We came across an article in the Backwoods Home Magazine which describes how to use a DIY briquette maker to produce fuel 'logs' from horse manure. They say the odour evaporates in a few weeks as the brick shapes dry out, and the ashes make good fertiliser.
It sounds like maybe a good idea for anyone who keeps horses, but as we don't have a horse we can't test it out. However, by browsing round various forums and web sites we found a few people who are actually heating their homes with horse manure.
Some are simply collecting the horse apples, leaving them under cover to dry out, then adding them to the fire as they are. Apparently horse apples burn well in a wood-burner, multi-fuel stove or on an open fire, although they tend to roll off the open fire, which could be dangerous! They burn best when mixed with coal or wood, and there is no nasty smell.
Others are making the manure into bricks to burn for longer. These are still best when mixed with other fuels. They are little slower than wood to ignite, burn less intensely, but give out more heat and are good for keeping the fire in overnight.
People are using various systems for making the bricks. They all say it's best to wet the manure and break it down into a slurry - this makes the dried bricks hold together better. Some are using paper briquette makers or similar home-made wooden moulds, and say the briquettes work well although the process is a little slow. Others are using a wall mounted system which used to be sold on ebay but seems to be no longer available.
However, this lady in the US, Sherry Sutton-Zanardo, has been successfully using her own wall-mounted system for the past two winters. It's a simple device which she designed and got her farrier to make up for her at a cost of about $20 for materials. She says the bricks burn beautifully with no odour. Read about her here:
You can buy paper briquette makers from Amazon UK *here if you would rather just use newspaper instead!
See also our post on Paper log makers