Should You Wear Mucking Boots In The Dining Hall?

By: Natalie Osuna ’17

You wake up at seven, head to the barns, and muck your stall. By the time you are done, your stomach is grumbling and you have two options:

Walk to the Dining Hall to eat breakfast


Walk the excruciating distance to your room (unless, of course, you live in Lower School or Middle School) to change your shoes and then all the way back to the Dining Hall in order to avoid disgusted glares at your mucking boots.

You choose the former.

By the time you enter the Dining Hall, the soles of your boots have long since departed from their long, lost lover— the ‘muck’ in your stall. By now, the soles of your boots have the same coating of dust as every other pair of shoes in the Dining Hall, and are not any more disgusting than the everyday pair of shoes you could have switched into in the second option.

Not convinced?

Consider the following: every single student in The Thacher School has participated in the riding program, and every single student has turned their horse out, at some point, during a school day.

Turnout —unlike your stall (or at least I would hope)— is never mucked.

Then, I ask you this: what is the difference between walking into the Dining Hall with the same shoes you just turned out your horse in and walking into the Dining Hall with mucking boots?

Wearing mucking boots is merely practical; you would not wear soft-material shoes that manure could easily seep into because its pungent smell would then be carried with you in your travels and suffocate unsuspecting passersby.

On the contrary, mucking boots are cleverly made with rubber. Rubber, which manure cannot seep into. Rubber, which prefers not to have long-term relationships with muck, and, even if it does become attached, will probably lose contact as you trudge through sand and scrape against concrete in order to return your wheelbarrow to its rightful place.

Entering the Dining Hall in mucking boots is not the same as swashing around in a molten puddle of horse manure, marching inside, and then leaving behind a trail of defecation like Hansel and Gretel in some disturbed version of their fairy tale.

Horse faculty enter wearing cowboy boots all the time. If they are not ridiculed for wearing boots they wear day after day at the barns, then why are we for wearing mucking boots?

By: Brooke Porter ’16

You’re walking down from assembly to lunch minding your own business, when you lower your foot for your next step and feel something squish beneath the sole of your sneaker. A sickening feeling floods your stomach. Yes, it’s dog poop.After a moment of panic, frustration, and rage, you rush to your dorm and switch shoes. You don’t glance at the shoes, shrug, and track poop through the dining hall because poop, no matter what kind of poop, is stinky and foul.

Every Thacher student knows the joys of standing in horse poop in the early morning while mucking a stall. It’s disgusting, but we do it and we get used to it because it is a part of Thacher’s culture. However, wearing mucking boots in the dining hall is not an essential piece of Thacher’s culture.

The purpose of mucking boots is to protect people from horse excrement because when students muck it is very likely that they will step on a piece of poop. Some may argue that they don’t step in poop when they muck. Well then, let me tell you those puddles that you’re stepping in are not water puddles.

Because they know that their boots are gross, students don’t walk into their own rooms with their poop-encrusted boots. So why is it okay to wear them in the place where we eat?

Students who live in dorms that are far from the dining hall don’t need to go change their shoes before breakfast. They can easily rinse off their boots at the barns, stomp off the excess water and continue on their way. Everyone’s shoes have dirt. Dirt is a whole lot better than poop. It may be more convenient to go straight to the dining hall after mucking, but it’s also unsanitary and inconsiderate.

When I walk by freshmen and other riders in the morning wearing mucking boots all I can think about and smell is poop, rather than Robin’s muffins. Everyone eats in the dining hall and it’s not fair to force others to deal with poopy boots.

No, we do not eat off the floors (actually some of us do, 5 second rule), but we’re also not the ones cleaning the dining hall. Jean Li ‘16 believes that wearing mucking boots can come off as impolite.

“I feel like it creates a lot of extra work for the dining hall because they have to clean up after us.”

Instead of bringing number 1 or number 2 into the dining hall, students should take 1 or 2 seconds to clean their shoes.

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