Stable yards use up hundreds of gallons of water everyday, however there are loads of ways we can save water on the yard. Read on for some ideas
- Conserve rain water by fitting water butts to all drain pipes, this will catch run off water which can then be reused for watering the school, and washing buckets or dirty boots.
- Check all tap and automatic water drinkers, including the ones in the fields, to make sure there are no leaks. If you do find any leaks get them fixed. Also make sure the hosepipe does not have any holes and is correctly fitted to the tap. Get a nozzle for the end of the hose so you can turn the water on and off without having to go back to the tap each time.
- Switch from buckets to automatic drinkers. When we use buckets, how many of us tip away a full bucket of water that has got got dust or bedding in it? If we are doing this everyday for a few horses, that adds up to a lot of water wasted. If you do need buckets, look at other ways of reusing the old water. For example pour it into a big water butt which is then used to water the school, or to soak hay and scrub out feed buckets or washing legs and hooves. When you do pour the bucket away pour it onto the school, if you pour each bucket in a different place you will cover a fair area of the school.
- If you are soaking hay again use the left over water to water the school, or washing out feed buckets. Also stay with the hay soaking buckets whilst they are filling, it very easy to get distracted and forget about a running tap or hose if you are not next to it.
- When bathing your horse try to do it using buckets rather than the hose, where possible. Although time consuming and a lot more effort, it will save a lot of water.
- Washing muddy legs and hooves off, consider if you really need to do this. Could you leave the horses legs to dry naturally and then brush off the mud? If you do have to wash them off try to use a bucket and a scrubbing brush, rather than the hose. If you have fitted water butts around the yard water from one of these is perfect for this job, or use water from stable buckets that need changing. If you are using the hose, make sure to turn it off between horses, don’t leave it running whilst you move away and the next horse comes in.
- Washing saddlecloths, boots and bandages. Do you need to wash them every time you use them, or can you leave them to dry and get another go before washing? When they do need washing, try and get a load of you together and send the saddlecloths off to the rug wash for cleaning – instead of doing it individually.
- Rug washing – send all your rugs off together to a rug wash, They can put them through on one cycle, whereas if you do it at home you will only fit one rug in your machine at a time and that will mean a few cycles, to get all the rugs washed.
- Cold hosing legs – if you have to do this regularly look into the possibility of using cold water therapy or ice boots instead. Switching over could save hundreds of litres of water. If you are cold hosing for medical reasons be sure to get your vets advice before using the boots.
- scrubbing out feed buckets – use left over water from stable buckets that needed emptying, or if you have automatic drinkers and want to clean them, scoop the water out and use it to scrub feed buckets. When one bucket is done pour the water from it, in to the next feed bucket and so on, until the buckets are clean.
- If you use wood pellets for bedding use a watering can rather than the hose to wet them down, and when starting a new bag, empty dirty water buckets onto the pellets to rehydrate them.
- Get a dual flush fitted to the yard toilet to also reduce water waste with each flush.
If you can think up more easy changes you can make to save water, please share them with us.