Olivia Jurado

CPI Florida 2021
Environmental Scholarship

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Olivia Jurado, of Massachusetts, wins the inaugural Environmental Essay Scholarship at the College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show Florida 2021.

See why she won! Read her essay submission below!

          The equine community is an extensive network of riders and horses, all contributing to pollution and global warming in their own way. However, there are ways to implement responsible waste management, such as recycling and smarter product packaging. There have been so many movements and organizations that have already implemented sustainable factors to everyday life, but it is not as common in the equestrian field. I am lucky to live in a progressive town where not only plastic bags are banned but also the sale of plastic water bottles that are smaller than one liter in size. Our town has installed water bottle refill stations in public areas as well as at partnering business locations. I am actively doing my part to advocate for change and be part of creating an effective solution and a more sustainable environment.

          The past two years, I have worked with a sustainable living organization based in Sheffield Massachusetts called Greenager’s. I have volunteered, working alongside the founder and other members to learn how to manage and produce smarter waste systems with a forward way of thinking. I am able to see the future of the equestrian field in an innovative and environmentally responsible way. Like many of our careers as riders, it all started small with a passion and a dream, and now many of us have gone on to compete more extensively. Equestrians already have this progressive way of thinking; and what I am trying to do is channel that energy into something productive and beneficial for our environment. At Harmony Hill Farm, I have implemented a recycling program in both the Great Barrington, MA and the Loxahatchee, FL locations. I have created a system where riders can dispose of their recyclables, and I have encouraged my peers to re-use whatever they can. Once weekly I am responsible for bringing the recyclables to be picked up by the local waste management company. I have also inspired my trainer to install a water cooler at the farm to reduce the amount of disposable plastic water bottles we see at the farm.

          Another way I have found to reduce waste in the barn is to encourage my peers to buy products like fly spray and show sheen in bulk and refill their existing bottles. Most packaging can be reimagined for another use, and in the rare case it does not, the recycling bin is where it belongs. In addition to reducing waste at a personal and local level, I have reached out to companies like “Uncle Jimmy’s Horse Treats” that sell an individually wrapped product. Each container holds about 15 units that come in individual, unnecessary wrappers. This large amount of plastic ends up taking an extensively long period of time to decompose. If we could encourage companies to think green, then we are already headed in the right direction.

          While we may be embarrassed to admit it, we all know of that refrigerator at the barn, at home, or the cooler at the horse show ingate that is full of plastic water bottles. Those bottles end up harming our environment more than you could ever imagine. At some horse shows, we have already started to see a trend of nontraditional packaging such as boxed or aluminum water bottles, or even better reusable water bottle refill stations. Especially with today’s pandemic situation, touchless refill stations are a smart way to hydrate. It is our job as the youth of this planet to advocate and speak up to get more equestrians, more horse shows, and even our own homes to go green and protect our planet.