I seem to be writing a lot lately about horse manure - perhaps because that's my main interaction with my horses right now, other than some grooming. The weather's been pretty comfortable - 20sF without a lot of wind - but the packed snow/ice conditions aren't very good for riding.
One of the things I always try to pay attention to in the mornings when I feed is poo patterns in the stalls - I also pay attention to amount and appearance as that's a good indicator of digestive health. This is also a good way to get to know what each horse's "normal" is. If a horse is usually neat, but the poo that morning is strewn all over the place and trodden into the bedding, that can be a sign of worry or some other difficulty. And the opposite applies too - if a horse that is usually messy has clearly been standing in one spot all night, that can be a sign of pain or depression - or maybe just that the horse was tired.
As I've been cleaning Pie's night-time paddock, which is about 40 feet by 60 feet, and has a three-sided shed, over the past several days his poo pattern has changed. The first days he was out there, most of the poo was close to the fence line nearest the barn - he'd been walking up and down that fence line a lot or staying there in the night. But yesterday the poo was evenly distributed around the paddock - although he keeps his eating area completely clean. This morning most of the poo was at the top of the paddock - the area Lily used to use as her "lookout" - it's the highest point in the paddock, between the shed and the water tank, and has a clear view over all the pastures as well as back to the barn. And for the last two nights, Pie has clearly had a good sleep - there were sleep marks in the snow (large, slightly melted patches), and those were at the top of the paddock too although in areas clear of poo. That could also be why his hock sore was a bit worse this morning - it was really almost healed yesterday evening and this morning it was somewhat irritated again - he's been spending more time lying down.
It's clear from reading the poo patterns that he's becoming more comfortable in the paddock each day, which is very good to see.