Buffer Your Horse Paddocks

Alayne Blickle, of Horses for Clean Water, shares how buffer or biofiltration strips can help control muddy runoff in your paddocks.

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Buffer Your Horse Paddocks
Control muddy runoff by locating your paddock so it is surrounded by 10 to 25 feet of vegetation. | Photo: Alayne Blickle, Horses for Clean Water

As you choose the location and size of your confinement area for your horse, keep in mind that at certain times of the year (such as heavy rains or in the winter) there will still be some muddy surface runoff from your paddocks.

You can help to control runoff by locating your paddock so it is surrounded by 10 to 25 feet of lawn, pasture, native plants or even a garden. This area is called a buffer or biofiltration strip. Vegetation in these buffer areas acts as mud managers–a natural filtration system to help slow down runoff and utilize sediments and nutrients. The buffer area will put runoff to good use, keeping potential pollutants from reaching ditches, creeks, ponds or other surface waters — or from seeping into ground water.


Where do you have buffer strips on your horse 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.

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