Written by Anna Helman

Without our wonderful planet, life would be nonexistent. We would not have the privilege of galloping through open fields, hearing hungry nickers when walking into the barn, or seeing our happy horses grazing in their paddocks. Therefore as a horse community, it is our duty to try to conserve our resources so that future equestrians and horses can enjoy the same lifestyle that we live today.

Below are a few tips in order to make your barn more eco-friendly.

Ways to Conserve Water

  • Give your horse a sponge bath

    When bathing their horse, some owners like to rinse their horse first and begin soaping them second. To reduce your water usage, combine both soap and water into a bucket. Then use a sponge to transfer the soapy mixture onto the horse and begin scrubbing. This takes two separate steps and merges them into one!


  • Refresh water buckets when necessary

    Some barns dump and refill their water buckets on a daily basis. This is a requirement for excessively dusty barns, during certain times of the year, or for specific horses. If your water buckets are clean, consider re-filling them rather than dumping out the water and filling them up from the bottom.horse and shepard


  • Water your arena at dusk

    Watering your arena during the middle of the day, when the temperature is the highest, is the least water efficient. During the hottest part of the day, the water quickly evaporates and barely soaks through the sand, requiring the arena to be re-watered multiple times a day. Instead, if you water your arena at dusk, the water will substantially soak the sand, reducing the riding dust, and it will not evaporate as easily.


  • Put nozzles on your hoses

    While this tip is self-explanatory, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your water usage.


Ways to Conserve Energy

  • Hang-dry saddle pads

    Dryers require a ton of energy! During the summer, hang your saddle pads outside to dry. While saddle pads drying on fence rails have the tendency to scare the daylight out of horses, they greatly reduce your energy usage.


  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs

    Often energy-efficient light bulbs can have a high purchase price, though they last longer than classic light bulbs and use less energy. Eventually, as the light bulbs around your barn burn out, try replacing them with energy-efficient bulbs.


  • Use solar powered electric fences

    There are ways to have electric fences operate off small solar panels. When the solar panel is unusable (night-time), the fences can operate off electricity or a battery. A small solar panel has the power to substantially reduce your energy usage.


  • Turn off fans and lights when not used

    It is easy to forget to turn off stall fans or lights when your horse is not in their stall. Hanging a note by the light switch or the fan can be a great personal reminder!


Ways to Reduce Waste

  • RecycleWhen you look into the barn trashcan, there are usually multiple items that can be recycled. Your local community will have a recycling program and can provide you with a list of the items that can be recycled.
  • Reuse

Feed bags: I have found that leftover feedbags provide the perfect liner for trashcans. They are more durable than trash bags. Plus they’re free!

Old coolers and bandages: Rags can easily be made out of coolers and bandages. You can even customize them to be the size of rags most often used around your barn.

  • CompostIf the manure from your farm is put into a landfill, you are creating a huge amount of waste that can easily be repurposed. Some horse owners allow their manure to age and use it as compost. While others use their manure as fertilizer for their fields. Rather than paying for manure to get dumped into the landfill, try starting a compost pile, contacting local ranchers or gardeners, or advertising free manure.


  • Buy used tack

Used tack is awesome! It is usually well made, already broken in, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. Try going to used tack sales before buying new tack. At used tack sales, I am always pleasantly surprised about the unique, high-quality tack that I can buy for extremely reasonable prices. Please remember that new tack requires raw materials, large amounts of water for production, and the burning of fossil fuels for transportation to their destined location. Also if you have slightly used tack, sell it at a used tack sale, it decreases your waste and also gives you some extra cash!

These minor tips are not only environmentally friendly but they can usually decrease your bills too! If you have any other ideas/tips about how to make your barn more sustainable, feel free to mention them in the comment section below.

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