Healthy Horse, Healthy Planet

You don’t have to look too hard in Ash and the surrounding villages to find a field with horses in it. Unfortunately it’s also fair to say that most horse fields are in a pretty poor state, overgrazed and very muddy, especially in the winter month.

So what would you say if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way, no I’m not suggesting you magic up a few more acres or lose any of your precious four legged friends, I’m suggesting you look at managing your land “holistically” as a means of improving your pasture and your horses’ health all whilst saving money and doing your bit to help save the planet!

Holistic Managment has been developed by Allan Savory over the past 40 or more years, and whilst it was developed primarily for use in dryer, or as Allan would more accurately calls them “brittle” environments such as Africa and South America the principals are being used by an increasing army of livestock owners to rejuvenate pastures all over the world, sequestering greater volumes of atmospheric carbon into the soil, where it is not only out of harms way, but where it supercharges your soil biology, which is after all the basis of life itself.

In researching Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture over the past 2 years, its easy to see how it works for farmers ranchers and even small holders, as they have a diverse mix of livestock to deploy on their land, but I recently came across this series of videos that show how this horse owner has transformed her pasture in just 18 months, just through the introduction of holistic management and carefully planned approach to grazing.

The key benefits cited include:

  • Cost savings by generating more food on your pasture and reducing hard feed requirements
  • Further savings by creating greater resilience in your land, enabling animals to stay out longer and reducing bedding costs
  • Time savings through less mucking out
  • No paddock cleaning due to longer periods between grazing enabling the poop to degrade naturally feeding both soil biology and in turn your
  • Less waste because of the above two items
  • Healthier horses due to an enriched and varied pasture diet, which is much closer to a horse’s natural diet
  • Increased flood resistance due to higher levels of soil carbon and greater soil aggregation, meaning water filters through the soil rather than sitting on the panned surface
  • Increased doubt resistance due to the water being drawn deep into the soil and not evaporating so readily
  • Oh, and did I mention that managing pasture holistically can draw down and store more atmospheric carbon than degraded land… much more!

But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the videos for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/embed?listType=playlist&list=PLSLw88qCDayBIyoNXeJEGUkwSR0bE3tF_&v=n-A3vDWbrfQ&layout=gallery

If this has piqued your interest in Holistic Management or Regenerative Agriculture and want to read more, here are some titles to start you off:

Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown

Growing a Revolution by David R. Montgomery

Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard