Welcome horse show and barn managers! Please see below for an ongoing list of ways that you can go green at your show or barn. Check back often as we will be continually updating the content here to keep you up to date and give you the most accurate info possible.
We all love ribbons, but SO many of them end up in the trash! Here are some suggestions to offset this waste:
Consider using ribbons without a year printed on them so they can be reused.
Incentivize participants to return ribbons. Maybe the barn that brings back the most can get a prize, or a donor will contribute a small amount for each ribbon returned.
Offer only champion and reserve ribbons for exhibitors to take home; the rest can be presentation ribbons to be handed out, photographed, and returned immediately.
Donate used ribbons to pony clubs, riding schools, and therapeutic riding programs who reuse them for their in-house horse shows.
SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL THE GARBAGE?!
We know, barns and horse shows make a lot of trash. Some of it recyclable, reusable, and compostable, lots of it not. Here are some of the many ways show and barn managers can help manage the mess.
Provide water coolers at the ingate AND around stabling with biodegradable paper cups. Encourage exhibitors and spectators to bring their own water bottles, maybe even handing out bottles with the horse show logo as a prize or in exhibitor welcome bags. And barns can order logo coffee cups and water bottles as well to encourage students to bring their own, and create farm unity.
Discourage sponsors from providing plastic bottles with their brand on it, and instead suggest they sponsor the water in the cooler for the day.
Seek out green-minded vendors and food & beverage providers. Ask them to use eco friendly packaging for to-go orders. And just say no to plastic bags!
Go straw-less. Tell coffee and beverage vendors to use recyclable sip-through cold cup lids such as these, rather than those that need straws
Go paperless. Switch to digital prize lists and utilize online show management software for entries to minimize all the paper.
Get sponsors involved to help keep costs to shows down. It’s expensive to run a show, but sponsors are always looking for new ways to get engaged.
Providing recycling bins seems like a no-brainer, but so few shows actually have them. For each garbage can, make sure your waste removal company or service provides a recycling bin as well. Also make sure they’re clearly labeled so bleary eyed horse people won’t get confused.
Enlist volunteers and kids to make your show greener. Often high-schools have a community service component. Have an adult volunteer come up with a program that will utilize kids. They have more energy than adults do, anyway!
Baling twine is recyclable, if it’s collected and sent to the correct location. For info on this, please visit www.twinerecycling.com
Often schools and programs use twine for crafts, art projects, and other uses. Ask around and see if anyone in your community has a need for used twine. You will be surprised at how useful the stuff actually is.
Click here for a comprehensive database of what can be recycled and where. These rules vary from state to state and county to county, so familiarize yourself with what options are available to you and your show. Often items such as styrofoam and sheet plastic (such as from mulch bags and shavings) can be recycled, though not in a traditional container that takes paper, plastic, metal, and glass.
Gather these “other” recyclables in large bins around your show or barn and have them dropped off by volunteers at special recycling facilities in your area.
CLEAN AIR, GREEN GRASS, HAPPY HORSES
Encourage people to walk, bike, or otherwise get around without motorized vehicles. Maybe promote a golf-cart free day at the show, or put up signs encouraging people to get moving.
If your barn or show is a facility that runs throughout the year, consider solar power to offset some of your electric usage. It saves money in the long run.
Keep your grass as well as you do your rings. So many times we see gorgeous jumps, perfectly manicured riding rings, and grass that is littered with debris.
Utilize cigarette disposal urns to keep those yucky butts off the grass.
Put out large buckets of horse treats, carrots, or unwrapped mints. Every horse loves a peppermint after a good round, but all those plastic wrappers really add up.
Green-ify your show office! Make sure all that paper has a proper place to go, use LED lightbulbs, and turn off fans, lights and other electronics when not in use.