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Journal Article 
Are horse paddocks threatening water quality through excess loading of nutrients? 
Parvage, MM; Ulén, B; Kirchmann, H 
Journal of Environmental Management
ISSN: 0301-4797
EISSN: 1095-8630 
The Baltic Sea is one of the most eutrophied water bodies in northern Europe and more than 50% of its total anthropogenic waterborne phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) loads derive from agricultural sources. Sweden is the second largest contributor of waterborne N and the third largest contributor of waterborne P to the Baltic Sea. Horse farms now occupy almost 10% of Swedish agricultural land, but are not well investigated with regard to their environmental impact. In this study, potential P, N and carbon (C) leaching losses were measured from two representative horse paddock topsoils (0-20 cm; a clay and a loamy sand) following simulated rainfall events in the laboratory. Results showed that the leachate concentrations and net release of P, N and dissolved organic C (DOC) from paddock topsoils were highest in feeding and excretion areas and considerably higher from the loamy sand than the clay paddock topsoil. Leaching losses of dissolved reactive P (DRP) were significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with concentrations of water-soluble P and ammonium acetate lactate-extractable P (P-AL) in the soil, while leaching losses of dissolved organic P and total organic N were significantly correlated with DOC concentration in leachate. Leaching loads of P and N from paddock topsoils greatly exceeded average figures for Swedish agricultural topsoils. It was concluded that: i) horse paddocks pose a potential threat to water quality via leaching of excess P and N, ii) feeding and excretion areas are potential hotspots for highly enhanced leaching losses, and iii) paddocks established on sandy soils are particularly susceptible to high N leaching losses.