Sustainable Ramona Salutes

The San Diego Country Estates – International Equestrian Center

The International Equestrian Center offers Ramona horse fans two facilities for riding that are located in the San Diego Country Estates near outstanding horse trails: (1) The International Equestrian Center (IEC) for English-style riding and amenities for Dressage, Stadium Jumping and Cross-Country and (2) the Casey Tibbs Western Center (CTWC) for Western-style riding with a large show arena.

Their 120 horses produce manure at 50 lbs. a day per horse or 6,000 lbs. of manure a day; approx. 80 to 100 cubic yards a week.

That’s a lot of horse manure!

The Equestrian Center with the assistance of the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation (Encinitis, CA) has turned its manure into a compost-producing enterprise. They use the compost for the grounds-maintenance at the Estates, deliver it to their home-owners, and sell it at $25 for 5 cubic yards to non-Estates home owners. And the compost serves as great soil erosion control by acting as a sponge to soak up moisture.

At the same time, by turning the manure into compost, they are sequestering greenhouse gases— nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4)—generated by the manure.

The Center uses a method called Procedure for Further Reducing Pathogens (PFRP) a 15-day cook process that keeps the temperature above 131 degrees for the entire two weeks which they turn every 2-3 days– enough heat to kill off fly larvae, weed seeds, bacteria like salmonella—so it’s safe to use.

The Equestrian Center provided a special tour of the facility to Sustainable Ramona on Tuesday, April 27 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Participants saw the Windrow system of PFRP for larger scale composting; initial product when raw; and final product when composted. a They warned us that wherever you pile up compost be sure to watch water runoff from the area – so you’re not polluting any water systems.

For additional information about composting horse manure as well as for upcoming webinars, see Solana Center at https://www.solanacenter.org/resources/composting-resources/composting-manure