVE eyes. But the pile would not be disregarded. I felt its menacing presence. It was not only getting bigger, but it also seemed to be moving. It was coming closer and closer to our front door. And I had a curious feeling that whenever I turned my back, it stuck out its tongue and mocked me like Calvin's spinach.

I began to look upon the pile as a monstrous aberration. Like something out of a cheesy sci-fi movie. The Mysterious Blob. Or Godzilla. Or Jabba the Hut. It had white things growing on it. Eerie grass-like vegetation with long, thick, deep green blades sprouted from the top. It looked like it had hair.

Something had to be done. I bought a small manure spreader, but we only had enough acreage to spread a tiny fraction of the pile. All I managed to do was skim off the top. At least this took care of the ugly grass-stuff. I had given the pile a haircut.

A friend suggested I try to sell the manure. Sell it? To who? Saddam Hussein? It never occurred to me to sell it. I'm glad it didn't. Yeah, I knew that gardeners use it, but I was pretty sure that there weren't enough gardeners in the entire state of Michigan to do me any good. But I put an ad in the paper anyway: "FREE: aged, terrifying horse manure." Nobody called.

I needed help. I became hopeful after reading an article in our local newspaper. The article told of a college educated man from Michigan State University who was investigating new ways of dealing with society's dung problem. He said that new techniques were beginning to change people's mind about manure. Apparently, manure had gotten some bad press in the past and need a PR boost. I needed to get a hold of this guy. If anyone knew about horse crap, it would be a college educated man from Michigan State University.

By the miracle of modern telecommunications (I called him on the phone), I was able to talk to this man. He said he was putting together a list of those who wanted manure and those who wanted to get rid of it. He suggested that in the meantime, I ask around in my immediate neighborhood to see if anybody would mind if I spread it on their fields and such. I told him to go ahead and put all my neighbors on the "Wants It" list and I'd take care of the rest.

I could work under the cover of darkness and deny everything in the morning.