A Pasture Quiz Show, a Farm Tour, and Horse Therapy

Warm Beach Camp and Stables hosted our Spring Nutrition and Pastures workshop last Saturday March 23. We brought together a veterinarian, a farm planner, and the leaders of Warm Beach Camp's Horsemanship Program discuss pastures, equine nutrition, and manure and mud management. 

Dr. Claire Tungseth, DVM, from Northwest Veterinary Clinic started off the day with a Jeopardy-style pasture quiz with prizes for spot-on answers! Dr. Tungseth rounded out the quiz with a conversation about the equine digestive system and how they graze, tips to wean horses onto grass from winter hay, and how picking your pasture can help reduce parasites. Snohomish Conservation District farm planner Michael Hipp joined in the discussion of how soil type affects forage nutrient levels and how even small acreages may have several different soil types due to our region's glacial history.

Lisa Tremain, Warm Beach Camp's Horsemanship Director, then gave us a tour of their ranch, sharing the drainage improvements they've made to keep their arena and paddock dry, which has benefited the horses and the workers. She happily reported that their tractors no longer get stuck in mud! Lisa described how they rotate their horses through the pastures, which can now support their herd all summer long.

But what about the manure? The herd of kindly school and therapy horses produce a lot, and it's stored in a 3-sided building and hauled off weekly. They use very little bedding (pelleted when necessary), which make is more easily compostable than if they used generous amounts of wood shaving or pellets.

The beautiful day ended with a demonstration of one type of therapeutic horsemanship, Therapeutic Vaulting. Ginger Reitz leads this program and Kristine, one of their volunteers, helped demonstrate how movement on a horse using vaulting equipment provides a form of physical therapy. It was clear to those of us observing that working with a compassionate trainer, helpers, and gentle, friendly horses makes the experience very special.

Did you miss out on this fun workshop experience? We would like to have a summer pasture walk to discuss weed control and rotational grazing and we need a host! This is an informal mosey-through-the-grass and we are looking for imperfect pastures! No judgement, just education. Please contact Kathryn Wells at 425-377-7024 or kathryn@snohomishcd.org if you're interested. 

The Spring Pastures and Nutrition workshop was funded by the Lower Stillaguamish PIC Project, Phase 2. This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under Assistance Agreement PC-01J18001 to the Washington State Department of Health. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.