Sound Horsekeeping Sign Program

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If you’re managing manure, mud, and pastures in a way that protects horse health and the environment, you’re probably eligible to earn our Sound Horsekeeping sign!* You do not need to be doing everything on this list to qualify, but the “High Priority Practices” are required.

Sound Horsekeeping sign with title.jpg

To apply for the sign, please call for a site visit - 425-335-5634 option 5 or email

Reducing Mud

High Priority Practices

  • Install gutters and downspouts. (Downspouts should direct roof runoff away from confinement areas.)
  • Create a confinement area (winter paddock).
  • Add footing (gravel, etc.) in paddocks.
  • Fence off any creeks, wetlands or water bodies.

Additional / Optional Best Management Practices

  • Reroute water from roofs, driveways, parking areas and hillsides away from confinement areas. (Install French drains, grassy swales, dry wells, water diversion bars or culverts.)
  • Create a mud-free exercise area (e.g., track paddock, trail course, dry-lot turnouts, outdoor arena or round pen).
  • Install a rain garden.
  • Create vegetative buffer strips on the downslope side of confinement areas, compost bins or other heavy use areas.

Managing Manure

High Priority Practices

  • Cover manure pile with a tarp or roof.
  • Pick up manure in stalls and confinement areas daily or at least every 3 days.
  • Implement a manure disposal plan (advertise for pickup, take somewhere for disposal or have it picked up), or create a spreading calendar.
  • Build a manure composting bin(s)/storage area.

Additional / Optional Best Management Practices

  • Reduce bedding to minimum required.

Improving Pastures

High Priority Practices

  • Keep horses off pastures during the winter months.
  • Remove horses from pastures when grass has been grazed down to three inches. Allow grass to re-grow to six to eight inches before grazing again.

Additional / Optional Best Management Practices

  • Lime pastures.
  • Spread manure or compost on pastures during the growing season (April through October) no more than ½” layer at a time and 3-4” per season.
  • Harrow and mow pastures.
  • Test your soil.
  • Check pastures for weeds and either hand pull, use a weed burner or apply the recommended herbicide in amounts at the recommended time of the year and plant’s lifecycle.

Protecting Wells & Septic Systems

High Priority Practices

  • Keep horses off of septic system drain field.
  • Pump and inspect septic system regularly.
  • Keep horses, livestock and manure storage areas at least 100 feet from a wellhead.
  • Test your well water.

Enhancing Wildlife Habitat

  • Install bird and/or bat boxes to help control flies and mosquitoes.
  • Plant a hedgerow of native plants along driveway, paddocks, pastures or other areas.
  • Use other eco-friendly pest control methods such as mosquito dunks or goldfish in troughs for mosquito control, and fly predators for fly control.
  • Leave snags, dead or dying trees left in place to provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Create brush piles and rock piles for small wildlife. 


Snohomish Conservation District farm planners can be reached at 425-335-5634 option 5 or email

Download Checklist

Depending on where your property is located, Snohomish Conservation District may be able to help you cover the cost for compost bins, graveled confinement areas, gutters, downspouts and underground outlets.

*Please note: You must live within Snohomish County or on Camano Island to qualify. You must also be compliant with local regulations.