Scotts of Thrapston has produced these top 10 tips for making your yard more environmentally friendly:
1. Recycle and Reuse Materials
Reusing materials does not have to be ugly, with some thought and imagination trawling through reclamation yards and junk shops can unearth items to fit out your tack room, feed room or stable toilet and inject character and time-worn charm to a setting.
2. Responsibly sourced wood
Check that your supply of wood from your manufacturer or for future repairs is responsibly sourced and carries appropriate accreditations.
3. Look out for new eco friendly materials
Scotts stables can be fitted with Metrotile, which is an eco-friendly option that can mimic slate and terracotta tiles. They are extremely lightweight so fewer carbon emissions are expended during transportation and they are fully recyclable.
Many companies sell planters, fencing and furniture made from recycled materials. We have listed a few examples here:
Recycled Fencing: https://www.recycledfurniture.co.uk/Fencing-Decking-Planks
Recycled Plastic Benches: https://www.ecoplasticwood.com/product-range/plastic-wood-furniture/
4. Conserve water
Water conservation can be very useful for soaking hay, so install a butt on every practical downpipe in your yard.
This example can double as a planter: https://bit.ly/2tY4RqN
Or go for a more traditional look with a rustic oak barrel: https://bit.ly/2XMmbNl
If you have the space, consider rainwater harvesting and an underground rain tank. Larger ones can be set up to flush your WC. Alternatively, if you don’t have the space, you could install a bio-toilet which reduces water consumption.
5. Use Natural Horse Bedding
If you opt for 100% natural, organically cultivated hemp bedding, such as Aubiose, you will contributing to the environment. Aubiose completes its own ‘life cycle loop’ which composts readily without the need for added composting agents. Find out more from the Aubiose website.
6. Managing weeds, poisonous plants and trees
It is always best to hand pull your weeds around animals, when they are in small amounts. If you have a large infestation, then chemicals may unfortunately be the only option.
Here is a list of plants and trees that you will need to manage if they appear on your pasture:
Ragwort, Foxglove, Deadly nightshade, Buttercups (ok in dry hay), Acorns, Sycamore, Yews, Privet, Rhododendron, Maple
7. Healing horses through herbs
There are so many herbs that can benefit horses and attract wildlife to your pasture. Here is an extensive list that you could look at introducing on your land:
Agrimony, Alfalfa, Angelica, Avens, Balm, Bedstraw, Borage, Burdock, Burnet, Calamint, Centaury, Chamomile, Chervil, Chickweed, Chicory, Clary Sage, Cleavers, Clover (Red), Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Cornflour, Couch, Cowslip, Cranesbill, Cuckoo Flower, Daisy, Dandelion, Dill, Eyebright, Fat hen, Fennel, Fenugreek, Feverfew, Flax, Fumitory, Garlic, Goats Rue, Groundsel, Hawkweed, Hawthorn (Berry), Hedge Mustard, Hemp Agrimony, Herb Robert, Hogweed, Hops, Horehound, Horseradish Ivy, Jack by the Hedge, Knapweed, Lady’s mantle, Liquorice, Mallow, Marigold, Marjoram, Meadowsweet, Medick, Melilot, Milk Thistle, Milkwort, Mint, Motherwort, Mouse Ear, Mullein Nettles, Parsley, Penny Royal, Peppermint, Pimpernel, Plantain, Primrose, Purslane, Ramsons, Raspberry Rattle (semi-parasitic), Red Clover, Restharrow
Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Scabious, Selfheal, Sheep’s Sorrel, Shepherd’s Purse, Sorrel, Speedwell, Sunflower, Thistle, Thyme, Toadflax, Vervain, Vetch, Water Avens, Watercress, Willow, Witch Hazel, Woodruff, Wood Betony, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle
8. Planting horse friendly hedgerows
Choosing to plant hedgerows can reduce fencing costs and provide food and shelter, creating perfect habitats for beneficial wildlife. Select a blend of hedgerows specially formulated for horses which will also provide some extra nutritional value to their diet. http://www.farmandgardensupplies.co.uk/Hedging-Plants–Trees/Hedgerow-Planting-Ideas.Html
Interestingly, traditional hedgerows are also favoured by planners, from a visual perspective, as well as the fact that they attract wildlife.
9. Keep pests at bay
The most eco way of keeping pests, such a mice and rats, at bay is to take on a couple of feral cats. Contact Cats Protection for more information to offer a house to a mouser https://www.cats.org.uk/house-a-mouser
Wasps can be killed using washing up liquid in a spray gun, ensure your body is covered when carrying out this treatment. They can also be prevented by putting up a decoy wasp nest such as: https://amzn.to/2XO0oVh
10. Improve your soil
Testing your paddock soil and treating the paddocks accordingly can save you money in feed and vets bills making it a more natural way to keep your horse in top condition, plus lower emissions in the transporting of extra feed to your yard.
Set up a composting system for your muck so you can spread this on your pasture. Manure that has been composted properly will not have any negative effects on your worm counts.
Compost soaks up water like a sponge, too so it is useful for keeping your paddocks well drained.
You can also add the following to your compost heap without any adverse effects: Lawn clippings, wood ash (in moderation), hedge trimmings, vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg boxes, leaves, shredded newspaper / cardboard and vacuum cleaner contents.