It is true that not everyone can keep a horse. A horse can be a domestic animal or a pet, but taking care of them is a full-time job that many are not yet ready for. Even when people are prepared to commit to the manual labor, paying for their daily diet, specialized care, vaccines, and medication become a hassle. Horses require extensive medical care throughout their lives. Their infections and diseases are as complicated as human sicknesses, if not more. And just like human beings, they require proper protection and care even after their vaccines to remain healthy.
Looking after horse health and maintaining an environmentally friendly farm go hand in hand. Here are a few ways you can ensure better protection for your equine buddies from infectious diseases –
Forget the size, focus on management
The size of a horse farm is rarely the problem. Even a small farm with proper drainage, sanitation, and composting infrastructure can be conducive for the proper health of a horse. In the US, the small farms with poor management are leading sources of infectious diseases in horses. They are also the top causes of non-point source water pollution, according to the EPA.
Keep few horses for better health
For small farms, overstocking is a serious problem. You need to reduce the number of horses on your pasture for ensuring proper nutrition and infection control. Keeping a healthy count of horses will allow the fields to rest and it will give you the opportunity to compost correctly for natural manure. All the horse breeders and farms that produce show quality horses keep a limited number of horses and breed only one or two per year. Get more information on TVG.
Always cover the manure
Small acreage farms that do not have an excellent composting infrastructure are not only putting the health of the horses at risk, but they are also threatening the wellbeing of the human occupants. You can also put your neighbors at risk by not covering the manure pile. You may not have the funds and equipment to compost, so you expect an outsourcing company to pick the manure up twice a week. In mean meanwhile, collect the manure from the paddock and cover it with a tarp to prevent leaching.
Restrict movement on wet pasture
Do not let your livestock and other animals graze on wet paddocks. They will compact the soil and overgraze. It will increase the nutrient leaching problems and worsen the erosion problems on your farm. Restrict their movement and grazing during the monsoon to one part only. That way they might compact the soil of a small area, but leave the majority of the pasture pristine.
Always invest in rain gutters for the shades. If possible, install downspouts for your stables and your home. The farm will be free from excess mud, and it will control the leaching problem to some extent. Do not forget to plant native species. Along with the natural grass cover, these endemic plants will create buffer strips around the paddock that will filter the sediments, absorb excess nutrients and provide you with a sustainable solution to the erosion problem.
Your farm should be a creation that makes you proud. It should nurture the horses, and it should be an eco-friendly space for all livestock.