With a tiny extra effort, you have the right to enjoy the advantages of a big farm even if you save your horses on a fairly small acreage.

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The image of the ideal horse farm may be a sprawling ranch, through pastures as far as the eye can see, v the many pressing horsekeeping trouble being how to inspect all those mile of fences prior to nightfall. But the reality is often quite different. Those of united state who keep equines on small acreage recognize how tough it can be. Boot-sucking mud, overgrazed pastures, too-small turnouts—those are simply a few of the obstacles you may face if your land is limited.


And uneven you victory the lottery, you most likely aren’t going to buy a huge spread at any time soon. Don’t worry—you’re in good company. In fact, about the country, the little horse farm—10 acres or less—is ending up being the brand-new standard. It renders sense; the denser the human population, the less space there is for huge animals favor horses.

But even in claims that are mostly suburban, like brand-new Jersey and my house state that Connecticut, horsekeeping isn’t just hanging on. It’s thriving. You more than likely see similar situations in her neck of the woods. It appears that nothing, not even a lack of open up space, will certainly deter us from keeping horses. Nor must it. Fortunately, steeds are adaptable and fare well on tiny acreages, regardless of the challenges.


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“When room is limited, we need to be even much better stewards come prevent damage to the land,” states Bob Coleman, PhD, equine expansion specialist v the university of Kentucky. “Overgrazing is a big issue, as are manure management and water runoff. Overgrazing results in bare soil, and also weeds have the right to take over.” A well-managed farm will boast healthy environment-friendly pastures at the very least for the heat weather months.

Horsekeeping top top a small Acreage: Designing and also Managing Your steed Facilities>

But good stewardship isn’t just around looking good.


If you think the your small farm together a living entity, you’ll appreciate exactly how all its components relate to one another. It’s a lot choose taking treatment of her horse—you groom him, sell him nutritious feed, save his feet trimmed and keep him increase to date on his vaccinations. Neglect one of these and also you can have problems that will affect his entire well-being.

Overgrazed and also weedy fields, for instance, don’t organize water really well and also that deserve to mean runoff that will certainly contaminate surface and also ground waters. This form of nonpoint resource pollution can include fertilizer, pesticides, sediment and also fecal waste. And little farms are usually hemmed in by neighbors who can voice legitimate complaints.


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To assist horse owners, numerous states have actually instituted guidelines for tiny farm management. “Most states have specific regulations about how much a manure pile should be inserted from wells, the neighbor’s floor or waterways,” states Betsy Greene, PhD, former University of vermouth equine expansion specialist that is now at the university of Arizona. “Back in Vermont, they have statewide restrictions well-known as accepted farming practices (AAPs), which lay the end these rules and also regulations. And also because that a newly passed state Water quality bill, the AAPs are ending up being required agricultural practices.”


Some says offer financial aid or taxation credits to farm yard owners that practice great management. Think of that as free mentoring—after all, what’s great for the setting is great for our horses as well.

As friend look approximately your little farm, you might see at least one or two points that need some fine-tuning. Here are a few strategies to aid you satisfy the difficulties of keeping horses on tiny acreages.

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CHALLENGE 1: major MANURE PILES

If inquiry to surname our biggest challenge in horsekeeping, many of united state would probably have actually the very same answer: that ever-expanding manure pile. “The usual 1,000-pound equine produces virtually 40 pounds that manure every day,” claims Greene. “If your steed spends any kind of time in a stall, friend probably add bedding, which can add second 15 come 20 pounds of product to the equation.” It’s straightforward to view why the manure pile looms for this reason large.

And that manure pile is an ext than simply an eyesore. If friend don’t compost, manure can harbor parasites favor strongyles and roundworms. In the warmth weather months, that will attract flies and also other pests. As soon as it rains, contaminants from her manure pile will certainly leach right into ground and surface waters.

What you have the right to do: Compost it. If you’ve ever dug right into the center of the manure pile either v your tractor or a shovel, you’ll notification the internal is a lot favor moist dirt. That’s compost, which can be supplied as fertilizer or come amend soil in general. But if you’ve avoided composting since it seems choose a many trouble, take an additional look in ~ the basics. It’s less complicated than friend think.


“Certain points must occur for manure and also stall waste to go through the active composting process,” claims Greene. “In the most simple sense, there should be adequate aeration, moisture and the right temperatures to allow microbes to convert static piles into finished compost.” because that composting, make her manure pile around twice as long at that base as it is high. That helps to store the heap at the ideal temperature—between 110 and 150 levels Fahrenheit. You can buy a compost thermometer at most garden shop or nurseries. The high temperatures kill off negative bacteria and also pathogens as well as break down the material right into a helpful fertilizer.

A successful compost pile needs the complying with three elements:

Coleman motivates farm owners to acquire to recognize their local expansion agent, that can administer easy-to-follow instructions on exactly how to prepare one area for compost, stoke the pile and maintain it. “The average steed owner can compost their horses’ manure without much trouble,” says Coleman. The end an outcome is a useful and valuable resource you have the right to use to feed her farm’s plants and grasses. If composting is just not an alternative on your property, consider hiring a exclusive hauler to take it away weekly or monthly. “Some of the vermont stables contract with suppliers to have actually an onsite roll-off dumpster the is hauled off weekly or as needed,” states Greene.