On the Rail: WIHS is Going Green!

October 22, 2019 - Washington, D.C.

Did you know that Washington, D.C., instituted a ban on single-use plastic straws in 2019? It’s part of the city’s effort to go greener, and the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EQUESTRIANTM, is following the trend with the Green Is The New Blue Program.

Walking around WIHS, you see trainers sipping that all-important morning coffee from signature Green Is The New Blue reusable cups. The show office is distributing complimentary reusable water bottles. Utensils and napkins in the AON Exhibitors’ Lounge are biodegradable. Recycling bins are all over in the concourse and barn area. Posters with going green tips from Green Flatty Major, the show mascot, appear around the show.

Amateur rider Stephanie Bulger launched the Green Is The New Blue program earlier this year, and multiple shows have signed on to help horse shows be more eco-friendly and educate riders, trainers, vendors, spectators, and horse show staff on the simple but effective ways they can make a difference.

“It’s sometimes difficult to look at a problem like climate change and pollution and think anything we do individually can make a difference,” said Bulger, who launched Green Is The New Blue at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in June. “We want to help educate horse show managers and give them resources and tools to help horse shows lessen their negative impact on their environment.”

Annette Longenecker, who works for Ryegate Show Services at WIHS, shared a photo of her Green Is The New Blue food container on social media with the caption, “Using my Green Is The New Blue container from Pennsylvania National Horse Show to bring my pumpkin bread to WIHS. So handy!”

“It’s great to see people at horse shows making an effort to be ‘greener,’” says Longenecker. “Everyone has been excited to have the reusable coffee cups and water bottles, and the lunch container made bringing my food to the show convenient and easy!”

Here are some of the “going green” tips that Green Flatty Major is sharing on posters at the show:

  • Bring your own food container, coffee cup, utensils, and reusable straw for drinks! Horse show-morning coffee tastes just as good in an eco-friendly reusable cup!
  • Buy in bulk and save money as well as the planet! Refilling containers of products like hoof paint or oil, shampoo, and fly spray means fewer spray bottles and other plastics!
  • Walk! Walking (either on foot or on horseback!) or biking between locations at a horse show is a great option. The air will be cleaner, the show less noisy, and you’ll get a bit of a workout. Bonus of not spooking anyone else’s horse!
  • Recycle! Many stores and cities are including recycling receptacles alongside trash cans, so take a moment to look and see if there’s a recycling option before throwing something away. If you’re really dedicated to recycling (and we hope you are!), you can take your recyclable waste home with you and recycle it there!
  • Not sure is something is recyclable? Google it! When you’re at home, talk to your town or county officials to see what options are available for your home or farm.
  • Apply a little DIY! Making your own horse treats or fly spray (the internet is full of recipes for both) can help you save money and minimize packaging.
  • Turn it off! When you’re not using an appliance, turn it off and unplug it! Also, consider switching to LED bulbs in your barns.
  • Reduce and reuse before you recycle! Try to think about reduction first, repurposing second, and recycling as your last resort.
  • Demand better and see change. See something you don’t like? Speak up! Talk to barn managers and show manager about ways they can go green. Chat with fellow competitors about making greener efforts.
  • Donate items you no longer use. Many animal shelters and horse rescues take old towels, blankets, and supplies.
  • Buy secondhand. It’s great for the planet and your wallet! Buying gently used items reduces the need for manufacturing new stuff, which means less pollution.
  • Have fun with it! Get kids involved, make a game out of recycling, be creative in your re-purposing. Whatever it takes to build momentum!