The Start of A Sustainable Horse Farm

Two horses out in large arena with sunrise in the background
Horses out in the arena enjoying the early morning sun

A year and a half ago I foolishly thought it’d be easy to build a horse farm from the ground up. I had a lot of success at first and I thought wow, this is so easy. Now, I’ve realized that I have so much more to learn and not nearly enough time to learn it. In the beginning I didn’t think about money, I just wanted people to come board so I kept prices low. My kindness and hopefulness has been both a blessing and a curse it brought a great community to me but at the same time I’ve ruined my finances (not for the first time).

I wonder, do I have what it takes to run a horse farm full time?

The real question I should be asking is- do I want to run a horse farm full time? My answer varies day by day. Some days I’m enjoying every second that at the farm and I rejoice in the progress we’ve made. Other days I look at the area around me and I just want to walk away from it all. Maybe I’d go and travel the world. Explore new places and get lost for a time.

Then I think about my horses, the ones I’ve taken responsibility of, I think about my barn cats and the barn dog.  Then I think about my boarders and how much they need the peace my facility provides. I don’t walk away because this plan is about more than just me. At times I look around and curse my curiosity and my creativeness- follow us on Instagram if you want to learn more about all the projects we have going on.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to make my farm sustainable and I want to make it a place all feel welcome at. I’m an introvert by nature and so, sharing my peace zone is something I dislike but again, this place, this facility isn’t about me. It’s about building community and helping those around me grow.

Where does this cross with sustainability?

Well, there are a few things I plan on implementing. At horse farms we waste a lot of water, a lot of valuable manure and a lot of time.

My action plan is to create a way to capture heat/ energy from decomposing manure. I want to use the compost created to feed the plants I want to grow.  We have to dump water buckets daily and instead of letting it go down the drain I plan on creating a gray water irrigation system to water the paddocks and the gardens I’ve started.  I want to put solar panels on the barn roof and use wind energy (if we get any) to help power the water pumps needed to move water around. Lastly, I want to have a composting toilet for the human occupants of the farm. The thing here is to stop being wasteful. Ideally, I’d like to reduce our carbon foot print to zero. That will take a lot of work and a lot of retraining of my community. We are after all a little bit lazy and we will have to step back and try to make ourselves brand new.

baby wearing yellow crochet long sleeve dress sitting on brown textile
Photo by J carter on

This is a journey I never expected to take. If you had asked me five years ago I wouldn’t have said I plan on developing and building a sustainable horse farm. However, here I am in the midst of planning this great adventure. Something, that is sure to have many bumps along the road. I just hope that my errors will help future barn owners run better barns that cost less, so we, as horse people can spend more time with the beasts we love so very much.

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