Become an Eco Friendly Horse Keeping Rock Star. Are you ready?
My goal for the next few minutes of your time is to make sure this post isn’t a total snooze fest! I have a degree in environmental education, so I am all too familiar with the glazed over look people get when they hear the words “Eco friendly.” But here’s the thing, being “Eco friendly” has huge, positive impacts on the health and safety around your barn, and your wallet!
So instead of spewing boring statistics, this post is filled with easy challenges to green up your pastures and your wallet. Let’s get started!
1. Care For What You Own
This has got to be the simplest challenge on the list. By caring for what you own you can eliminate a surprising amount of waste. When an item is well cared for it doesn’t get thrown out, get picked up by trash services, and doesn’t sit in a landfill for all of time. Plus if your current product doesn’t wear out you don’t have the spend the money to buy a new one!
Already own a saddle? Keep it clean and conditioned. Got water buckets? Scrub them regularly. Those horse blankets? Repair tears before they turn into a second neck hole. Take 5 minutes every time you’re at the barn to care for something you already own.
2. Holy S!#@
So, your horse produces 35 – 50 lbs. of manure EVERY SINGLE DAY. I say take advantage of all that free $$$. No really, proper manure composting and removal is not one extremely Eco friendly but can turn a serious profit for your farm. First off, if manure isn’t disposed of properly all of that nitrogenous and other wastes will leech into the soil and water system and can cause devastating effects to natural processes (think algal blooms). Secondly, if you do dispose of it properly avid gardeners will pay you money for literal horse poop.
Read up on proper manure composting/disposal techniques (DISCLAIMER: it can be a complex process so do your research!). Then once you have rich, aged manure pop a sign in your front yard, let people fill up their trucks, and BOOM you could be making $10+ off of each load of manure leaving your farm!
3. Bleach? Bleck!
Want to hear a scary story? All the chemicals you use at the barn…NEVER LEAVE YOUR FARM! *GASP*
But seriously, that shampoo you just bathed your horse with? It’s now dripping into the soil. The bleach you scrubbed the water trough with? That’s soaking into your pasture. Most farms are not equipped with high tech waste water removal systems, so when you wash something “away” you are really just washing it to another part of the farm. Some chemicals will break down naturally in the environment so I encourage you research the specific chemicals you use. However, I will say that the data that I looked at referenced chemicals being broken down easily through water treatment (an issue for some horse owners where water simply runs off into the environment). This problem can be helped by using alternative products to your favorite cleansers. Companies like Seventh Generation, The Honest Company, and (my favorite!) Dr. Bronner all make the same products as Lysol or Chlorox brand. While I understand some people have different opinions on what is truly “natural” these companies are better alternatives that are less likely to leave harmful residues on your property and are less likely to be harmful to your horse.
Take a hard look at the cleaning products you use around your farm. I find googling product names to be helpful at deciding whether a product is potentially dangerous or not. When in doubt go with your gut and toss any products that you think might harm your horse. Then go out and get yourself some green, safe cleaning products! Don’t forget to always dilute any cleaning solution you’re using around your farm.
4. Buy a Leaping Bunny
So a few months ago I learned about animal testing and what cruelty free is. Don’t worry I’m not going to throw red paint or bombard you with graphic pictures. But, when I learned the difference I felt disgusting using those products around my barn and home. So I made the switch to leaping bunny products. The leaping bunny is this little logo that only goes on products if they are 100% cruelty free, meaning the product was not tested on animals.
In my opinion this is the most powerful was you can become Eco Friendly Horse Keeping Rock Stars. By only buying products (for you AND your horse!) that have the leaping bunny logo you are sending a message to companies that we no longer want wasteful, harmful, and in humane products on the shelves. You’re also giving your money to a company that values what’s in their items and how they make them. Believe me, your horse and all of his barnyard friends will be happy you maDE the switch.
Want to know the best part? It doesn’t cost me any more that the products I was already buying. Actually, the leaping bunny products (which tend to be free of nasty, junky chemicals) are so much more effective I can use less of them!
- Look at the products you have in your home and barn. If they don’t have a leaping bunny, don’t buy them any more. OR if they can’t pass the “Google, is BLANK cruelty-free” test, stop buying them!
- Start looking for the leaping bunny logo when you’re shopping. My favorite product lines are Trader Joe’s and Alba (both super cheap!)
- Begin seeing results! You and your wallet will feel great about only using cruelty free products around your farm and home.
- Download the Leaping Bunny app to quickly find cruelty free products.
5. Turn Off the Hose
Twice the population of the United States live without access to safe water (water.org). But really, the water crisis isn’t going anywhere unless those who are privileged enough to have access to SO MUCH safe water does something about it. Pretty much the SIMPLEST thing you can do to be green at your farm is to use less water.
- Fix leaks AS SOON AS YOU FIND THEM
- Does your horse really need 3 baths a week? (Trust me, your horse’s skin and coat will thank you)
- Set timers on your phone when you’re filling troughs so you remember to turn them off
- Check the week’s weather before water your arena
- Check out this amazing website – Horses for Clean Water
Becoming aware of your farm’s water use is a real and effective way to help a little something called Mother Nature.
6. Blue Ribbon? Try a Blue Bin!
When I lived in NY I got paid to save the earth. The state’s recycling program offered $0.05 for every redeemable recyclable. It equaled about $20 every couple of months, a welcome bonus! Even if your state doesn’t offer a money for recyclables they still have programs that can keep a ton of plastics, batteries, paints, and other products OUT of trash cans. Plus, there are a ton of companies out there who will pay you (or your favorite non-profit) for your recyclables that they turn into awesome new products.
Contact your communities trash/recycling program and get yourself a blue bin! Then go online and see what sort of incentives your area offers for recycling. Terracycle is one of those companies that offer amazing perks for responsibly disposing of your waste.
Got yourself a blue bin? Start rinsing out those shampoo bottles, supplement tins, soda cans, etc. Then sit back and watch the $$$ and good karma roll in.
If these super simple ways to be green don’t convince you to take action then I have one thing to say: think of the children. The future tiny riders and baby horses that depend on you to leave them green pasture, blue skies, and clean water. So, go forth and be Eco Friendly Horse Keeping Rock Stars! As always please share this post on Facebook, Pinterest, and with family and friends.