Sustainability is more than just a trendy buzzword. It has become a topic of considerable importance globally and has impacted the equestrian world. In 2017, FEI made it clear that they were working towards a more green future and prioritizing initiatives that will help equestrian riding be safer and cleaner for the environment. As FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said: “Equestrian sport is one of the most interested in conserving the environment because we are a truly global, Olympic and Paralympic sport that is in constant contact with our outstanding ambassador of nature – the horse”
While we reflect on how we can minimize harm to our planet, here are several tips to become an eco-conscious rider. After all, the actions we take in our daily lives add up to real change.
The Whole Package
As consumers continue to increase their online shopping, the packaging used is causing more waste. Whenever possible, look for recyclable packaging options. Consider packaging the next time you order your horse’s feed, cleaning products, and other items, as it can often be more than you think. Look into businesses that sell similar products but use sustainable packaging like supplements in recycled tubs or recyclable sacks for horse feed. While you’re at it, look into sustainable packaging for your items like clothing and cleaning products. Shampoos, cleaning materials, and other daily household items are now becoming available in refillable containers. Many companies are even offering refill centers for customers, which saves money and the planet’s resources!
Opt for Ethical
You want the best for you and your horse, which means everything you use for food, cleaning materials, and riding gear. When it comes to cleaning products, shampoos, and clothing, look into products that use bio-safe ingredients and materials. It can seem small, but often the most straightforward choices can make the most significant difference. By choosing such products, you are helping reduce any harsh chemicals used in the manufacturing and eliminating such ingredients from entering the groundwater and the environment.
When it comes to riding gear, choose brands that care about the environment and produce items with sustainable material, like the Horseware Amigo AmEco Bravo Turnout blanket, which has 100% recycled material, including rPET material from consumer recycled bottles. Horseware is focused on innovating for a green future, and this is the first turnout made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. All of the components, including the 1200D outer, inner lining, fiberfill, webbing, and binding, are all made from rPET material. There are roughly 218 plastic bottles that are recycled to create a standard 6’3 rug.
There is other equipment that your horse can enjoy without the harsh impact. Acavallo has designed a line of eco-friendly pads. Acavallo’s Piuma Eco Wool Featherlight Pad is designed with precision engineering from featherlight thermoplastic. Piuma means feather, very light and soft in Italian, and that’s what this pad is – soft and lightweight for horse and rider and non-toxic for the planet.
Quality Over Quantity
When you invest in higher quality garments or products for you and your horse, it will likely last longer than cheaper options. Products that last longer are more sustainable because they put less strain on the environment when using the same products for more extended periods. When shopping for new riding clothes or gear, take a little time to look into the brands that support the environment or use sustainable materials, such as Acavallo, Ariat, Horseware, and Toggi.
For example, the Toggi ladies eco socks are made from sustainable bamboo and synthetic fiber mix, aiding sustainable fashion. The Ariat Eco Cruiser Shorebound shoes are perfect for warm weather. These eco-friendly boat shoes have comfortable padding, easy slip-on, and recycled rubber outsole make them the ideal shoe for summer.
Even if you can’t buy products made from sustainable material, purchasing higher quality products that stand the test of time saves energy, packaging, and resources used to produce and ship more products.
Re-examine, Research, and Recycle
Re-examining what we do every day and doing a bit of research makes it possible to reduce the number of products we use. We can take action and reuse and repurpose items that we might not have previously thought were possible just by taking a few minutes to learn more about them. With the attention on sustaining the environment and creating minimal impact, now is the best time to make minor, eco-friendly changes to your routine. After all, it’s not just our planet – our horses live here too.