Lucinda Dyer, author of ECO-HORSEKEEPING: OVER 100 BUDGET-FRIENDLY WAYS YOU AND YOUR HORSE CAN SAVE THE PLANET highlights a few great ways to be kind to the environment and your pocketbook this winter.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the sun still shines brightly during the winter months, the number of days between the “last time you rode” and the “next time you’ll ride” can seem to stretch on forever. So what better time to sort through your closet and corner of the tack room and make a commitment to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
The first step is to take a hard, honest look at your closet (do you really need six pairs of identical buff breeches?) and tack room and decide what can be donated or swapped. If you or your horse haven’t worn or used it in two years, it’s probably time to pass it along to someone who will.
Organize a swap meet: Just because you regret buying that tiger-striped brow band or that two-toned-turquoise-sequined slinky doesn’t mean someone else won’t be thrilled to have them. Get together (inside where it’s toasty and warm) with your barn mates, local riding association members, Pony Club, or 4-H group, pick a wintry Saturday afternoon and have everyone bring their “doesn’t fit,” “never-used-it,” and “what was I thinking?” clothes and gear. Set ground rules that everything is free for the asking and don’t get all tangled up in how much it originally cost or the fact that you’re giving away five things and only taking home one. What could be greener than being generous?
Donate clothes and boots to riders in need: The Rider's Closet (www.theriderscloset.org), a program started by show jumper Georgina Bloomberg, donates all styles of “gently used” riding clothes (except helmets) to intercollegiate riding programs, pony clubs, therapeutic riding programs and younger riders unable to afford them. Or think locally and find a riding program in your community that can put those almost new chaps, breeches, and boots to good use. Some suggestions on where to start:
- North American Riding for the Handicapped Association ( www.narha.org )
- 4-H ( www.4-h.org )
- United States Pony Club ( www.ponyclub.org )
Discover other great ways to become as eco-conscious in the barn and on your horse as you are in your home and in your car. Check out Eco-Horsekeeping: Over 100 Budget-Friendly Ways You and Your Horse Can Save the Planet, available at www.horseandriderbooks.com