With a small extra effort, you have the right to enjoy the advantages of a large farm also if you store your steeds on a reasonably small acreage.

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The photo of the ideal equine farm might be a sprawling ranch, with pastures as much as the eye can see, through the many pressing horsekeeping difficulty being just how to inspect all those miles of fences prior to nightfall. Yet the truth is often quite different. Those of united state who keep steeds on tiny acreage understand how hard it can be. Boot-sucking mud, overgrazed pastures, too-small turnouts—those are just a few of the obstacles you may challenge if your land is limited.


And uneven you victory the lottery, you more than likely aren’t going come buy a huge spread at any time soon. Don’t worry—you’re in great company. In fact, roughly the country, the tiny horse farm—10 acre or less—is ending up being the new standard. It makes sense; the denser the human population, the less room there is for big animals prefer horses.

But even in claims that are mainly suburban, like new Jersey and my home state that Connecticut, horsekeeping isn’t simply hanging on. It’s thriving. You probably see similar situations in her neck the the woods. It appears that nothing, not even a lack of open up space, will deter united state from maintaining horses. Nor must it. Fortunately, equines are adaptable and also fare fine on small acreages, in spite of the challenges.


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“When space is limited, we should be even far better stewards come prevent damage to the land,” says Bob Coleman, PhD, equine extension specialist through the university of Kentucky. “Overgrazing is a big issue, as space manure management and water runoff. Overgrazing results in ceiling soil, and also weeds have the right to take over.” A well-managed farm will certainly boast healthy environment-friendly pastures at the very least for the warm weather months.

Horsekeeping ~ above a small Acreage: Designing and also Managing Your horse Facilities>

But good stewardship isn’t just around looking good.


If girlfriend think that your little farm together a living entity, you’ll appreciate how all its components relate come one another. It’s a lot prefer taking treatment of your horse—you groom him, market him nutritious feed, store his feet trimmed and keep him up to day on his vaccinations. Neglect one the these and you could have troubles that will impact his whole well-being.

Overgrazed and weedy fields, for instance, don’t hold water really well and that deserve to mean runoff that will certainly contaminate surface and ground waters. This kind of nonpoint source pollution can include fertilizer, pesticides, sediment and fecal waste. And little farms room usually hemmed in by next-door neighbors who could voice legit complaints.


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To aid horse owners, countless states have actually instituted accuse for small farm management. “Most states have certain regulations regarding how much a manure pile need to be placed from wells, the neighbor’s floor or waterways,” says Betsy Greene, PhD, former University of vermont equine expansion specialist who is now at the college of Arizona. “Back in Vermont, they have actually statewide restrictions well-known as accepted farming practices (AAPs), i beg your pardon lay the end these rules and also regulations. And also because the a recently passed state Water quality bill, the AAPs are coming to be required agricultural practices.”


Some claims offer financial help or tax credits to farm yard owners who practice great management. Think of the as cost-free mentoring—after all, what’s great for the setting is an excellent for our horses as well.

As you look about your small farm, you can see at least one or two points that need some fine-tuning. Below are a few strategies to assist you satisfy the challenges of keeping horses on little acreages.

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CHALLENGE 1: major MANURE PILES

If request to name our biggest an obstacle in horsekeeping, many of united state would probably have the exact same answer: that ever-expanding manure pile. “The typical 1,000-pound equine produces practically 40 pounds the manure per day,” says Greene. “If your horse spends any type of time in a stall, you probably include bedding, which can add an additional 15 come 20 pounds of product to the equation.” It’s simple to view why the manure pile looms so large.

And the manure pile is an ext than just an eyesore. If you don’t compost, manure can harbor parasites choose strongyles and roundworms. In the heat weather months, the will entice flies and other pests. As soon as it rains, contaminants from her manure pile will certainly leach into ground and surface waters.

What you have the right to do: Compost it. If you’ve ever dug into the center of the manure heap either with your tractor or a shovel, you’ll notification the internal is a lot choose moist dirt. That’s compost, which have the right to be offered as fertilizer or come amend soil in general. Yet if you’ve avoided composting since it seems prefer a most trouble, take one more look in ~ the basics. It’s less complicated than you think.


“Certain things must occur for manure and stall waste come go with the active composting process,” says Greene. “In the most straightforward sense, there have to be adequate aeration, moisture and the ideal temperatures to allow microbes to transform static piles right into finished compost.” because that composting, make your manure pile about twice as lengthy at that is base together it is high. The helps to save the heap at the appropriate temperature—between 110 and also 150 levels Fahrenheit. You can buy a compost thermometer at most garden shop or nurseries. The high temperatures kill off negative bacteria and pathogens too as failure the material right into a valuable fertilizer.

A effective compost pile needs the following three elements:

Coleman motivates farm owner to acquire to know their local extension agent, who can carry out easy-to-follow accuse on how to prepare one area because that compost, stoke the pile and also maintain it. “The average equine owner deserve to compost their horses’ manure without lot trouble,” claims Coleman. The end an outcome is a useful and also valuable resource you have the right to use come feed your farm’s plants and grasses. If composting is just not an choice on your property, consider hiring a private hauler to take it far weekly or monthly. “Some of the vermont stables contract with service providers to have actually an onsite roll-off dumpster the is hauled turn off weekly or together needed,” says Greene.