Smart Horse Keeping

How to Size Your Horse's Paddock?

A sacrifice area is a small enclosure, often called a paddock, corral, or pen, meant to be your horse's outdoor living quarters. Technically it is called a sacrifice area because you are giving up use of that small portion of land as a grassy area to benefit your pasture. Horses should be confined in sacrifice areas to avoid overgrazing and especially in winter months when plants are dormant and soils... Read More

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Mud Management 102: Paddock Footing

Mud = yuck! At this time of the year mud becomes a common occurrence in many horse paddocks until summer when things dry out. If mud is an issue on your horse property you may be under the impression that it is an unavoidable part of having horses. But it doesn’t have to be! There are simple changes you can make to reduce or even eliminate mud on your property. Before footing addition In a previous... Read More

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Set Up a Winter Water Supply

Winter has sneaked in and hit many parts of the northern United States. For those not fully prepared, now is probably your last chance to set up a water supply that won’t freeze or get icy cold. A horse drinks 8 to 12 gallons of water per day, and horses prefer water temperatures of about 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit and tend to drink less when water is cold. Keep in mind that research tells us that a... Read More

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Build a Low-Cost Hay Feeder

Tired of seeing your horse eating in mud? Or wasting hay that gets buried in filth? Here’s any easy, low-cost way to build a chore-efficient feeder. We built three, one for each horse in our group pen where we are temporarily housing horses while building permanent facilities for them. Since we moved in this summer we’ve been feeding on the ground – not a very satisfactory solution since horses that... Read More

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Alternative Beddings: Save Money, Ease Your Workload

The follow up from last week’s Smart Horse Keeping post on using stall mats is talking about alternative bedding products. The point to any bedding is that it should absorb urine and moisture. Using a highly absorbent bedding means that you won’t need to use as much of it. Reducing bedding saves you time and money in many ways: Ease of stall cleaning, Less stall waste to deal with, Less cost, Less... Read More

Reducing Bedding Saves Money and Time

Using less bedding can save you time and money. Less bedding use means cleaning stalls will be easier and quicker (since you won’t have to hunt around for manure hidden in mounds of shavings). It also means you end up with less stall waste to deal with. If you compost, it means that you’ll have less carbon in your compost so it will compost better and faster--and you’ll end up with a nicer finished... Read More

Emergency and Winter Preparedness

No matter where you live in North America, you may have been hearing that long-range weather forecasts are calling for some pretty bad weather for many parts of the country. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports sea surface temperatures along the equator have decreased dramatically, setting us up for a strong La Nina in the season ahead. Generally speaking La Nina, an ocean-atmosphere... Read More

Purchase Your Winter Supply of Hay

If you haven't already done so, fall is the time to buy your winter supply of hay. Be sure to look for green, leafy, fresh-smelling hay without mold, weeds, dust or discoloration. Recent nutritional recommendations are for a horse to receive 2% of its body weight in hay (or forage) per day. For the "average" 1000 lb. horse with moderate exercise that will be about 20 pounds of hay per day. This is... Read More

Mud Management 101: Gutters & Downspouts

A simple investment of making sure your gutters and downspouts are in good working order will greatly benefit you, your horses and the environment over the coming winter months. Fall is the right time to clean as well as make needed repairs or additions to your roof runoff system for all barns, sheds and outbuildings. Diverting clean rainwater away from high-traffic areas reduces the amount of pollutants... Read More

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Winter-Time Chore Efficiency Starts With Good Lighting!

This time of the year everything on our small horse ranch is all about winterizing. Heading into fall, chore efficiency is my main mantra. If we can set things up so the barn and horses are easy to manage and chores can be accomplished with a minimum amount of hassle, then it's more likely that things will get done later on when it's cold, rainy or snowy, windy and dark. Speaking of dark, having good... Read More

About This Blog

Smart Horsekeeping aims to provide practical advice for managing horses in a more environmentally friendly way, and on navigating difficult economic times as a hands-on horse owner. Our bloggers believe it’s possible to keep horses in an environmentally savvy way without breaking the bank!