The care for horses can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. That is especially true when you are committed to an eco-friendly horse farm. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you increase sustainability. If you are considering purchasing a new horse farm or equestrian estate or upgrading your existing horse farm, take time to learn what types of sustainability practices can help make it a more environmentally-friendly horse property.

1. Install Rainwater Catchments

Nature provides copious amounts of free water in the form of rain. Unfortunately, it often falls in a feast or famine cycle, leaving you flooded out during some times and then facing drought for others. Using a rainwater catchment system can help you secure water during rainy periods and store it for when you need it. Depending on where your barn is located, you may be able to meet all of your horse watering and irrigation needs with a large catchment basin.

2. Take Solar Beyond Fencing

Plenty of horse owners run electric fencing with a solar-powered energizer, but that doesn’t take full advantage of the sun’s natural ability to produce clean energy. One of the greatest things about using solar for horse barns is that they can bring power to even the most remote locations. Consider adding a panel array and accompanying whole house battery back up to keep ventilation systems, lights and even heating or cooling systems running. Tax credits and rebates for residential and commercial solar panels systems make it an affordable way to power even large barn operations.

3. Embrace Passive Power

Sometimes, you don’t have to worry about a power supply at all. In fact, you can accomplish a lot of tasks in a barn without flipping a single switch. Take warm water as an example. It helps with washing your hands and tack, and, let’s be honest, many horses enjoy a warm bath when the weather is starting to cool down. While heating water in a barn can be costly and less than eco-friendly, a passive solar water heater can solve that problem. Air drying blankets, sheets and saddle pads over a fence or on a clothesline is another great way to cut back on energy use. Use natural ventilation systems like open stalls and elevated vents to create comfortable interior spaces without the need for fans.

4. Implement Sustainable Pasture Practices

Pastures can be a great source of food for horses, but they require a good bit of care. Much of that can be done in a sustainable way. Think for a minute how much natural fertilizer your horses produce each day. If you’ve had to clean out stalls, you have a pretty good idea of how quickly this can add up. In a pasture setting, all of that fertilizer returns to the soil to encourage healthy forage crops. Hooves can compact soil and create drainage difficulty, but rotational grazing can minimize that impact and improve soil structure. You also want pastures to have a healthy mix of grasses with a minimal amount of weeds, yet you need to be very careful about using herbicides where horses will be grazing.

5. Use Recycled and Renewable Materials

If you are building or renovating barn structures, look at using recycled or renewable materials whenever possible. You can source a lot of very good lumber from older buildings that have been torn down. In some cases, you can even have an entire barn moved to your location, either intact or piece by piece. If you prefer new building materials with minimal environmental impact, you have plenty of options. Bamboo is one such material. It is renewable and incredibly eco-friendly, plus it offers an attractive finish to wooden surfaces. It can be difficult to source lumber and framing materials from bamboo, so you may have to limit its applications. Recycled rubber stall mats are an easier way to integrate recycled materials into your barn’s interior.

Horse barns are the perfect place to implement sustainability practices. From pasture management to using renewable materials in construction, you can have a horse barn and still retain your commitment to the environment.

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