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Message from Alayne: Overcoming Winter Woes with Environmentally Friendly Horse Keeping

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Providing winning solutions for horse management and the environment since 1997

Message from Alayne: Overcoming Winter Woes with Environmentally Friendly Horse Keeping

Alayne Blickle

Drip, drip, drip. The seemingly endless sound of snow, ice, and rain coming off our barn roof and accumulating in the gutters can be wearing. Some years, spring just seems to take its sweet time showing up and winter refuses to relinquish its grip.

Like many of you, I long for the summer breeze on my face, the delight of watching a parade of colorful native bees in the nodding flowers of our pollinator hedgerow, and the thrill of riding in the Owyhee Mountains, perhaps catching a fleeting glimpse of a coyote or jack rabbit. The sound of melting ice only reminds me of what it’s not right now.

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I am grateful that the work I do helps me and others get through these wintry times with grace and chore efficiency. Some of these techniques include having an assortment of the right tools for manure management, as well as proper gutters and downspouts. Even choosing the right paddock footing is more comfortable for your horses to stand on all day and means more chore-efficient manure removal for you.

The wonderful thing about most of the techniques that I partner with conservation districts to teach is that they aren’t expensive or particularly labor-intensive. (Okay, I said most! I do realize that installing a French drain or building a cement compost bin is a big deal—but then again, the payoffs for those techniques are huge as well!) 

And not only do making these changes benefit horse health and make our chores smoother, but they also allow us to be good stewards of the land by reducing runoff into creeks or irrigation ditches—and potentially keeping our drinking water clean, too.

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If weather where you live has had an impact on your horse operation, make plans to join Horses for Clean Water for some fantastic opportunities to learn new techniques for environmentally friendly horsekeeping. We are available in person at many upcoming events, as well as through live online events. I can also help via phone consultations, and we have Tip Sheets available here on our website. A small investment will create a big payoff, so check it out and let me know how I can help!

Alayne