Tips on Going Green for Horse Owners and Show Managers


WASHINGTON, April 22, 2020–Happy Earth Day 2020!

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, WIHS is encouraging all horse owners and horse shows to think green and incorporate sustainable practices to preserve the planet for the future. Here are some helpful tips and links to useful information from WIHS, US Equestrian, the FEI and Green is the New Blue. 

Last year WIHS stepped up its efforts to become a more eco-friendly and sustainable horse show. With partner Green Is The New Blue, we looked at all aspects of the show, from office needs to stabling to tickets, and prioritized what could be done both in year one and longer term. 

Executive Director Mary Helen Shaughnessy summed it up this way: “Washington, D.C., is rated as one of the greenest cities in the United States, and as D.C.’s “horse show in the city,” we made a commitment to become a greener horse show and lead the way in sustainable initiatives within the horse show industry. With our partnership with Green is the New Blue, we began to move to a truly eco-friendly show committed to the future of our planet just as we are committed to the future of our sport.”

To kick-off the effort last year, a “green” version of the WIHS mascot, Major, introduced eco-friendly tips on signage in the stabling areas and throughout the event level of Capital One Arena.

We hope you’ll find some inspiration in these ideas. With this as our baseline, we’re planning now for 2020!  

For Show Managers: WIHS 2019 Plan 

  • Eliminate plastic bags in SHOPWIHS merchandise store, and instead offer reusable bags
  • Introduce limited edition ‘green” items at SHOPWIHS on the concourse
  • Reduce ticket printing by 60%.
  • Switch VIP tickets to digital
  • Use eco-friendly goods, such as biodegradable napkins, cutlery, etc., in the AON exhibitors’ lounge
  • Reduce number of prize lists and programs printed and offer digital versions, with 2020 goal to offer WIHS prize list as digital-only
  • Look for a printer using sustainable and eco-friendly printing practices, which include the use of soy inks, recycled paper, recycled ink and recycled chemicals, and with certifications for Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) 
  • Use recycled paper in show and management offices
  • Place recycling bins throughout with information as to what’s recyclable and not

13 Ways to GO GREEN: For Horse Owners and Barn Managers from Green Is The new Blue

  • BYO straw, container, coffee cup, fork and knife, the possibilities are endless! We know how crucial a cup of coffee is on an early horse show morning. But guess what! It still tastes as good when it’s in an eco-friendly reusable cup.
  • Buy in bulk and save money as well as the planet. Refilling things like hoof paint, shampoo, fly spray from one large container into smaller ones means fewer sprayer nozzles and other plastic bits end up in the trash.
  • Walk! We get it. When you have to schlep five saddles, three bridles, a grooming box, and two cranky short stirrup kids across the show, you need that golf cart. But ask yourself if you can walk (on foot or on horseback) or bike if the situation presents itself. The air will be cleaner, the show less noisy, and you’ll get a bit of a workout. A win-win-win!
  • Ask Questions. Not sure if something is recyclable? Google it. Talk to your town or county and see what options are available for your farm or show.
  • DIY Make it yourself and save money as well as the environment. Love to bake? Try making your own horse treats. Feeling crafty? Experiment with some of the homemade fly spray recipes or gardening suggestions we have on this site. Use your talents, hobbies, and creativity to help cut down on waste.
  • Turn it Off! When you’re not using an electric appliance, turn it off and unplug it. Such an easy thing to do, yet so many forget. Also consider switching to LED bulbs in your barns. They last up to 20 times longer than conventional bulbs and use far less energy.
  • Reduce and reuse BEFORE recycle. This is so important. Recycling is great, but a totally imperfect system. Try to think about reduction first, repurposing second, and recycling as your last resort, not the other way around. Check out our Fun Facts, Ideas, and Recipes section for lots of ideas for things that can be reused before being thrown out.
  • Demand better and see change. See something you don’t like? Speak up. Talk to barn and show managers about ways they can go green.
  • Recycle properly. Improperly recycled items just end up going to the landfill. It’s true. Also check out to learn about some of the surprising things that can be recycled and how.
  • Donate unusable items. Many animal shelters take old towels and blankets, and horse rescues are always looking for supplies. Therapeutic riding programs and local pony clubs are also great causes to check out to see if they are in need.
  • Buy secondhand. It’s great for the planet and your wallet. Manufacturing of textiles and garments (that includes tack, blankets, and other supplies) is a tremendous polluter of our planet’s water systems. Buying things secondhand or gently used reduces the need for new stuff which means less pollution. This is a particularly great option for kid riders who seem to outgrow their clothes in a matter of moments!
  • Dispose responsibly and think before chucking something into a bin. If it’s feasible, keep a container in your car, trailer, or tack trunk that to hold onto stuff you can properly dispose of later.
  • Have fun with it! Get kids involved, make it a game, be creative. Whatever it takes to build momentum.


Resources: Environment and Sutainability 

US Equestrian: Panel: Equestrian Community’s Impact on Global, Environmental, and Social Issues presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN
>> Notable experts address global, environmental, and social issues, while connecting their unique affiliation to the equestrian community and the larger impact it can have on societal change, Jan 9, 2020. Learn more and watch at:

FEI Sustainability Handbook for Event Organizers


Green Is The New Blue: Lots of tips for horse owners, plus fun facts, recipes, and DIY. “We believe in green grass, blue skies, fresh air, and happy horses. We believe that small changes have huge impacts. We are dedicated to preserving the planet for the animals we love and their future riders. We hope to educate and inspire equestrians to join us in our quest to clean up horse shows and lessen their environmental impact.” Stephanie Bulger, founder.

District Creative Printing: Sustainable and Eco-friendly Printing, FSC Certified Printing Company: FSC® and SFI® certified facility, using post-consumer recycled papers and soy inks and recycling of waste paper, inks, and chemicals.  



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WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and holds the highest rating,  CSI5*-W, awarded by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, as well as a US Equestrian 6* Jumpers and  Premier Hunters. It is recognized by the US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association. WIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.