I've lived with my horses in the back yard for 11 years now. I do NOT own a tractor...yet (got my eye on one, though..ship needs to come in.) I just have a couple of grain shovels and a couple of wheelbarrows and lots of elbow grease. I am also a gardener and I have researched both aging manure for amending my soil AND removing manure to keep down my horse's parasite loads.
Here is what I have discovered:
1) Do NOT spread manure on pastures where your horses graze. Manure and Pasture Management for Horse Owners: Managing Manure by Spreading on Cropland or Pasture
Pile it into mounds and let the heat produced during decomposition kill the eggs before
you spread on your pastures.
2) For garden use it takes 4 months for horse manure to leach out the acids that burn most plants. Roses, for example love it spread around them fresh. Gardeners (like me) mix it with soil to create and grow microbes which, in turn, continuously break down the refuse into usable compost which fertilize their vegetables and flowers. I do NOT have to buy Miracle-Grow. It only works once anyway. http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/gardening/putting-down-horse-manure/ THIS article conflicts with the advice I've read and gotten from my gardening forum friends. I've NEVER burned my crops with 4 month-agred manure, just FYI. http://www.almanac.com/content/manure-guide
3) If you get busy--who here has time on their hands?!?!? I want YOU come over to MY place and help me!!!
lol--and forgot your manure pile, it will turn into dirt in about one year.
4) Fluffy pine shavings take 5 years to decompose, BUT they provide what gardeners call "tilth" and help to break up garden soil, so they're beneficial, too. Sawdust, used Equine Fresh, and fine pine shavings break down sooner and gardeners can use it bc pine isn't toxic, like other woods are.
5) Gardeners will take your stall waste, including straw. Provide them with empty grain bags to bag it. They're mostly all plastic, now, and they can roll down and duct tape the tops to prevent messes in their car. All stall leavings help gardeners, but some complain that they get oats, corn and grass seeds which sprout next to their tomatoes. Tell 'em that the money they save taking away your horse's leftovers can be spent on "Preen", or on plastic covers left on the bake the soil for about a week and kill any unwanted seeds in them. Gardeners take straw or hay and mulch and cover delicate seedlings with it--nothing goes to waste in the...waste.
6) NONE of the parasite's eggs that hatch in my garden beds make their way to my horse's mouths. NONE of the parsite eggs that hatch in my garden beds eat my vegetables and flowers. They hatch out there and die there. Good riddence.
Hope this helps you!! I didn't know what to do with all the manure, either, 10 years ago. =b