Going green is the buzz word in modern day society, with retailers going to great lengths to showcase their organic produce in eco-friendly packaging. Global warming is of course a very real threat to the future of our planet and the changes that are being implemented as companies seek to reduce their carbon footprint have come not a moment too soon. However we also have a responsibility as individuals to consider our own contribution to the global warming crisis, and this includes horse husbandry. Making small changes in the management of your horse-keeping can have huge benefits to you, your horse and the environment, and they can be far easier to implement than you think. Check out our four fabulous tips to going green in 2016.
Manage Your Manure
If there is one by product that is in abundance at any yard it is manure. Traditional muck heaps take up a great deal of room while simply allowing the manure to decompose, but this material would be far better put to good use. The produce from your mucking out is an incredible fertilizer that is ideal for use on pasture land and in domestic gardens so why not manage your muck heap carefully and advertise good quality fertiliser available to local farmers and gardeners? Not only will you be reducing the size of your muck heap, but you will also be investing back into the ground in fields and flower beds around the area.
Just like human grocery stores, the shelves of equestrian feed suppliers are filled with lotions, potions and supplements designed to keep your horse in tip top condition. However all too often these products can be heavily processed or packed with chemicals and fillers, plus the packaging itself can be less than eco-friendly. Look out for natural remedies wherever possible that have undergone as little processing as possible, have no added chemicals and are safer to dispose of, and also buy refillable containers or recyclable plastics to reduce waste.
Waste not Want not
In the western world we are blessed with a constant supply of clean water, however this does not give carte blanche for us to waste it. It is very easy to conserve water on the yard, and the best method is by using gutters and downpipes into water butts to collect rain water that can be used for washing yards or watering plants during dry periods. Prevent wasted water when bathing your horse by using a bucket and sponge rather than a hose, and invest in automatic drinking troughs that will refill when necessary rather than replacing whole water buckets day after day.
As ewe Like it
Smart pasture management is key to keeping both your horse and your grazing healthy, and one of the best ways to protect the quality of your pasture is by regularly resting the pasture, but another environmentally friendly option is to rotate the pasture between horses and other livestock. This practice known as mixed grazing promotes healthy growth of grass and helps control weeds without the use of harmful herbicides as less fussy grazers such as sheep and goats will happily munch through less desirable plants and weeds left behind by their equine friends.