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Posts Tagged ‘COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN’

EarthDay16

Back in 2009, TSB teamed up with green-living horsewoman and writer Lucinda Dyer to create the first book of eco-conscious tips and ideas for the equestrian community. ECO-HORSEKEEPING was called a “handy, inspiring, easy-to-read book” that “provides perfectly prepackaged tips, ideas, and expert advice” by Smartpak Founder Rebecca Minard.

“There’s no reason why each and every one of us can’t make owning, riding, and loving horses a planet-friendly activity to be enjoyed for generations to come,” writes Minard in the foreword to ECO-HORSEKEEPING.

On the eve of Earth Day 2016, we again consider the role that each and every one of us plays as stewards of the environment at large, and most certainly of the equine environment—which ensures the health and happiness of our horses. Have each of us taken a few small steps toward limiting our footprint, lowering our impact, and preserving our natural world?

“The following are just a few ways horses and horsepeople impact the environment at large,” write veterinarian Dr. Allen Schoen and horse trainer Susan Gordon in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN. “These are factors that require thought in order to ensure the equine industry is not negatively affecting our world but rather contributing to it in the best way possible.”
• Transportation of feed.
• Maintenance of buildings and facilities to house horses.
• Consumption of water.
• Management of manure and barn waste.
• Transportation of horses to shows, clinics, training facilities.
• Creation of waste related to products and services needed to maintain
domestic horses.
• Runoff from pastures and paddocks.
• Overgrazing land both domestically and in the wild.
• Overpopulation due to overbreeding and unwanted animals.

So how do we put on the green-tinted glasses, and keep them on even when we leave the recycle-friendly world of work and home and head for the barn?

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When boarding, “research how your horse’s home could possibly be made safer, cleaner, and less toxic, and bring a list of reasonable steps to the barn’s manager,” recommend Dr. Schoen and Gordon. “Offer to help. Many equestrian operations tend to run at low to no profit, so issues of finances are often the first to be considered when changes are suggested. Even when those changes would lead to a much better environment for both horses and humans, the costs may seem prohibitive. Encourage small, affordable steps, as little changes can ultimately make a significant difference in the horse’s well-being.

“When on your own property with just your own horses, you can make a personal project out of determining what will help make your barn and property less toxic and more environmentally friendly. Put together a step-by-step plan, and, then start with the simplest thing. Do what you can under the circumstances and always remember you are benefiting all beings just by becoming conscious and aware of environmental concerns. Horses and equestrian facilities have a significant impact on their immediate and neighboring surroundings and it literally ‘takes a village’ of like-minded participants to become aware of issues with the keeping, feeding, watering, and transportation of animals, and it takes that village once again to actually improve the state of things.”

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With small, doable, affordable steps in mind, and the long hot days of summer just around the corner, here are a few water conservation tips from ECO-HORSEKEEPING to kick off your Earth Day 2016 weekend:

  • Lose the Drip: Fix or replace everything in your barn that leaks or drips, be it a faucet, hose, or toilet. A faucet that drips at one drop per second wastes 7 gallons of water a day and 2,700 gallons a year.
  • Go Low-Flow: Make certain all your barn water hoses have nozzles that let you adjust the spray as needed, as well as a “trigger” that allows you to shut off the flow of water completely while soaping up dirty legs or conditioning tangled tails.
  • Reuse Water Whenever Possible: STOP! Before you mindlessly toss that half-a bucket of water from your horse’s stall into the driveway—can it be used to control dust in the round pen or water plants around the barn?
  • Hook Up a Rain Barrel: A rain barrel can be easily connected to one or more of your barn’s downspouts to collect water that would otherwise simply wash away. Use the harvested water to wash trucks, trailers, and farm equipment; water the rings; and cool down hot horses with a pleasant sponge bath.
  • Go Grunge: The easiest step in reducing water use is the obvious one! Get choosy about when and how you use it. Before you hook up the hose yet again: Just how clean does your horse really have to be today? Are you riding in a clinic with George Morris or taking a leisurely afternoon trail ride? Whenever possible, ask yourself, “Will a strong arm and a curry do the job?”

 

ECO-HORSEKEEPING and THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more tips for an Equine-centric Earth Day.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

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Photo by Keron Psillas.

Photo by Keron Psillas.

 

In their new book THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN, world-renowned veterinarian and author Dr. Allen Schoen and long-time trainer and competitor Susan Gordon introduce the 25 Principles of Compassionate Equitation, a set of developmental guidelines that encourage a profound level of personal awareness during not only interactions with horses, but with all sentient beings. By developing deeper compassion for our horses—and for ourselves—equestrians take the first step on a path to transcending differences and disagreements, learning instead to empathize and connect more closely with the “global collective” of horses and horse people.

The 25 Principles are simple changes any horseperson can make that will ultimately have a vast impact on his or her relationship with the horse, the state of the horse industry, and the world as a whole.

In chapter 11 of THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN, Dr. Schoen and Gordon discuss the concept of training with common sense:

Principle 11 states: We acknowledge that common sense is a component of compassion. We agree that our hearts be open to the bigger picture of how the horse industry has evolved, and how it will evolve into the future, as kindness, tolerance, and forgiveness are restored to all aspects of the equestrian world.

We must be sure we do not mistake compassion for being overly naive about a horse and allowing dangerous behavior, or putting ourselves or the horse in jeopardy.

Discipline—distinguished from punishment—is common sense. An animal (or human) that doesn’t known appropriate boundaries can be dangerous. As the behaviors of a spoiled horse can often mimic behaviors of a horse responding to pain, it is important to be as clear as possible in determining the difference. Spoiled or in pain, the horse’s size and quick reactions can lead to injuries for a human handler.

By using common sense and having respect for yourself and your horse, you are being compassionate because you are not increasing risks for the animal. If the horse is spoiled and allowed to continue to be, somebody else will have to discipline him. The horse may also inadvertently harm another being.

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It is compassionate for all involved to have a well-trained, well-behaved horse that won’t be in the position of having bitten, kicked, pushed, or run away with someone. Practical horsemanship is based in common sense and designed for the safety and welfare of both horses and their human handlers and riders….We do not want to see compassion mistaken as a lack of common sense regarding the training and handling of horses. With this in mind, when compassionately applying common sense to horsemanship, follow these basic guidelines:

– Be nice to your horse, but teach boundaries.

– When something appears to be causing your horse pain and discomfort, acknowledge it.

– Trust your instincts if you feel a training method is detrimental to your horse’s progress, or mental or physical well-being.

– Listen to your veterinarian, farrier, and other knowledgeable individuals if they question your horse’s behavior.

– Be humble enough to ask for help when you are unable to correct your horse’s behavior by yourself.

– Do not breed poor-quality horses with conformation faults and genetic predisposition to disease.

 

THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

 

For more information about The Compassionate Equestrian Movement, visit www.TheCompassionateEquestrian.com.

 

THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN is both ahead of its time yet remarkably ancient in its wisdom and fundamental teachings. Based in art and proven modern science, the 25 Principles are a priceless collection of universal values, methods, and techniques that will greatly improve the mind and body of both horse and rider. This impactful book is loaded with with valuable lifelong lessons that place compassion and empathy at their core. It will enable readers to develop and sustain meaningful, respectful, and successful partnerships with their horses.”

—Philip E. Richter, Treasurer, USET Foundation

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