Sound Horsekeeping Update - May 2, 2018

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  • Program Updates for 2018
  • Soil Tests for Pasture Management
  • Manure Haul Off Options
  • Colic and Spring Pastures
  • Site Visits
  • Manure Spreader Update


A lot of progress was made in 2017 in advancing Sound Horsekeeping practices in Snohomish County, and 2018 will be even better!

Earlier this new year I reached out to other counties around the Puget Sound and found that there is a lot of interest being generated in other Conservation Districts implementing their own Sound Horsekeeping program. I received emails from Whatcom, Whidbey Island, Skagit, and Thurston Counties. Just yesterday I received a note from Whatcom inviting me up for a day of presentations and site visits to train their Farm Planners on how to best serve the equine community there. In March we had a great workshop on Camano Island with a farrier and a veterinarian to give their perspectives on Sound Horsekeeping, and it was so successful that we are looking to do two more - one in north county and one in south county. We are also being recognized by the State and beginning to receive more cost-share funding for equine properties to help implement the BMPs I recommend during a site visit. And the momentum continues to build!

You may see me around the county volunteering with the 4H Horse Program or the FFA, and if you do please stop and say hello! And if you have a horse-focused group you would like me to speak to please let me know. I love sharing my experiences and solutions for the challenges of being a horse owner and rider in western Washington. 


Now is the time to get your soil tested to manage your pasture for the grazing season! Just call the office to schedule a soil sampling and we will get you the results within 1 - 2 weeks so you can help your soil be as healthy as possible for your equine friends to munch on.


Is your manure piling up and spreading it is not an option due to high nutrients in your soil? Good news! A lot of the composting facilities that quit taking horse manure last fall are now taking manure again. And for our southeast county folks some really good news - Pine Creek Nursery is taking horse manure for free right now! They are located at:

If you come across any other good options or hear of a composter in the area that is taking manure again, please let me know and I will get it out to our community.


It's that time of year - colic season. Lots of horses getting turned out on our lush spring pastures are coming down with colic in all its forms. So be careful when you turn your horses out! For some good tips on how to face this challenge please take a look at my article on spring pastures:


My schedule is filling up fast with site visit requests so if you would like me to come out and discuss some solutions to your challenges, or maybe you have a neighbor or a friend who could use some help, please call my office and let's set something up! While I always enjoy seeing new horse owners, I also like to see the progress the folks I have visited already are making so I can encourage others with their stories. 


It's manure spreading season again!

This year there have been some changes to the program to make sure it is a viable program into the future. A few of the major things are:

  • $70 a week rental fee, to cover the replacement cost of the spreaders as well as repairs and maintenance. 
  • Deliveries and pick-ups on Wednesdays. 
  • Right now the large manure spreader is booked through June, but the small one has some openings this month. Call to make your reservation as soon as possible!
  • Looking for a delivery driver part-time, one day a week (Wednesdays). For full job announcement:

Please call me at the office or email me if you have any questions.

Keep an eye on our website for upcoming events and workshops, and I look forward to seeing ya'll sometime in 2018!

Now...go ride that pony! 

Michael Hipp

Resource Planner & Equine Specialist

Sound Horsekeeping Program

Snohomish Conservation District

Office: (425) 377-7019