With growing desire to become more environmentally conscious, what changes can horse owners make? Alex Robinson looks at some of the options
WHILE it’s perfectly healthy to use our horses as escapism from the real world, we cannot ignore our responsibilities as individuals to negate the impact of environmental changes. Forward-thinking individuals are working hard to ensure the equestrian industry doesn’t get left behind when it comes to becoming more sustainable. And the good news is that each of us can do our bit by making tweaks to shopping, horse care and disposal habits.
New Forest commoner Lyndsey Stride says that while the agricultural sector has been encouraged to farm in a more environmentally friendly way for some time, the message is yet to stick with the equestrian industry. She believes that recreational horse owners could learn – and benefit – from the way semi-feral ponies live in their homelands.
“Native ponies on moors, forests and fells are living in a natural way and contribute to an extraordinarily biodiverse landscape,” explains Lyndsey. “Looking at pasture management, there is a lot of talk in farming about carbon storage in grassland. Most recreational horses are kept on former agricultural fields, and as horse owners generally keep grass very short, the grass is placed under a lot of stress.
This feature can also be read in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 29 April
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