Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District
By Kate Norris
Embrace Your Vision For Your Horse Property And Achieve It On A Budget!
What is your vision for your horse farm? To put it more concretely, as my friend Robin Lancaster of Blue Top Farm likes to put it, "When you look out your window with your morning coffee what do you want to see?"
My life as a conservationist began almost 10 years ago but my life as an equestrian began at the age of four when a friend of my grandparents, now is his nineties, took me on a trail ride on a pony named Trigger in rural Illinois. Summer rides on Trigger remained the highlight of my equestrian adventures until my parents FINALLY came to their senses and bought me my first pony at the age of eleven. Horses have been a part of my life ever since.
My love of horses and my career in the horse industry took an unexpected turn when I accepted a position with the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District in 1999 to begin an outreach effort in our horse community. I've learned that natural resource conservation techniques (known as Best Management Practices) provide a common sense approach to create horse farms that care for the physical and psychological health of our horses, maintain healthy pastures, protect community waterways, and make our farms aesthetically pleasing. Additional benefits include chore-efficiency and economical benefits from a practical farm layout.
Practicing what I preach hasn't been much of a challenge in the sense that I truly want a pretty, functional farm, happy horses, and appreciative neighbors. My view from the bay window wasn't as scenic several years ago as it is today. It took time, knowledge and then dedication to some very basic principles. My small-acreage horse property still isn't perfect but I'm pleased with what I see through my window. Here are the basic techniques to use:
Your farm has unique assets and maybe challenges. Develop and commit to your vision. Seek knowledgeable (and nonjudgmental) assistance to create your vision. Follow your own timeline and budget. Don't become discouraged if you make multiple mistakes-each is an opportunity to learn.
Please consider utilizing the free consultations, technical assistance, soil sampling, and planning services from agencies such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts, University Cooperative Extension programs, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services. Seminars for small and large groups are offered and may be requested.
Taxpayer commitments to a cleaner Chesapeake Bay fund services in our Virginia-based Conservation District. Inspiration and education, not regulation, is what you can expect from our staff of conservation specialists. You may contact us at (703) 594-3621 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We're ready to share your vision while respecting your time and finances. We'd also be happy to direct you to local experts in your area of the United States.
Author's Note: Please keep in mind, the specific services and programs for horse properties in your area may vary from what is offered at Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District.