I thought it might be a good idea to feature each BMP (Best Management Practice) for horses and horse farms individually so that eco-minded horse owners could get this information in one place…HERE! I have already written about using Solar on horse farms and this post will give you the “ins and out” and “how-tos” for composting manure. Even if you board your horse there is a way for you to compost the manure it generates for your home garden.
Composting has so many benefits to your farm and the environment. Most people understand the benefits composted manure can have to your soil when spread but did you know a well maintained composting system can reduce your pile by 50%? Reduce flies and parasite (worm) eggs as well as reduce weeds?
While researching I came across several websites that done all the hard work. So why rewrite the info if it already is out there in a really great way? Here is a link to my favorite, very thorough explanation of horse farm composting for you:
If you would like to contact someone about building a composting system for your farm the best in the business is O2 Compost
If you board your horse but want to use horse manure in your own household or garden composting system, here is a terrific link to home composting basics:
So there ya have it! Everything you need to know about What To Do With All That Poo! If you still need more info try contacting your local Soil & Water conservation District or Cooperative Extension Service.
~Til we meet again!
Everyone has grabbed an apple or carrot from the fridge to share with their horse as they headed out to the barn but did you know that there are tons of other things you can find in the kitchen that you can take too? Actually there is stuff around your entire house but that’s another blog post!
The full list of other stuff is at the end of this post but I wanted to focus on the following five things because I am really seeing the benefits for me and my horse.
1) Aloe Vera juice– I take this everyday either straight up or mixed in my morning shake. I have the world’s worst stomach but I love to eat fun things and have the occasional drink. Daily dosing helps with the digestive tract but if I know I might imbibe I take a juice glass full. Aloe coats my stomach and the effects of my merriment aren’t an issue anymore.
It does the same for your horse. Aloe is high in digestible fiber, which gives it the properties of lowering bowel transit time, absorbing toxins in the bowel, regulating colonic bacteria, and soothing and protecting the digestive tract. Aloe also contains a complex mixture of mucopolysaccharides (complex sugars) that nourish cells and support them in replicating.
You can add about ¼ cup to your horse’s diet twice a day to reap the benefits.
2) Chia seeds- these little seeds are really making some waves in both human and horse health. Entire companies are being founded just to offer you and your horse the benefits of chia. My use started when l read that they are a great way to rid your body of toxins. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water and form a bulky gel. This benefit can help your horse digest nutrients and reduce ulcers.
Chia seeds are the highest naturally occurring source of Omega-3 fatty acids, with a 3:1 ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s. So this adds an anti-inflammatory property to chia seeds. Omega-3s can help reduce pain and swelling. If you aren’t convinced yet, chia seeds are a complete source of protein, so they also build muscle and topline!
I use and feed US Chia because I know the source, find the company terrific to work with and they offer many sizes. I use only a teaspoon a day in my shake but a typical 1,000 pound horse can eat a maintenance dose of 1/4 cup (1 scoop) of US Chia Seeds each day. If your horse has not been on a supplement program, you can feed a loading dose of 1/2 cup (2 scoops) of US Chia Seeds each day for 2 weeks.
3) Herbal teas- I drink herbal tea all day long. I start my day with a hot cup of Chai then soak a de-tox tea bag in my water bottle for the day. I love the effects of the herbs in the teas, they can wake me up, calm me, sooth my stomach or help me sleep.
Your horse might also enjoy some warm herbal tea. Some of the medicinal effects herbal teas offer us can be good for horses too. I soak four tea bags in a quart of warm water pour it over some beet pulp. Here are some of my favorites to share with my horse:
~ Yarrow- My go to detox tea and anti-inflammatory tea. The silica found in this plant helps repair damaged or worn out tissues in the body. It’s great for a senior horse because yarrow stimulates appetite and improves digestion as well as nutrient absorption.
~ Ginger- In people, ginger ale and ginger beer help settle an upset stomach, and ginger tea is sometimes used for nausea. So it stands to reason that ginger tea might also be good for equine tummy trouble or possible gas colic. Ginger is in the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom, all of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
~ Peppermint: Is known as a healing plant. Peppermint tea can help with digestion and can help to prevent some forms of gas and possibly gas colic in horses.
~ Rose hips: This herb has recently become a popular natural treatment for arthritis. Rose hips are also nutrient rich; full of bioflavonoids, pectin, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, and B vitamins, and also contain trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, sulfur and silicon.
4) Table Salt– We add salt to our diets because we think it makes food taste better. The benefit to salt or salty foods is that it stimulates the thirst response so we drink more, staying hydrated. This is also true for your horse.
Triggering this response in cold weather can help promote enough water consumption to prevent dehydration and prevent colics. When it’s hot and your horse is sweating (up to a gallon an hour!) salt will help replace what is lost from perspiration.
A full-sized horse requires at least one ounce (two level tablespoons or 30 ml) of salt each day for maintenance, this much provides 12 grams of sodium. The best way to do this is to include offering free-choice iodized granulated salt.
Remember to calculate the amount of sodium your horse is already getting from any commercial feeds or supplements you feed, then add salt accordingly.
5) Coconut oil– I wrote an in-depth article for the Holistic Horse about using coconut oil and meal in the equine diet but there’s even more to the story than that. I use coconut oil on my hair and coconut oil is without question my favorite body lotion. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily feeling at all. It makes skin incredibly silky and has wonderful antibacterial/antimicrobial properties.
The same is true for Trigger. You can apply coconut oil to improve your horse’s mane, tail, wounds and hoofs. If fed to your horse it is a great source of fat and protein and is easy for horses to digest. We sell a cocosoya oil product that I really love!
Those are my top five things I share with my horse but there are many, many more. I will be expanding on these in a later post and I would love to hear about others you might use!
The expanded list:
For Immune System:
Apple Cider Vinegar
For Weight Gain:
For Stomach and Digestion:
For Bug Control:
Apple Cider Vinegar
For Picky Eaters:
Dawn Dish washing liquid
Hope this helps you keep yourself and your horse Healthy and Happy!!
~Til we meet again,
Finally, here in Virginia, we can leave the barn windows open and start the tiddying up process called Spring cleaning. While searching for ideas I came across this blog post from SmartBarn which had so many great ideas and recipes I had to share it. So get ready to get cleaning!!
– Baking Soda
– White Vinegar
– Olive Oil
– Lemon Juice
– Liquid Castile soap ( natural dish soap will work too)
– Essential Oil (optional)
Keep that fresh scent going and to help deter insects
– Bucket, sponges, rags, scrub brush, tooth brush, newspaper, spray bottle, old plastic containers with lids.
You can pretty much clean anything with this recipe but for other areas she offers more “green cleaning” …….
Windows– 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup H2O, 1/4 cup lemon juice. Mix in spray bottle. Spray on, wipe of with newspaper for a streak free shine! P.S. Always do your windows on a cloudy day.Stall walls– Grab your bucket and scrub brush. Add to a bucket of warm H2O: 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup baking soda and some liquid soap. Now get scrubbing- you may have to let it sit for a few minutes to get the really “crusty” stuff off. Rinsing is easier the less soap you put into your mixture. Play around with the ratio and find what works for you. I like to rinse using a spray bottle.
Stall fronts and other wood surfaces– This is a cleaner and conditioner. 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 vinegar, 1 tsp. (this is where I like to add essential oils like lavender and peppermint to help deter flies). Mix in a container or spray bottle, apply and rub down with a rag.
Brushes and totes– In your bucket add warm H2O, 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar add a bit of liquid soap. Swish it around and add your brushes, swish them around. Let them sit for a couple of hours, take them out, rinse them off and set them out to dry in the sun. Clean and disinfected! Save the H20 from your bucket and dump it into your plastic brush tote and use the same process.
Stall, rug, and dog freshener– Strip your stalls and let them air out for a while; before rebedding sprinkle baking soda liberally around the stall. This will help to neutralize the odors. Now for the rug and the dog. Sprinkle baking soda, let sit for and hour, and throw it over the fence and beat it with a broom- not the dog- the rug! For the dog, just dust him and leave it on. It will not bother even the most sensitive of skin.
Bits, irons, sinks, and countertops– In your container make a paste out of baking soda and a bit of vinegar, to the consistency of your liking and get polishing! Use a toothbrush for bits and irons; a sponge for the sink and countertops. For stubborn stains let your “soft scrub” sit for a while- the vinegar will bleach them out.
– For the microwave set a cup of vinegar inside and “cook” for 1 min. Let it sit in there for a few mins. The vinegar steam will loosen the petrified splatters enough to wipe clean. For anything that is still remaining, use your paste to scrub it away. For the coffee maker run a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 H2O through a cycle to remove the lime scale build up. Run 2 rounds of just H2O through after that to rinse it clean. Finally, use your paste and the window cleaner on the refrigerator to make it sparkle. Leave an open box of baking soda in there to keep that funky smell away.
Hope this got you inspired and check out the other posts on her blog and her great plant-based grooming/health products. http://www.smartbarnsolutions.com/blog
Til we meet again,
Remember that what you put on or in your horse ends up in the soil and water. Why not use plant-based products? We have a complete selection on our Horse Hippie Shop.
I will be presenting on nutrition (as The Equine Nutrition Nerd) and will give my How A Trip To Home Depot Can Help You Understand Equine Digestion demo. Here is a video clip of the demo but I give it using volunteers and the real items from the store! Such fun!
Our Horse Hippie pop-up shop booth will have TONS of cool stuff for your shopping pleasure to help you live a Horsey, Healthy and Happy life :-) From headbands, to scarves, to tops and bags! We even have hand crafted horsey jewelry and super comfy hippie harem pants!
Hope to see you there,