Monday, October 11, 2010

Little evidence of ecofriendliness . . .

I just returned from my annual pilgrimage with friends to one of the nation's largest breed horse shows and trade venues . . . . To be honest, I was a little disapointed in the amount of ecofriendliness I observed.

Other than seeing some trends among horse trailer manfacturers for build upgraded bumper pull horse trailers to accommodate the growing market of horse owners who want to downsize from their large goose neck w/living quarters rigs, I saw little evidence little evidence of "green".

The show horse industry is without a doubt one of the least sustainable venues of horse ownership. The need to upgrade your show tack and attire was apparent everywhere from larger show saddles that looked more to me like parade saddles, to show shirts so laden with bling that there was little evidence of anything natural other than the paper hangtag that revealed its price . . .

As for myself, I hope I made my ecofriendly vote by bringing home very little in the way of product literature and horse publications. Instead of reaching for a brochure, because it might be something of interest later, I asked a few questions and then made my decision whether to bring home the literature or not. I'm proud to say I only brought home just a handful of material. This year the 2-inch thick journal filled with mostly four-color ads was tempting to drag home, however, the thought of having to throw it away - even if that meant in the recycling bin - was far to wasteful a thing for me to do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Barn Cleaning

We had our annual fall barn party for family and horse freinds last weekend; this of course, spawned a frenzy of cleaning activity beforehand . . .

Cleaning the barn prior to winter is a great opportunity to set yourself up for a more "green" winter. On of the biggest tasks was sweeping down cobwebs. It's amazing how much cleaner the barn feels without them and how much more light comes into the stalls.

In addition to sweeping the cobwebs I organzied the tack/feed room. Emptying out used supplement containers and finding reuses for most of them from storage for cat food, to horse treats, and grain carriers for horse shows.

My biggest challenge is throwing anything out. I was raised on a farm and my parents were Depression babies. I grew up hearing "waste not, want not". For me, to throw anything out is like a sin. It's also not very "green". I try my best to reuse everything at least once - from my used grain bags (for garbage bags) to empty fly spray/coat conditioner bottles, which I use for my homeade fly spray (marigold and lavender).

Some things should go, as a cluttered barn is not very efficient and therfore not very green.

Tack that is unrepairable or hasn't been used should either be salvaged for what can still be used (like the reins or bit on a broken bridle), or sold or donated to a 4-H group etc. for an upcoming tack sale. Wood, broken fence post and insulators should also be recycled instead of stored in the barn and probably never used for anything.

As much as I hate to discard baler twine, keeping more than a handfull for uses like tying grain bags and tarps down, is pointless. In my upcoming Green Horsekeeping Guide (for 2011) I will have some sources for recycling twine and rfor eusing it to even make things like hay bags.

So for right now, our barn feels pretty clean, and hopefully "green".