Reducing Our Environmental Impact in the Equestrian World

BY INTERN VYLA CARTER

In my everyday life, I am constantly looking for more ways to reduce my impact on the environment. At home, I recycle everything that I can. I try to reduce my water consumption by taking short showers, and only have the faucet on when absolutely necessary. I try to avoid using plastic products at all costs, and you can always find me with a refillable water bottle by my side and a reusable bag ready for shopping. Recently, I even stopped eating meat and reduced my dairy consumption after learning how much of a negative impact producing animal based products has on the environment. 

Even with these countless precautions I take everyday, I found myself somewhat forgetting about them at the barn and while attending horse shows. While watching my environmental footstep around horses seems difficult, I figured out some ways to make my daily barn and show routine a little bit better for our environment, big and small:

Ditch the plastic water bottles.

Plastic water bottles can be very tempting. There is no hassle involved and you can throw it away when done, making them easy for a day at the show. They are not so easy on the environment though, taking over 450 years to decompose. The simple solution to this is getting a reusable water bottle. I recommend the stainless steel ones, with my favorite being from the brand Hydro Flask. Not only are they better for the environment, but they keep water colder much longer and help you avoid consuming BPA that can sometimes come from plastic bottles.

A Hydro Flask water bottle. Photo courtesy Vyla Carter.

Try out vegan products.

Equestrians would not be able to be equestrians without leather; our saddles, bridles, tall boots, half chaps, jumping boots and countless other items found around the barn are all crafted out of leather. Next time you are shopping for new tack check to see if there is an alternative to the leather product. More and more brands are releasing vegan products, like Fabbri Boots who recently came out with vegan tall boots and Veredus, a company that produces horse jumping boots, has several leather alternative products. Those are just a few brands, but with some more searching there are more products to be found.

Fabbri’s vegan tall boots. Photo courtesy of Javen Dalman

Give your horse shorter baths.

Just like when you are brushing your teeth and you turn the faucet off, you can turn the hose off when it is not absolutely necessary. Try to use less water by spraying your horse with the hose in a more efficient manner. You can also kink the hose when you do not want water to come out when turning the entire faucet off is an inconvenience.

Photo courtesy Vyla Carter

Recycle.

Simple as that. Recycle everything and anything that you use around the barn and can be recycled. If you don’t have a recycling bin at the barn, bring one! You can put your recyclables in the bin at the barn then when its full take them home to put in your recycling bin that is taken to the recycling center.

Hang saddle pads, etc outside to dry.

Take advantage of sunny days and trade the dryer for the sun. Air drying saddle pads and other barn laundry is a great alternative to the dryer, which usually uses a high amount of energy. Along with being beneficial to the environment, ditching the dryer every so often saves you money on energy bills.

These are just a few ways to to reduce your every day footprint on the environment while at the barn or at a show. There are countless other ways to help the environment, like changing the barn lights to LEDs or using the golf cart around the show less. Remember, you don’t have to do all these at once, but every little thing you do daily impacts the environment that we and our horses live in in either a positive or negative way, try to make it positive.