Farm Stewardship Tips for New Horse Farm Owners

First published in the April 2024 Equiery

Many horse people dream of one day owning their own horse farm. For some, it is a lifelong dream; for others it is a necessity for their businesses. Horse farms in Maryland are subject to a number of environmental and safety regulations, however, and it is good to make sure at the outset that your farm complies with all applicable laws.

We recommend that once you’ve popped open that champagne bottle and celebrated your new farm, go through this short checklist and get your new farm off on the right hoof.

1. Am I following the rules about when I am allowed to spread manure on my pastures?

2. Am I following the rules about when I’m allowed to drill seed?

3. Am I complying with the Maryland Noxious Weed law?

4. Does my farm need an approved Nutrient Management Plan?

5. Are my horses properly fenced out of streams and waterways?

6. Do I have the right mix of forage grasses?

7. Are my forage grasses kept at the the right height?

8. Have I gotten the soils in my pasture tested for nutrient deficiencies?

9. Do I have sufficient stream and waterway setbacks for nutrient applications?

10. Does my farm need to be licensed by the Maryland Horse Industry Board?

This sounds like a daunting list, but the good news is that there are many resources available to help you navigate these requirements, and many are offered at no cost to you.

MHC’s Farm Stewardship Committee exists to help horse farmers find the resources available to implement good farm stewardship practices, including cost sharing programs and state and federal grant funds. You can learn more about those resources and about the Committee on the MHC website at

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