- Burn it: Dry horse manure during warm weather by regularly spreading it out and turning it. Once it's dry (you'll know it is when it becomes papery in texture), pile it and burn it. Caveat: First check burning regulations in your area. Side benefit: The slow-burning pile generates fly-repelling smoke.
- De-ice with it: In winter, use the super-heated soil produced by composting to melt icy areas in paddocks. (Compost piles generate heat even in cold weather.)
- Smile and dial: Contact local fertilizer users, such as mushroom growers, resorts, hotels, and parks departments. Ask if they could use the manure. An example: In one Ohio area, large horse operations that use straw bedding have their manure piles picked up by a soup company, which then uses the stuff to grow mushrooms for its cream-of-mushroom soup.
- Ride on it: Spread your manure/bedding mix in your arena and along trails to soften and deepen footing.
- Flower power: Use manure as mulch to build raised flower beds. Tip: Before planting, cover the bed with black plastic to "cook" and destroy weed seeds.
- Hug a tree: Mound manure around tree trunks. You'll not only fertilize your trees, but will also inhibit weed growth.
For more on manure management, contact these resources:
- Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service. Ask for its comprehensive On-Farm Composting Handbook. Contact: 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY, 14853-5701; (607) 255-7654; or e-mail NRAES@cornell.edu
- Alayne Blickle, Program Director for Horses for Clean Water. She has creative ideas for manure management, and conducts classes and seminars on the topic. Contact: (425) 432-6116; or e-mail ARBlickle@aol.com.
- Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It's listed in your phone book under federal government, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and/or Natural Resource Conservation Service.
- Soil Conservation District. Ask folks at the NRCS for this phone number or look for it under county listings in your phone book.
- Cooperative Extension Office. Check under county listings in your phone book. This article originally appeared in the May, 1999 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.
- Local solid waste department in your county. Look under county listings in your phone book.
- Your public library. Look for books and magazines that feature composting tips.
This article originally appeared in the May, 1999 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.