“Horse-iculture” is good for the landscape, according to a new study funded by Surrey County Council and the Countryside Agency.

The study was commissioned after more than 50% of local planning authorities in Surrey claimed that the keeping of horses was having a detrimental effect on the area.

“With agriculture in declineand horse ownership on the increase in Surrey, the research by Writtle College has proved that horse pasture management plays an important role in maintaining the landscape,” says Rachel Simpson of Surrey County Council.

“The poor management of horse pasture and related buildings by a minority of the equestrian community has resulted in a problem, which is perceived to be far worse than it is.”

To encourage horse owners to help maintain the Surrey landscape, Surrey CountyCouncil is planning to launch a series of advice leaflets encouraging horse owners to follow environmentally friendly policies when maintaining and developing horse-related land and buildings.

“The leaflets will combine horse welfareadvice with tips on managing your buildings and facilities, including grasslands, in a manner which doesn’t detract from the surrounding area,” continues Rachel.

“For example, we hope to discourage the use of loose white electric tape and rusty barbed wire as fencing materials, as well as providing advice on making equine establishments as unobtrusive as possible.”

Read expert pasture management advice: