Horse owners faced with the annual challenges of caring for horses during the rainy, dark winters of western Washington gathered on Camano Island last Saturday to learn ways to reduce mud, be prepared for emergencies, and help prevent wintertime horse health issues, including boredom. Michael Hipp, Snohomish Conservation District farm planner and former rancher owner, shared the particular importance of installing heavy use (sacrifice) areas, how to do it successfully, and the advantages and disadvantages of using sand, gravel, or hog fuel as footing. Often drawing on his own experience, Michael shared tips to improve chore efficiency and be prepared for health or structure emergencies, and the group offered several of their own, including using head lamps and enlisting your kids to do the chores (!).
Are you new to the Pacific North-Wet or do you find yourself struggling every year with mud? Do you need ideas for how to keep your horse happy and exercised while pastures rest? Please let us know!
This horsekeeping workshop is the first of several we will hold on Camano Island and in the Stanwood area, as part of the Livingston watershed project. We plan to have a pasture workshop and farm tour in the spring of 2018. Stay informed of upcoming horsekeeping workshops by signing up for our Sound Horsekeeping newsletter, a quarterly e-newsletter.