horses and barn

Horse facilities come with many unanticipated costs and challenges. Changing local regulations, damage from storms and other weather events, and limited resources interrupt day-to-day operations. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical tactics designed to mitigate the cost and impact of these challenges.

BMPs aim to improve the sustainability of horse properties by maximizing the resiliency of the land and waters that service the facility.  Although implementing BMPs often requires an upfront investment, BMPs generate cost savings over the long term. In some cases, these savings are significant.

BMPs cover a range of issues. Each BMP focuses on a particular challenge for horse properties, like pasture management or manure handling.  BMPs are highly localized. While all of the issues covered by BMPs apply broadly to all horse facilities, the actual implementation tactics vary greatly by region.

Best Management Practices Can Help Your Bottom Line, is a guide developed by ELCR with support from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation that explains best management practices for horse properties. The guide consists of an introduction and three key topic areas: Managing Soil, Managing Water, and Planning and Managing Horse Facilities. Each section contains articles relating to specific sub topic areas. The articles, which include links to local resources, introduce the basics that any horse facility manager needs to know about BMP.

Funding is available from local, state and federal coffers to help improve the environmental quality of targeted areas. For example, a horse facility in a sensitive watershed may be eligible for a 50 percent grant to install a manure composting facility. Programs vary by locality.

Your local Extension Office can help you with specific BMP’s for your area. You can find your local Extension Office by clicking here or here.

Best Management Practices Overview

Topic Area:  Managing Soil

Pasture Management
Pasture Rotation as a Technique for Managing Grazing
Pasture Edges and Gateways
Manure Management
Soil Conditions and Soil Protection
Sacrifice Lots

Topic Area: Managing Water
Infiltration Basins and Rain Gardens
Vegetated Buffers
Natural and Engineered Wetlands
Healthy Streams for Water Quality

Topic Area: Planning and Managing Horse Facilities
Endangered Species, National Historic Landmarks and Your Property
Site Planning
Paving Surfaces
Wildlife Friendly Fencing
End of Life Issues