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Calories Burned Mucking Stalls

A question that seems to be asked quite a bit recently is "How many calories are burned cleaning stalls?" Of course, when you think about it, this inquiry makes a lot of sense. After all, we've got to clean the abrn anyway, so if we can identify some ways it does us some additional good other than equine hygeine for our horses, that's an extra plus. So I went about quantifying the energy used so we could have some insight into the health benefits.

Calories burned is a function of the task you're doing and many related variables. Here are the primary variables one needs to consider when mucking a stall:

  1. The size of the stall and how much waste and soiled bedding you need to remove;
  2. Whether the waste and soiled bedding is on top of a smooth surface (concrete, a stall mat, etc.), or a more difficult surface to clean. In the case of dirt-floor stalls, you have to break up, loosen, and remove the soiled dirt as well and that is not usually easy work;
  3. Whether you do a thorough job or a superficial and quick one;
  4. Your weight;
  5. Additional calories burned to carry in and spread fresh bedding; and
  6. How many stalls you have to clean?

This analysis is not something that I've seen written about before, but by using some proxies, I think we can get a fair estimate.

Mucking Stalls
For Most, It's Not Fun — It's Better Knowing It Helps Us To Stay In Shape.

Let's assume you clean the way you shovel snow, that you do a fairly good job, and that it takes about 10 minutes per stall. This includes removing waste products and soiled bedding, replacing the bedding and spreading it around the stall, at least emptying and rinsing the water pail and then refilling it, and then placing a couple of hay flakes in the stall. That should at least get us into the "ballpark". Look for your weight below to see the calories burned per stall:

Your Weight Calories Burned per Stall
90 lbs. 41
100 lbs. 46
110 lbs. 50
120 lbs. 55
130 lbs. 59
140 lbs. 64
150 lbs. 69
160 lbs. 73
170 lbs. 78
180 lbs. 82
190 lbs. 87
200 lbs. 92
210 lbs. 96
220 lbs. 101
230 lbs. 105
240 lbs. 110
250 lbs. 115

Multiply the number of calories times the number of stalls you're going to clean to get an estimate of the calories you'll burn. So if you weigh 130 pounds and clean nine stalls, you'll burn about 530 calories in 90 minutes. Of course, if you do fewer tasks than outlined, the number of calories burned will be less per stall. Conversely, being more thorough on one or more tasks will take a little longer and will also increase the num,ber of calories burned per stall. But these numbers are likely a good average for a starting point.

Finally, the number of calories burned per stall will be about the same whether you work quickly or slowly; your pace will just determine how long it takes you to do all the stalls you have to do.

Besides being an avid trail rider, Jerry Tardif is a technology consultant and a horse and nature photographer in SE Connecticut — see his work at: www.jerrytardif.com. He is also co-founder and President of QueryHorse.

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