Guest Blog: Eco-friendly Yard Swaps by Morwenna Foster
It is now so much easier to find more sustainable alternatives to all our everyday equine products. If you are looking for inspiration on how to reduce your carbon footprint on the yard, here are some of the items I have used and some helpful ideas.
Bedding and feed bags are probably the biggest contributors to waste. Some companies are now trying to move away from plastic packaging and opt for more natural materials.
My horses are fed a basic diet with just a feed balancer mix, which is supplied in a in paper bag. I use supplements from a lovely company based in Devon, The Little Feed Company, which use local high-quality ingredients where possible, as well as recycled packaging for their array of natural and ethically produced supplements. I have been using the joint supplement Flex Free in particular. It is really helping keep both my girls sound as both have previous injuries and arthritic joints.
For forage and bedding I discovered a new company called Go Ethos. They produce Miscanthus smart bedding, as well as fibre feed all of which is supplied in recycled packaging, that is also fully recyclable. The Miscanthus is grown here in the UK and provides a comfy, fresh, and easily manageable bedding. It is extremely absorbent and rots down quickly on the muck heap. It has made daily mucking out so much easier and works out better financially as I use less of it. The company try to use renewable energy in their production factories and are always looking for more ways to be sustainable. If you are local to Cornwall be sure to contact Rebecca from Buchanan Equine Services.
There are now a wider range of Horse Care products available on the market, that are now made from natural ingredients. They are kinder to the environment, not tested on animals and much better for your horse. Brands such as Safecare Equine, Topline Naturals, Mother Bee, Goodbye Flys, Eqwax, Well Gel, Hawkins Organic and The Alchemists Garden. Providing a huge range of shampoos, lotions and potions, fly repellent and tack cleaning supplies and are a great place to start looking to expand your eco range. There are even alternatives to sponges, which themselves are mainly made of plastic. Scrubbies are one option available.
Another thing I found that I was getting through quite a few feed and water buckets as once they were cracked they were of no use anymore. We did decide to have automatic water drinkers installed to help with this, but I also used the old buckets as planters and to store my boots in. There are lots of ways to repurpose old containers instead of sending them into landfill.
I very rarely buy new equipment or rugs and getting things second hand is a great way of being more sustainable. eBay and Facebook offer an easy option to buy and sell and you can save money in the process. In the last few years, I think I have only bought two brand new rugs and bridles. Everything else has been bought pre-loved but with plenty of life left in them. I have even seen a few new brands now that reuse old plastic waste into horse rugs and other items.
When it comes to riding clothing there are so many fabulous small businesses out there working really hard to make sustainable organic and ethical clothing. These are really wearable, stylish and something a bit different so it’s important to support them when you can. Paddock Apparel being a new brand based in Cornwall and there are plenty more out there if you look a little harder. By purchasing from them you are showing your support for small business and eco friendly products, buy wisely, as you are literally voting with your money. Hopefully in time the larger companies will take note and start making more sustainable changes too.
Hope you have found this helpful.
About the author
My name is Morwenna foster. I am an amateur eventer from Cornwall and competed up to 2*. I have multiple health battles having cystic fibrosis and a double lung transplant. I own two lovely mares Maisie and Kitty and you can follow our journey at @moo_eventing on Instagram and Moo Eventing on Facebook.