Being a pet owner is a huge responsibility. You have to take care of your horse, ensure their safe health and at the same time take care of the environment. Several people own horses. Some of them are millionaires, some are pet rescuers, while others are owners of farms who have an undying love for horses. In the US, farmers need to abide by the federal and state regulations for the best farming and husbandry practices.
Sticking to these regulations not only helps the people keep their environment safe, but also facilitates a pathogen-free condition. The set of best management practices (BMP) are effective and economical methods that help in the prevention of pollution. Amidst the discussion about sustainable thoroughbred racing on TVG, it is imperative for the horse owners to adhere by some of the BMPs beneficial to them as well.
Build stream crossings and exclusion filters
Keeping your horses away from the nearby streams and the riparian buffer zones will reduce the dispersal of pollutants into the surfacewater. You should set up stream crossings near the farm or the pasture with exclusion fencing. It will help in the reduction of added sediment, pathogen and organic matter in the stream water. You can use them together with farm equipment to provide them direct access to pasture lands.
Limit the access of your horses to riparian buffer zones
The riparian buffer zone is the area between an aquatic ecosystem and the uplands. Keeping the riparian areas vegetated will protect against erosion and leaching damage. Moreover, it will protect the surface water from the nutrient and fertilizer runoff from the farm.
Uphold a graze stabilization structure
It is not easy to combat a full-blown erosion problem at the farm, especially after generations of grazing. Keeping a grade stabilization structure by maintaining the paddock vegetation is an eco-friendly way to stop the erosion of grazing land. You can construct grade stabilization structures as per the instructions of the BMPs to free up usable land. It will minimize structural weakness, and it will reduce the danger towards the horses.
Practice rotational grazing
Rotational grazing is something that requires the movement of horses from one pasture to another over the year. It not only supports the proper diet and nutrition of the horses, but it also allows the foliage regrowth. That reduces the threat of erosion in water body adjacent areas.
Building an eco-friendly shade structure
You can create a low-cost and sustainable shade for your horses. Try to use at least 70% occluded cloth that you can move with pasture rotation. Horses like structures with a lot of natural shade from trees around them. If you have an area like that on your farm, use it for building the eco-friendly, cool and safe shelter for your equine friends.
If you have worked on a farm or a horse shelter before, then you can think of several other ways to convert traditional horse keeping practices into eco-friendly practices. Keeping a horse on a farm does not compel you to stick to BMPs throughout, but you should try to adopt environmentally friendly practices whenever possible.