Welcome Horse Owners!
Chesapeake Bay Horse Farm Project | Helpful Information | Pastures | Facility Management | Manure Management
We are pleased that you are visiting the horse owners page
where we’ll share District ideas, programs, events, and
opportunities especially for horse owners. Many Prince William
County horse owners are already familiar with our mission and
services. We have visited many of your properties, learned about your
concerns and objectives, and are working with you to develop and
implement solutions. Your overwhelming interest and support
continues to keep us extremely busy! We thank you for your
commitment to protecting community waters.
We have been actively working with horse owners, teaching them about water quality and land stewardship, with a targeted program, for the past ten years. The Chesapeake Bay~Friendly Horse Farm Project is the evolution of our outreach culminiating in this "Extreme Makeover-Horse Farm Edition" using both innovative and tested Best Management Practices designed specifically for horse properties. These practices improve horse health, chore-efficiency, property aesthetics and maximize acreage without degrading natural resources. We have documented the whole process, and results, step by step in the narratives you will find below. If you haven't visited the Horse Farm we will be happy to include you in our next tour.
As you read through the many articles we will introduce you to
Environmentally Sensitive and Sensible Horsekeeping. Most topics will focus on
the management of mud, manure, and pastures. We hope to provide you
with the tools to evaluate your land stewardship skills and the
inspiration to begin to make needed changes. The steps you take will
benefit not only your horses and property, but also local waterways
that eventually reach the Chesapeake Bay.
Facts about horses and the Chesapeake Bay
"The leading threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay is excess nitrogen and phosphorous pollution that destroys habitat and causes fish kills.
Top sources of these pollutants include agriculture, sewage treatment plants, runoff from urban and suburban areas, and air pollution from automobiles, factories, and power plants. Other threats to the Bay's health include sprawl, toxic pollution, and poor fishery management." ~ Chesapeake Bay Foundation
In 2006, over 132,300 equines resided in Virginia counties within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
. That is over 61% of the total equines within the state. This number has likely grown significantly since 2006. ~ Equine Survey Report 2006; Reported by the Virginia Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service; Chesapeake Bay Foundation provided maps of Virginia counties in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
An average 1,000 lb. horse produces 45 pounds of manure per day, 16,425 pounds (8.2 tons) per year.
The average amount of manure from one horse per day
is about equivalent to the sewage needs of a community of fifteen people per day
. ~ Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District with 2006 Equine Survey Report data
In 2006, equine operations in Virginia contributed approximately $783 million to the economy.
This included farrier fees, boarding fees, equipment purchases, hay, grain, bedding, utilities, travel and lodging, advertising, maintenance repair expenses, taxes, etc. ~ Equine Survey Report 2006; Reported by the Virginia Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
If you are in the dreaming or beginning stages of setting up a horse facility...
You can get good information on the expenses entailed in a horse facility Basic Costs of Keeping a Horse
provided by Virginia Cooperative Extension
and contact us
for our FREE
expert technical assistance.
Virginia Agricultual Cost-Share and Tax credit program is now accepting applications for the current fiscal year. Contact us for eligibility.
Horse Keeping - A Guide to Land Management for Clean Water
, a publication of Natural Resources Conservation Service
Agriculture Management Practices for Commercial Equine Operations
, a publication of Rutgers University.
We offer your contact information to gardeners who would like to pick up your composted manure. To be a part of our Gardener's Gold
Urban Soil Enhancement program, email us with your contact information to be included in the publication firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it safe to use composted manure on my garden?
READ THIS INFORMATION BEFORE YOU USE COMPOSTED MANURE IN YOUR GARDEN OR LANDSCAPE
"There have been a number of reports from organic farmers and home gardeners of damage to vegetables following application of aged and composted horse and cattle manure to the soil. The symptoms exhibited on the crops are twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves; misshapen fruit; reduced yield; death of young plants; and poor seed germination. One possibility for the source of this crop injury is the presence of certain herbicides in manure and compost, reports Jeanine Davis in the report Herbicide Carryover in Manure
Additional information from Greg Evanylo, Professor and Extension Specialist, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech has been received regarding non-compostable herbicide. "DuPont has developed and is marketing a relatively new post-emergent broadleaf weed herbicide, Imprelis (TM), for turfgrass that contains the same active ingredient, aminocyclopyrachlor, that has previously demonstrated residual phytotoxicity to many plant species after composting. Although the herbicide is intended for use by only commercial applicators, it would be prudent to be aware of the scope of its use. The label regarding composting states Do not use grass clippings from treated areas for mulching or compost, or allow for collection to composting facilities. Grass clippings must either be left on the treated area, or, if allowed by local yard waste regulations, disposed of in the trash. Applicators must give verbal or written notice to property owner/property manager/residents to not use grass clippings from treated turf for mulch or compost."
Pyridine Herbicide Carryover: Causes and Precautions
, prepared by Pat Hipkins, Assistant Coordinator, Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs, provides additional information on plant injury due to residual herbicides.
The Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Horse Farm Project
is a public/private partnership that has created a model horse farm for the purpose of identifying and sharing land management practices that benefit horsekeepers and the environment. Through this web site, seminars, farm tours, and other on-site workshops we want to share information about the sensible and environmentally-sensitive horsekeeping practices that we have used.
Oakwood Farm is a private property. Appointments may be made for a tour by calling 571.379.7514.
The Final Report of the Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Horse Farm Project
PWSWCD has been actively working with horse owners, teaching them about water quality and land stewardship with a targeted program in 1999. This latest project in the evolution of our outreach program establishes the first horse farm under contract to be used as a model. The expertise gained in the past ten years has culminated in the "extreme makeover" of this farm using both innovative and tested Best Management Practices that work for horse properties specifically. The farm owner has committed to a legal agreement to maintain the established practices at her expense for a ten year period and to support our outreach goals. The farm is being used to educate, motivate, and inspire improved land management techniques which benefit the environnment and in many ways may improve horse health.
from Senator Mark Warner.
The installation of Best Management Practices, also known as BMPs, began in late March 2009 and has continued through the completion in June 2010.
If you don't have time to read our lengthy reports, here's a quick guide to finding the topics of interest to you:
(click on the heading to read the full reports and links to vendors and detailed information)
In the beginning there was a vision to assist the growing horse population in Prince William County.
Installation of streamside buffer fencing
Insallation of the sacrifice area/bluestone dust confinement paddocks
Gutters and downspouts on the barn
Fencing around the sacrifice area paddocks
Pasture renovation (southern pastures)
Automatic, non-electric, water trough installation
Interior fencing installation
Stream buffer improvements
Runoff management in the sacrifice area
Nokesville Horse Society visit
Installation of high-tensile fencing
Modifications to the interior fencing
Pasture renovation (northern pastures)
Automatic, non-electric, water trough performance in 18" of snow
O2 composter installation - manure management
Use of Stable Grid
Restrictive Feeding Techniques Using Hay Nets
Hay nets, round bale nets, hay boxes - If you have less than 2-3 acres of pasture turnout for each of your horses, you'll need to keep your horses off the pasture at different times of the year to keep the pasture from becoming damaged by overgrazing. Since horses evolved to graze constantly you may want to consider finding a way to offer your horses hay that mimics grazing. Horses with limited access to forage may develop ulcers, chew wood, crib, weave, or develop other undesirable behaviors.
Read more about keeping your horses happy and healthy: Restrictive Free Feeding - designs and sources for buidling supplies. Need more help? Click Here.
Water Quality Improvement
Best Management Practices
This project received funding from the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
, via grant number 2007-WQIF-19, and supported by many grant partners
Photos of Oakwood Farm during Spring 2009 construction
|Barnyard Before Construction
||Sacrifice Area After Construction
|Waterer Before Construction
||Waterer After Construction
Another testimonial from one of our clients who received assistance from our conservation specialist is getting started on the right foot with the development of their horse property.
"We're very thankful for all the assistance PWSWCD has provided - as first time horse farm owner's we are really going to benefit from all the expertise and help. Your Conservation Specialist has shared a wealth of information, including soil analysis, fertilization planning, pasture management, and more. She even brought an engineer out to the property to analyze water runoff and provide simple ways to manage erosion. It's all helping us to prioritize our improvements, and make good investments in the property. We can't wait to watch it all pay off! Best of all, PWSWCD is an absolute pleasure to work with. Thank you!" Brad and Emily Gardner
Support for Budding "Grass-Farmers"
Cost Saving Opportunities through Services
Are you already well on your way to creating green pastures and cleaner waters?
If so, we'd like to recognize your efforts! The District has handsome(free!) metal signs that indicate your commitment to protecting community waters in your role as a District "Cooperator." We think they're a "must-have" for the environmentally conscious horse-keeper. Hang it on your farm with pride. Call the District if you've cooperated in the past, if you've been doing the right thing all along, or if you're ready to start earning your sign. We'd like to see them everywhere!
Embrace your vision for your horse property and achieve it on a budget! Here's what we can do for you...
Whether you own
a few acres, or a large farm, we offer FREE technical assistance
to all Prince William
Any time is a good time to get started with improving your
developing your new property.
We have the expertise to make your operation efficient in ease of use, effective in using the best tools for your situation, cost effective by giving you exact material recommendations and timing for implementation for your specific property
. Call us at
571.379.7514, or e-mail email@example.com
Tips for Horse Owners
and a 15 question quiz....what is your score?
Power Outage... be prepared for electrical outages at your horse facility
Don't get caught unprepared for an extended power outage. These publications will steer you in the right direction: Choosing and Installing a Emergency Generators
, guidance from Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and Farm Generator
-Virginia Cooperative Extension publication.