Whether your idea of a trail ride is a few hours or a few days, there are many things to consider when heading out for the great outdoors. Reducing your carbon hoofprint is especially important when sharing the trails with plants, animals and other recreational users. Here are some tips to ride green on the trail this summer.
Stay on the trail – if you’re riding in a park or trail system, it’s especially important to respect the rules and to stay within the designated areas. This is for the health of the environment as well as your own safety. Riding on the trail instead of blazing your own may be required to protect certain plants and the eco-systems specific to the area. It also protects you from getting lost or putting yourself in a hazardous situation if you or your horse were to become injured in a remote setting.
Take it in, bring it out – pack lightly and be prepared to carry out your garbage and waste. Please do not litter, and if you see garbage left behind by others, consider picking it up for the greater good.
Hands and hoofs off – don’t let your horse trample areas off the designated trail, and likewise, don’t remove plants, rocks, branches or anything else you might desire as mementoes of your ride. Pictures tell a thousand works and your memories can last a lifetime!
Respect wildlife – for your own safety as well as theirs, don’t approach or try to feed animals and birds. As tempting as it may be, feeding them can kill them – sooner or later. Remember that horses are considered prey animals, and their natural cadence and scent will alert wildlife often before you see them. Because they are not considered a threat, many animals will not move off until you are nearby, so be prepared for your horse’s reaction and enjoy the ride, at a safe distance.
Feeding on the trail –carry in what you need for your horse. Some parks and trails require you to feed only certified weed-free hay, which needs to be fed several days ahead of your trip. Seeds in manure, or carried in with hay, can introduce weeds and plants that are not indigenous to the area and can cause serious damage to the eco-system over time. Be careful where you let your horse graze, and mindful of tying up your horse in a way that could damage tree bark.
Keep it clean – If you’re staying overnight or for a multi-day trip, use earth-friendly soaps and cleaning products for yourself and any cooking utensils or tools you are carrying with you. There are many biodegradable and non-harmful products that are earth and water friendly.
Use natural grooming products that respect the environment - If you’re horse needs a bath to sooth the itch and remove the sweat marks, go with a shampoo without SLS (SLS stand for sodium lauryl & laureth sulphates : non biodegradable surfactants toxic to fish and wildlife) commonly occuring in majority of horse shampoos on the market. Try our Squeaky Green & Clean Deep Cleansing and Conditioning Shampoo. It’s good for the planet and good for your horse. It’s made with all natural and naturally derived human grade ingredients so you can go ahead and borrow some from your horse.
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