Best Management Practices for Horses


With a population of 168,000 horses in New York that produce between 1,344,000 to 1,512,000 tons of manure annually, protecting the environment can be a challenge for horse owners. Another major concern caused by horses is increased erosion. Without the use of proper management techniques, nutrients from manure and erosion can have a significant impact on water quality. Runoff of water from rain or melting snow can pick up and carry contaminants such as nutrients, pathogens, and bacteria from manure and soil particles. Then, they are deposited in streams, lakes, or ponds where they contaminate the water. This contamination of water can make it unsuitable for drinking, cause health problems in humans, destroy wildlife and aquatic habitat, and make it unsuitable to use for recreational activities. Managing manure and pastures in order to keep nutrient, soil, parasites and pathogens from entering ground water and waterways can be a challenge, but utilization of best management practices or BMPs can help solve the problem. Many best management practices can be used singly or in combination to protect water resources.