The Green Horse section provides practical information on managing environmentally sustainable horse properties, readers stories and tips, as well as advice and articles from equestrian experts in their fields.
Vol 37 No 3
In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles:
Information Exchange - Holes in the pasture and Environmentally Friendly Diet.
Growing Turmeric : Spring Grass
Solar Pumps for Horse Properties by Liz Bevis
Bush Smoke and Horses:
How to Catch and Kill Stable Flies by Dr David Cooke
Pony Poo Paper
Snake Myths Busted
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The energy source of the future.
Included in this edition of The Green Horse is how solar energy can be of benefit to horse property managers. Solar energy has long been a ‘hot topic’ and it’s believed that each hour enough solar energy is transmitted to the earth to power civilisation for a whole year. Sunny Australia is leading the way in harnessing this power. In December last year, Australian solar power researchers achieved new world levels of efficiency, potentially securing solar power plants as more competitive than other energy sources, such as unsustainable coal. The team at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (PV) at the University of NSW achieved 40.4% conversion efficiency with a system comprised of commercially available solar cells. This year, the institute is aiming to achieve around 42% conversion efficiency, almost half of the theoretical maximum level of 86%. This is great news because essentially, as developments continue and supply competition increases, it is the consumers that benefit.
See the SOLAR PUMP article in this issue
As the weather starts to warm, hibernating snakes are [allegedly] waking up and for horse owners spending plenty of time outdoors and around sheds, an unwelcome encounter with a reptile is a high possibility. There is no shortage of information available – or frightening anecdotes - about Australian snakes, but how much of it is correct? Statistically, more deaths are caused each year by horse-riding accidents in Australia than snake bite.
There are number of actions landholders can take to make their properties less attractive to snakes such as keeping lawn/grass mowed and removing any piles of timber or materials. Ensuring foodstuffs are stored correctly, feed-room floors are kept clear and rodent control is in place, will eradicate any snake cuisine (mice!).
Snakes may approach looking for water - even a dripping tap - so low dishes of water on the property perimeter could potentially remove the need for them to come closer. There are solar-powered snake detractors available at select stockfeed stores, that send intermittent vibrations through the ground to ward snakes off; however there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of ‘Snake Guards’ as yet.
Snakebites can be lethal to horses as they are often bitten on the face, where there is high blood supply, allowing the venom to spread quickly. As well, horses aren’t supervised constantly and the owner may not even realise there is a problem for some time. Once clinical signs are displayed it is likely too late for effective treatment. There is also the issue of accessing and administering the anti-venom in time and different anti-venoms are required depending on the species of the snake (if correctly identified).
If snakebite occurs, the limb should be immobilised and bandaged comfortably tight; and the animal/person kept quiet and calm while professional assistance is sought immediately. Do not under any circumstance, attempt to locate or contain the snake.