Caring for a horse property is no easy feat. This is especially true when you are committed to having an eco-friendly property as well. Making small changes in daily land management practices can have positive impacts on the environment and your animals. Here are some tips to help make your horse property more environmentally friendly.
The average horse can produce up to 50 pounds of manure in a day. The way the manure is stored, distributed, and treated can have a significant impact on its value. There are a couple of options when it comes to repurposing the manure on your farm:
You can use the manure for composting as well as fertilizer for your pastures and gardens. Composting at the proper temperature can kill fly eggs and larvae, parasites, pathogens, and weed seeds. Using it for your pastures and gardens acts a slow-release fertilizer and is the perfect soil conditioner.
If composting is simply something you don’t have the time or money for, you can also ship out your horses’ manure. There are many different organizations that will connect you with gardeners who are looking for the excellent fertilizing properties of manure.
Regardless of what you choose, storage is an important factor to consider, as it is vital to safeguard against surface and groundwater contamination. Make sure your manure storage is safely distanced from water sources and ideally covered and contained to prevent pollutants from leaking, bugs, and odor.
2. Water Conservation
Horses are notoriously very thirsty animals and acreage properties require a lot of water to upkeep their pastures. There are numerous ways to conserve water on your horse property.
1. Install Rainwater Catchment
You might as well take advantage of the free water mother nature provides on a rainy day. Using a rainwater catchment system can help you catch and store water during rainy periods. Depending on where your barn is located on your property, you may be able to meet all your horse watering and irrigation needs with a large catchment basin.
2. Automatic Waterers
Installing automatic watering systems can help conserve water, as well as keep the water cleaner and fresher for your animals. Some water systems are powered by geothermic heat. Using this technique keeps water cool in the summer months, and above freezing in the winter. And since it is powered by geothermic heat, you aren’t using additional electricity!
3. Reuse Water
Another great way to conserve your water use is to reuse leftover water from other daily tasks. Leftover water from horses’ buckets can be used to water the garden. Also consider using a bucket and sponge for your horses’ baths to prevent any further water waste.
3. Preserve Pastures
Pastures are a great source of food for your horses but do require a good amount of work. Luckily, a lot of that work can be done in a way that is environmentally friendly. As discussed above, using the manure from your horses on your pastures work as a great nutrients rich fertilizer. Overgrazing horses can make the land more vulnerable to erosion and lead to less of a filter for runoff. To prevent this, incorporate rotational grazing. Rotational grazing moves horses from one pasture to another allowing for regrowth and optimizing the horses’ foraging diet. This method also allows for plant diversity and improved soil structure.
4. Reuse and Recycle
A tried and true method to property sustainability is reusing and recycling. Consider reusing equipment when available or even repurposing old containers and tools for other uses around your property. For example, old water troughs make for efficient gardening containers. If you are looking to make some improvements to structure on your property, consider using recycled or renewable materials whenever possible. Recycled rubber stall mats are an easy way to incorporate recycled materials into your barn.