Take a look around any tack room and feed room and you’re sure to see a significant amount of plastic. Not only is it used for feed bags, bottles of care products and tubs of supplements, there is also the packaging that many other products come in to take into account as well. As we are all aware, the vast quantity of plastics that we use is having a detrimental effect on our environment and we’re all being encouraged to try to reduce how much we use.
Thankfully, there’s a growing number of equestrian companies that are committed to using less plastic, recycling, using organic ingredients and much more.
As horse owners there’s lots we can do to help — for example, we can use less plastic, or buy products that last longer. In general, buying products that will reduce waste and use less chemicals is a good start. This will take a little extra time and effort, and maybe cost a few more pennies, but it’s worth it.
If we can all make a few small changes, think what a massive impact that will have overall on the environment for years to come.
Why worry about plastic?
It’s estimated that in the UK five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, half of which is packaging. The problem with plastic is that it doesn’t decompose and will last for centuries in landfill, or end up as litter that can pollute soils and rivers harming animals.
The UK government has an aim that all plastic packaging on the market should be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. Looking at how much plastic we currently use, that is going to be a tough one to meet.
Recycling rates are increasing in the UK, but our population continues to increase. To fulfil demand, we are producing more goods and using more natural resources than ever before, but despite these efforts, we are still throwing too many things away and we need to change these habits if we are to preserve the planet and its natural resources for future generations.
Assess your impact
Tough as it may seem, we all need to play our part. Start by taking some time to look around your tack room and assess the products that you use and whether, when it comes to replacing them, there is a more eco-friendly alternative you can buy instead. This can be something as simple as checking that the packaging of the products you buy is recyclable or made from recycled material, or reusing spray bottles by buying a larger refill of products such as fly repellent.
You may opt to go further and choose to buy grooming products that contain no harsh chemicals, parabens or SLS — there’s a growing choice of these more natural products that are kinder to you and your horse’s skin, and also better for the environment.
There’s also the more recent addition of clothing for both riders and horses made from material that uses recycled plastic. You’ll find that most of the well-known rug brands now offer at least one rug made from this eco-friendly material.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our eco-friendly guides below for specific products to try.
Tempest Original 100 Turnout Rug
Suitable for cool nights and days, this turnout rug uses a ShireTex outer that provides sustainable weather protection without the use of environmentally harmful PFCs. The 600-denier ripstop, waterproof and breathable outer has taped seams and is WarmaRug Compatible, so you can up the warmth rating by using separate rug liners in 100g or 200g.
Weatherbeeta Green-tec 900D Standard Neck Lite Plus
This turnout rug uses recycled plastics for the outer and lining. Each rug saves more than 340 plastic bottles from going into the ocean or landfill, and is made using over 50% less energy. Its recyclable packaging is also made from PCR (post consumer recyclable plastic). The rug is waterproof and breathable with a 900- denier PCR outer from recycled bottles, and a 150-denier diamond weave lining in PCR fabric.
Bucas Green Line Turnout
RRP £136 (100g), £146 (300g)
All the fabrics used for this rug — outer, insulation, lining, straps and binding — are made using recycled fibres. The 600-denier rip-stop outer is made from recycled plastic bottles, and the silk-feel lining from recycled materials. Bucas insulation has been made using recycled fibres for several years now; it is available with 100g or 300g insulation. Even the binding and surcingles are recycled, making this rug truly eco-friendly.
Feed and supplements
Chestnut Horse Feeds Bulk Bin System
RRP dependent on feed
High-quality feed and minimising the environmental impact is at the heart of Chestnut Horse Feeds’ ethos. The Bulk Bin System is the only one of its kind in the UK, and is helping to reduce plastic waste. Feed is delivered on wheels and sealed in re-useable, waterproof, rodent-resistant and lockable bins, each of which holds an average of seven-and- a-half bags of feed. Once empty, they are collected, cleansed, refilled and returned to circulation. In the past 12 months, Chestnut customers have saved over 16,500 plastic bags.
Elite Equine Rosehip Supplement
RRP £38 for 1kg
Support your horse’s well-being and improve his general health naturally, organically and ethically, with Elite Equine 100% organic Rosehip supplement. Certified with The Rainforest Alliance and formulated from 100% rosehip powder, this powerful herbal supplement neutralises free radicals and helps to keep your horse healthy and in peak condition. Research has established rosehips as the highest source of flavonoids and biotin, which is great for strengthening horses’ hooves.
RRP £13.41 (Meadow Grass 15kg)
RRP £16.58 (Alfa A Oil 20kg)
Dengie can trace every bag of feed back to the field it was grown in, and the alfalfa and grass in its feeds is grown close to its production sites, keeping feed miles low. Alfalfa takes nitrogen from the atmosphere, converts it into amino acids and puts some back into the soil, so no additional fertilisers are needed. Recycled plastic packaging is being rolled out across the range: Hi-Fi Lite was the first to have the recycled packaging.
Hack Up Bespoke Supplements
RRP from £42.98
Handmade fresh natural supplements made especially for your horse. No additional fillers or preservatives, just pure ingredients. Hack Up can create a bespoke supplement to meet your horse’s individual needs to help with many issues such as calming, respiratory, joints and digestion. Supplements and refills are packaged in compostable paper pouches, plus a tinplate pail in which to store them. The team is also encouraging customers to reuse scoops and provides them only with initial orders.
Happy Equine Wild Mandarin Superb Shine Shampoo
RRP £14.95 for 500ml
After a year of testing and perfecting the products, always keeping to the principles of 100% British and natural, the Happy Equine range includes the Wild Mandarin Superb Shine Shampoo, a colour enriching and low foaming formulation. It gently cleanses the skin without disrupting its natural barrier to leave a silky-smooth shine. Anti-bacterial properties protect the skin, and help soothe itchy or sensitive skin. The essential citrus oils offer extra insect repellent protection for your horse too.
Mastacare Refill Range
RRP £33.45 (Citronella coat spray 2 litres), £24.45 (Lavender wash 2 litres)
Buying larger refills of certain products helps to reduce your plastic usage. Mastacare’s range of refills includes the Citronella coat spray, a highly scented blend of natural essential oils formulated for summer use. The water-based long-lasting formula contains citronella, tea tree, lavender and cedar wood oils to leave your horse smelling great.
Mastacare lavender wash is an easy-to-use, relaxing, no-rinse body wash, perfect for lifting sweat and dirt out of your horse’s coat.
RRP £19.99 (Velvet 450ml)
Pommel’s range of natural grooming products contain no SLS or parabens, are made in Britain and are cruelty-free. One of the products in the range is Velvet, a 2-in-1 stain remover and leave-in conditioner. This spray removes the most stubborn stains with a kind, mild and gentle formula to leave hair moisturised and less prone to further staining. Crueltyfree and vegan, Pommel products are kind and responsibly sourced.
RRP £13.95 (Wunder Gel 300g), £8.95 (Alternative Fly Spray 500ml)
Pro-Equine helps horse owners tackle a number of common equine problems with products that are both natural and effective. The range of liquid supplements and skincare products are all 100% natural and contain no banned ingredients. All Key to the skincare range is Neem Oil. The Neem tree is known as India’s ‘nature pharmacy’, and its bark, leaf and seeds have been used for hundreds of years. High quality, cold-pressed Neem oil is the key ingredient in Wunder Gel and Alternative Fly Spray. Neem oil has been clinically tested by the University of Edinburgh and found to be effective at repelling midges. It is used as a crop insecticide in India. Neem is also antibacterial and antifungal, and encourages hair regrowth.
Honest Horse Horse Shampoo Bars
RRP from £11.95
This range of shampoo bars are all made with 100% natural ingredients. Used like a bar of soap, rub it directly onto your horse’s coat or use inside a sisal bag for extra scrubbing power. Each bar features a natural twine rope so you can hang the soap up to dry after each use. It also comes with minimal, biodegradable packaging. The bars are handmade in the UK, biodegradable, cruelty-free, palm-oil free and vegan. The range includes Super Cleanse, White + Bright, Ultra Shine, Bugs Away and Winter Warm.