The Green Guide for Horse Owners and Riders by Heather Cook
c 2009 Storey Publishing (North Adams), 231 pages
The Green Guide for Horse Owners and Riders is a super easy to read and well organized book which represents the most comprehensive summary of the concepts of “sustainable practice for horse care, stable management, land use and riding” in one place to have crossed my desk. Depending on your previous level of knowledge on the subject of eco-friendly horse management practices, this book might alternately be too basic in some areas or too detailed in others. In either case, though, you are likely to find references to supplemental sources which can direct you to more information.
I have long maintained that the equine industry needs to get on board with more sustainable management strategies. Too many farms are overstocked, with destroyed paddocks/turnouts, unsightly and unsanitary manure piles and out of date protocols. This book helps take the reader through the steps necessary to establish a different paradigm, whether starting a farm from scratch or working with facilities and layouts already in place. Cook does an excellent job of balancing general guidelines with more specific detail. For example, each chapter concludes with guidance to be considered for various climate regions in the US and Canada.
Some of the strategies covered in this book include techniques for “harvesting” water from rainspouts for use as wash water or for irrigation (which, interestingly, is illegal in Colorado); several methods of composting manure; selection of sustainable and healthy building materials; reducing the use of fossil fuels, and reclamation of muddy paddocks. In addition, there is an extensive resource list compiled in an appendix which is clearly divided into sections such as green energy, grant sources, recycling, trail riding resources, helpful government and non-government organizations, etc.
This book really is a “must read” for anyone who is interested in being a good steward of their land, or in providing guidance to someone else who is in that role. The onus is on all of us as concerned and conscientious citizens to do a better job of implementing management practices which consider the local and regional environment. A healthy farm means healthy horses.
Blogger’s Note: Cover image is taken from Sustainablestables.com, another great resources for assistance and tips on better horse and farm management strategies.