The wash stalls at a barn I go to have those large rubber skips (buckets) in the back corners for depositing any mess after grooming. MANY of the horses like to back up into them and put great effort into trying to put one or both legs into them. They seem to work at it and one horse will put both feet in and them happily stand there. Why do you think they do this?? No one can figure it out!!

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Here's my guess - what's inside the buckets is all squishy and soft and I bet the horse would prefer standing on a surface that gives.

The real test of my theory would be putting a horse in a confined space with pavement and soft dirt (not grass because that involves eating) to see where he stands.
That was going to be my guess too! Great minds think alike! I also thought that maybe it gives them something to lean against (the front of the skip) if they have both feet inside. Also, how do the horses KNOW that there is something soft in there? Smell?:))
Actually, a better test would be to put the skip in the stall with your horse to see if he backs in. If he does, that blows my theory.
That is a VERY interesting idea!
That's quite odd, but what the others have said seems to make sense. I used to groom for a stallion that would take these skip buckets and roll them between his back legs to entertain himself while waiting to be ridden... But several horses doing the same behaviour in one barn? Hhmm!
similar but not the same, my stallion used to back up to anything behind him lower than about hock level and delicately rub feeling with his back legs. It looked like he was checking it out.
If the horse is in a stall all day it could be as simple as boredom. Try hanging a rubber play toy for horses in there and see what happens.
No It's not boredom with my stallion he had a full and varied life. It was interesting to watch, so deliberate and careful like a blind man feeling something. Wouldn't it be lovely to know what was going on.
Hi Edwin
you have a point my stallion made his own manure heap slap bang in the field gateway. Folks were always asking why did I pile it there.

Well it was him putting up his KEEP OFF or else sign..
That's hilarious, Lesley. Sort of the opposite of a Welcome mat!
Horses are hilarious:-) I have a couple of geldings in my herd of six who are extremely territorial and they can't pass the other guys poop without checking it out and depositing their own. I often wonder if they have some sort of story to tell or something because of the length of time it takes to smell the poop. One guy will push it around with his nose a bit till it is scattered to his satisfaction then poop on it. It's hilarious to watch. Definitely a hiearchy communication thing. Oh to really know what goes on between those ears.....
Oh yes, they do this on their pee spots as well....it's hilarious!

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