Sometimes it’s not easy being green. You’re a busy horse owner, and there isn’t always the time or the resources to turn your farm into the eco-enclave of your dreams. If you’re looking for simple, no-stress ways to stay environmentally friendly, we’ve got ’em: to conclude our Green Horse Keeping series, here are some quick and easy tips for staying green in all your equine endeavors.
1. Use eco-friendly grooming products whenever you can. These usually carry a “Design for the Environment” logo certifying that the EPA has found that the product contains the least harmful chemicals in their class. Also be on the lookout for shampoos and soaps that contain biodegradable surfactants. Surfactants are the ingredients in shampoos and soaps that lift dirt and oils away from surfaces, but many of them don’t dissolve in water and do not biodegrade. This means they can accumulate in the soil and in the water supply. Using detergents with biodegradable surfactants can lessen your impact on your local environment.
2. Speaking of soap and shampoo, when bath time comes around, consider using a bucket and sponge to wash your horse instead of a hose. This will keep you from using excess water (some horses are terrified of hoses anyway!).
3. To step up your green farm cleaning game even further, you can make your own simple every day cleaning products from common household items. Replace your window cleaner with a mixture of one cup of vinegar, one cup of water, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. The same mixture sans lemon juice makes a great surface cleaner. For wood surfaces, use 3/4 cup of olive oil mixed with 1/4 cup vinegar.
4. Recycle, recycle, recycle! If you don’t want to recycle all of your waste (though it is a great idea!); you can start small with using empties for storage. Supplement containers, spray bottles, shampoo bottles, anything you can repurpose and avoid throwing away.
5. When trail riding, keep to posted trails and avoid riding when trails are muddy. Riding over loose ground can contribute to erosion, run-off and water pollution. Staying on posted trails is important not only for your own safety, but the well-being of local wildlife and habitats.
6. Whether you trail ride by yourself or with a group, leave no trace, just as if you were camping or hiking. If there is nowhere to dispose of trash or waste, keep it with you until you can safely throw it away.
7. Carpooling isn’t just for commutes! When travelling to shows and equestrian events, carpool with friends or other people in the community who may also be going to reduce your carbon footprint.
With these tips and tricks, you can stay green no matter how hectic your schedule. If you want to learn more about making your farm more eco-friendly, keep on the lookout for our soon-to-be-released Green Horse Keeping Guide, with every post in this series compiled into a convenient and easily accessible PDF document.