Earth Day is in April!

Being a horse lover, and many of us lovers of the outdoors in general, we know how much our horse sports can impact our environment. If your horse isn’t grazing 23 hours a day, and I don’t know any of my horse friends that are… then they are not in their natural environment. We put them in stalls, apply pesticides, lotions to make them shine, and spray chemicals on our pastures for improved quality of forage. There’s many ways to reduce your horses “hoof print” on our planet that are super easy and cost effective too!

As horse people, we naturally have a larger carbon footprint as we take on the responsibility of our horses footprints (or hoofprints as this case may be). Nonetheless, the 3 Rs still apply and in order of importance we should always strive to Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The more we reduce, the less we’ll need to reuse, and even less that we’ll have to recycle.

Be water conscious. Do you walk away from filling water buckets, end up forgetting and have an overflowing trough or flooded stall? This unnecessary water waste is easy to prevent by setting up an automatic shutoff timer on your spigots or installing automatic waterers in your stalls or pastures. Rain barrels can also help you cut your water consumption down. You can use that water to clean your farm tools, equipment, or even for watering your arena.

Reclaimed timbers. Most stable’s there always a building project going on and there’s often a project that’s getting torn down. Save wood from previous tear downs to reuse on future projects. In future project you can build with star head stainless steel screws! They cost a little more but they won’t rust and are also reusable AND back out easy when disassembling whatever lean to, fence, or other wood related project you have built.

Set up recycling. Most stables have a trash can in or near the tack room area. Put a recyclable container next to that trash can marked for water & other plastic bottles, soda cans, and cardboard products to be place into. This will not only reduce your trash bill but likewise you and your horses carbon footprints.

And two more tips for grins…

Use organic pest control. By using beneficial insects like Fly Predators at your stable, you’ll cull about 90-95% of the fly population before it starts. This means less spraying away flies that will only come back. In addition to Fly Predators you can do a little pick up, keeping your paddocks free of manure. To keep your mosquito population at bay, eliminate as many standing water locations as possible. You can dump water troughs every 2 days and try Mosquito Torpedos which are safe for use in horse waterers.

Plan a smart arena design. Natural shrubbery placed along the outside of your arena will block the evaporative effects of wind on your arena footing thus you’ll need to water it much less, saving water as well as saving your footing too!
Photo credit Mark J Barrett.