Nowadays, horse boarding facilities are being concentrated on smaller amounts of land and closer to urban areas. Keeping horses requires resource and energy inputs that can lead to undesirable environmental impacts affecting soil, water, and air as well as human and animal health.

As horse owners is important to consider our impact to the environment. We know a lot of care goes into taking care of our loved horses but sustainability must also be one of our top priorities in our equestrian way of life.

This can be easily done by increasing our awareness of how to reduce our impact to the environment.

Here are a few suggestions:

Cross fence pastures and rotate horses in order to prevent overgrazing and soil compaction. Poor pasture management results in reduced quality of grass. Pounding hooves compact the soil, which makes water infiltration and root growth difficult, increasing feed costs due to reduced pasture productivity.

Opt for wood fencing with one strand of electric wires. The more strands the more pollution and your electricity bill will increase, plus wood is easy to replace, repair, and lower in cost.

If your property has a above ground water source such as a pond or a water stream, consider building your pasture around this. This will prevent the need for electric pumps and gives them unlimited fresh water. Try to keep your water clean by filtering your water and using water diversions to protect drainage ditches and diverting rainwater away from sources of pollutants.

Remove waste from pastures regularly to keep them and your horses healthy. The average horse produces fifty pounds of raw waste per day. You can use some of that waste as a natural fertilizer in your garden for example. Compost manure when applied as fertilizer and soil conditioner provides macro and micronutrients that can be used by plants.

Horses spend most of their time in the stables, try if possible to use water permeable flooring. Such as a grid made of recyclable elastic high pressure polyethylene, which allows urine to filter into the ground reducing the amount of soiled bedding.

Do some research, sustainable horse keeping websites cover topics of pest management, green products, and wildlife and habitat conservation making them great guides to increase your awareness and knowledge.

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Sources: Reducing the Enviromental Impact of Horse Keeping (calpoly.edu)