Eco Tips for Horse & Rider
Natural Horse Care
Your Horse. Your Earth Your Choice.
Be eco-aware and make little “green” changes in your horse-keeping. It's small changes that make a big difference. So let's stop worrying about the health of our earth and do something about it!
1. Reduce, re-use & recycle.
Participate at tack swaps, sell or buy your used tack on eBay or craigslist or donate gently used tack, grooming tools, and barn keeping tools to a local equine shelter. Set up a recycling bin in your barn and encourage everyone to recycle. Share old issues of horse magazines friends in the barn or go paperless and get them online with Zinio.
2. Read product labels.
Avoid products that do not list their ingredients. Something nasty may be hiding there.
Be-ware that some companies add only a little bit of natural ingredients while the rest is all-synthetic, and label their products as all-natural! Educate yourself. To know what to look for, read up on the yucky offenders.
3. Clean up the way you CLEAN YOUR TACK
Use eco-friendly, phosphate-free detergent on your pads and blankets. We love Method Squeaky Green washing liquid from Method. Did you know that chlorine is used in chemical weapons? Get the whitest whites with non-chlorine bleach. You won’t harm the earth or your and your horse’s lungs.
Use olive oil to polish your saddle and bridle.
4. Cleaning your barn.
Again, avoid chlorine bleach. Choose from variety of eco-friendly cleaners and keep the air in your barn toxin-free. No more irritated eyes or lungs. Use baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice to safely clean water troughs, buckets, feeders or pails.
5. Feed local & organic
If you have access to organically grown feeds and feed supplements go for it! These feeds are grown with wisdom and care by farmers who use organic farming methods in harmony with nature. Organic feeds are free of chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified ingredients (GMO). Buy local, organically grown hay when possible. Try Genesis Feed or Nature’s Formula.
6. Apples: our big pet peeve.
Conventionally grown apples contain high amounts of pesticides and herbicides. Feed organic apples whenever you can. If organic aren’t available make sure you wash the apple thoroughly under warm water to remove at least some of the pesticide residue before you feed it to your horse. Read about more foods that you should always eat organic.
7. Water bottles.
Buy yourself a BPA-free, earth friendly water bottle. Not only will you produce less waste, you’ will also save money. Plastic water bottles can leach chemicals that you can ingest. Bring a BPA-free, reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop the next time you need a little pick me up before heading to the barn. And make sure you get a fair trade coffee grown sustainably. Our favorite: 454 Horse Power Dark Blend from Kicking Horse.
8. Show ready.
Dry clean “green”! Avoid “perc” dry cleaning. “Perc” is a toxic chemical harmful to both human and earth. Opt for dioxide-based dry cleaning that cleans just as well and is toxin-free. Skip the shoe polish (full of toxins) and buff your boots with a bit of olive oil. Warm works best!
And how about sustainable riding apparel? Check out Kerrit’s green riding apparel G.r.a.s.s. We love their Waste Not Tights.
9. Get a Brenderup.
We love the lightweight, ergonomically designed European made Brenderup trailers. Smaller SUV hybrids such as the Ford Escape 2009 are able to pull it while being more fuel efficient.
10. Toss the shoes or set up a shoe recycling station.
Did you know that majority of old horse shoes end up in a landfill? Barefoot can be healthier and more natural . If your horse needs shoes, consider pulling the shoes off for the winter and let the hoofs regenerate. Encourage your farrier to avoid the dump and recycle the shoes that cannot be used anymore. Set up a shoe recycling station in your barn and find a local scrap metal place that will pick them up.
11. Conserve Energy
Do you really need the arena lights on when you ride during the day (even a cloudy one)? If the windows let in enough light for you ride comfortably, opt to save energy, minimize your carbon footprint & keep the lights off.
12. Hay & Pesticides
Most of us are concerned about what type of hay we feed to our horses & its nutritional value. But do you know if the hay you feed is grown with the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals? Talk to your hay provider and stay informed. Some hay can do more harm than good.
If you're out hacking with your horse, don't let him graze on the side of the roads. Never mind the dust, the toxins from the car exhausts deposit on the grass and end up in your horse's body. To name a few: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead - not yummy, very toxic!
14. Recycled Bedding
Have you ever used shredded paper as a bedding alternative? It makes an excellent 100% eco friendly recycled bedding which is DUST free & is great for horses with respiratory issues. Find a local document shredding company and ask for shredded paper with non-toxic soy based inks.
Horsepool (and we don't mean tandem horse back riding)! Someone from your area hauling to the same show? Share a trailer! You'll save gas $$$ & minimize your carbon hoofprint.