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Green Horse and Barn Care
 By Winniefield Park   •   18th Sep 2014   •   1,818 views   •   0 comments
Green Horse and Barn Care

In my dream world, I live in a totally recyclable, off-grid, compostable world. I donít just have a green thumb, Iím head-to-toe green as I prepare my organically grown garden produce over my low-carbon-footprint cooking appliance. I glance out the reclaimed windows of my energy efficient, solar heated house, to see my horses contentedly grazing in a pasture that is free of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, invasive species and other contaminants.

But again, this is my dream world, and unless I win a large lottery, is likely to stay a dream. I still want to care for my horse well, and take care of my little corner of the earth. Here are a few things we as horse owners can do to keep our horses Ďgreení.

Pest Control
The most toxic stuff you have in your grooming kit is probably fly spray. There are lots of natural and less harmful sprays that you can make and buy. A few muscovy ducks, although not beautiful, can do an impressive job of keeping the fly population down. Theyíll even eat mice - Iíve seen it. Flytraps are non-toxic and effective if emptied regularly. A barn cat will dissuade rodents from moving in. Keeping feed in rodent proof containers, and sweeping up spilled grain makes your barn a less attractive rodent restaurant.

Tack Cleaning
Use vinegar to clean up silver metals like nickel and stainless steel. Vinegar and salt to cleans brass and copper fittings. Natural oils like peanut or olive can be used to condition leather. But be careful because any oil will darken the leather, and vegetable oils and soaps can make your tack attractive to hungry mice. Cut down on tack cleaning by using covers and keeping it out of mold spawning dampness.

Farm Machinery
Keep your farm machinery tuned up and check tire pressures. Learn to drive your truck and trailer to save fuel - your horse will be more comfortable too. Consider renting large equipment, rather than buying it. When buying a new vehicle, consider hybrids and those that can use alternative fuels. My dream - a new Silverado, said to be one of the most fuel efficient trucks on the road. Itís not a smart car, but you canít pull a horse trailer with a smart car.

Pasture and Stable Care
In your pastures, keep weeds down by mowing. Fertilize with organic fertilizer or compost. Use a Ďsacrifice areaí to keep horses off pastures that need to regenerate or could be damaged by overgrazing, or compacting by hooves. Consider solar power electric fencing or post and rails made of recycled plastic to contain your horses.

Manure Management
There are a few earth friendly ways of dealing with manure. Most importantly, position your manure pile so that when it rains, or the snow melts, the run-off doesnít go into a water source like a stream or pond. In some areas, you can fill a tip with manure and have it picked up and taken to a composting site. Or you can build your own manure composting bins and then use the compost to fertilize your pastures, lawns and gardens. A garden club, farmer or school might be glad to take it away for you.

How do you go Ďgreení in your stable?
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