Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

Inviting many types of wildlife into our horse places actually has wonderful payoffs to horse and property owners, as well as for our neighbors and the environment.
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While development seems to be a fact of life today and most of us can’t do much to stop the encroachment of buildings and development, horse owners actually can do quite a bit to provide wildlife with suitable living conditions. Inviting many types of wildlife into our horse places actually has wonderful payoffs to horse and property owners, as well as for our neighbors and the environment.

Some payoffs include natural insect and rodent control, and low cost/low maintenance landscaping that can double as a dust barrier, wind break, shade, mud management, or a buffer between neighboring uses. Vegetation planted for wildlife also acts as a natural biofiltration system and helps preserve water quality and protect soil. Plus, wildlife is free! As horse and land owners, you and I know that there are few animals we can enjoy that are as low cost and low maintenance as wildlife.

At Sweet Pepper Ranch we recently installed an owl box to help with rodent control in our barn and fields–and because we enjoy seeing raptors around. Our county installed it as part of their non-toxic gopher control program, making it cost-effective for us. This past summer we also worked at planting native plants, creating brush and rock piles, and planting hedgerows.

While it’s winter in most of North America and we can’t plant now, it’s a great time of year to dream and plan. So let’s begin! Encourage wildlife by providing three things: cover, food, and water (Tip: you can also use these same principles to discourage unwanted wildlife by eliminating their habitat on your property

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

9 Responses

  1. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    As a wildlife biologist/ecologist and equestrian I work with people to develop ecological equestrians facilities and yes, various habitats have different issues regarding horses and wildlife.

    In Africa the vegetation barriers are much farther a

  2. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    We are successful at mixing the two efforts at our home in Macon – we have plenty of room for wildlife and we DO encourage the snakes – guess what? No MICE and RATS in the feed room!  Mother Nature designed a fantastic rodenticide… lol!

  3. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    I tend to agree with the comments that note that the idea of attracting wildlife to mix with horses is generally not the best thing.  I have lived with horses in more than half a dozen states in all areas of the country except the West and NW and

  4. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    We practice many of these suggestions in Northeast Vermont, doing our best to live in peace with the wildlife. Areas differ in terms of risks. There just are risks with having horses, but for the sake of the earth, and so that we can continue to pastur

  5. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    My horses pasture is surrounded by woods and there is alwyas an abundance of wildlife around it. To minimize my horses exposure to the wildlife, I keep weeds and other vegetatation a few feet away from the fencing so my horses will not be able to touch

  6. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    While my husband  and I love the outdoors and all the wildlife that goes with it, I cannot agree that brining wildlife and horses together is a good thing. While all the ideas are great it is not mentioned that they can also invite deer, raccoons,

  7. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    A great article.  I just bought a farm a few months ago and it is partly wooded. Wildlife in the form of turkeys and deer are already here, and there are many beautiful birds.  I am surprised by all the negative comments on this idea.  M

  8. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    These ideas works great where I live in NC except I don’t want more snakes. Almost touched a big copperhead while weeding this summer. We have a large pond and I have allowed it to go wild, no more mowing within 15 feet except for a small area for fish

  9. re: Improving Habitat to Attract Wildlife Helps You and Your Horse

    Unfortunately, many of the suggestions made here will attract wildlife that can be deadly to horses, as well. For example, opossums carry EPM, and what you describe doing would create a haven for these creatures. Where I live, you would also be putting

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