Though horses, themselves, aren’t bad for the environment, some of our management practices aren’t quite so eco-friendly. In honor of Earth Day earlier this week, I thought I’d share a few tips on how you ‘green’ up your farm.
One of the biggest problems with keeping horses is managing their manure. When spread out over a large area, manure isn’t much of a problem, but when it accumulates in smaller areas, rainwater carries the excess nutrients and contaminants to local ponds, streams, and lakes where they can wreak havoc on aquatic life.
Here are a few ways you can divert water so it doesn’t run through areas with concentrated manure:
- Install gutters on barns and covered riding arenas;
- Create berms to divert water runoff around corrals, compost piles, and other confinement areas;
- Use catch basins for contaminated water runoff.
Chemicals we use around the farm have a way of slipping back into the environment, often negatively impacting plant and animal life. An example is cypermethrin, a common ingredient in many fly sprays. This pesticide takes nearly eight months to biodegrade and is extremely toxic to aquatic life.
There are alternatives to chemical fly sprays (such as Zero-Bite All Natural Insect Repellant), and we can use other methods of fly control such as fly predators, managing manure, and even encouraging pest-eating wildlife such as bats, barn swallows, flycatchers, and purple martins. We can also avoid spraying chemical herbicides on our pastures by practicing better pasture management (i.e.- rotational grazing).
Re-Use & Recycle
If you already recycle, then don’t forget to do this with your supplement containers (or re-use them!) and other plastics used around the barn. Many feed bags can also be recycled, so always check for a label!
Consider renewable energy sources such as a solar charger for electric fencing or windmill to run your well. And if you really want to go green, solar and/or wind energy can operate your entire barn!
These are just a few ways we can lessen our impact on the environment as far as horse care is concerned. What tips do you have on keeping your farm green? Feel free to comment below.
**Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.