It’s not too late for a New Year’s Resolution! 2015 is young, and there is always time to start on a new goal or kick some habits to the curb for the year. Here’s a suggestion: this year, look at ways to go green in 2015. From your bedding to your grooming tools to your whole stable, there are plenty of new ways to add an eco-friendly focus to your daily equestrian routine.
Green Level: Easy — All-Natural Fly Spray. We’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, it takes chemicals to knock down a bad bug. But have you given eco-friendly, homemade fly sprays a chance? It’s possible that for all or part of your fly season, you can leave out the industrial insecticides–you know, the ones with all the HARMFUL and DO NOT POUR INTO RIVERS warnings on the side–and use something a little more gentle for both your horse and your planet.
The simplest homemade fly spray utilizes a few household/tack room ingredients: a tablespoon of Ivory soap, a cup of vinegar, and six caps of Avon’s Skin-So-Soft. Admittedly, not safe to drink, but less likely to create a fishkill if you spill it in the barn pond. To get very green, you can go with essential oils that blend botanicals into go-away barriers against bugs. Check out our fly spray article here for more recipes and links: https://equinefacilitydesign.com/equine-care/homemade-fly-spray.htm.
Green Level: Moderate — Alternative horse bedding. Stabling horses on various types of wood shavings — from sawdust to condensed wooden pellets — is nearly universal in the horse business. But is sawing up a tree to soak up waste really the best use of said tree? If you’re ready to take a bigger step in greening your barn, look into alternative horse beddings made from renewable — or recyclable — sources.
One such bedding material is kenaf. The fibers of this ancient plant are absorbent, non-dusty, and growing in popularity as a livestock bedding. Originating from the Indian sub-continent, kenaf is now being cultivated in the southeastern United States and being processed for a variety of purposes, including bedding. For more information on wood shaving alternatives, visit our blog post here: https://equinefacilitydesign.com/misc/earth-friendly-horse-bedding-alternatives.htm.
Green Level: Advanced — Ready to really make that commitment to the earth? Got a barn that needs remodeling or an equestrian center in the works? Well, consider this: get away from wood altogether. Although it’s difficult to imagine a barn that doesn’t incorporate at least some wood — wooden stall fronts, for example — you can build a green barn from a totally renewable resource that has all the resilience of hardwoods: bamboo.
Bamboo materials might look like wood, but they’re actually made from a weed that ranks among one of the most quickly growing plants on earth. Talk about renewable — tree growth is measured in decades. Bamboo growth is measured in a couple of years, and thinning a bamboo grove yearly actually makes the plant stronger. To create an environmentally green environment for your horses, look no further than bamboo. We have more information about bamboo at this post: https://equinefacilitydesign.com/products/greening-barn-bamboo.htm
Are you up for the challenge to go green in 2015? As horsemen, there are hundreds of ways, big and small, that we can change up our routine and be more environmentally conscious around the farm. These are just a few ways to get started.