Reduce Your Carbon Hoofprint

 Written by: Jen Barker Published: 08 February 2020

Plastic shavings bags, gas guzzling transportation, baling twine, manure mountains—equestrians are no doubt making their mark on the environment. So where do we even begin to reduce our “carbon hoofprints?”

“Pick one thing that seems achievable, doable, and easy. Start there,” Says Stephanie Bulger, founder of Green is the New Blue, an organization dedicated to helping equestrians lessen their impact on the environment. “Make a small change in your day to day and that will have a huge impact.”

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For Bulger, that one small change was to give up plastic straws. Simple enough. Then, while looking for a place to graze her horse at a show, Bulger was disheartened to find that most of the grassy areas were littered with trash. That fateful walk, and the realization that environmental issues are often overlooked within the horse community spurred Bulger into action and Green is the New Blue was born.

“It felt almost like a calling. It all clicked into place for me in that moment,” Bulger says. “My son was two at the time, and I thought, this is my duty to do this for him and also the animals. The animals deserve the best the world has to offer. (Green is the New Blue) came from them.”

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Green is the New Blue provides information and tips for all equestrians, and also partners with horse shows, including the Aiken Charity Horse Show, to help find ways to become more environmentally friendly. Bulger applies the same “pick something achievable and doable” philosophy when she consults with show organizers, and helps guide each horse show on a case by case basis, taking resource and space constraints into consideration.


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Still not sure where to start? Reduce. Refuse things you don’t need, like straws or the paper cups that may be delivered with your barn’s water cooler. If you’re still buying bottled water, opt for a reusable bottle instead, so that you aren’t contributing to the 38 million plastic water bottles that are thrown out each year.

“We told our water service not to bring paper cups to put in the little sleeve. It wasn’t long before people realized they needed to bring their own reusable bottle,” Bulger says. “A good example is contagious. After that one small change, I noticed my barn manager bought a reusable iced coffee cup and started using that every day when she got her latte from Dunkin’ Donuts!”

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Green is the New Blue encourages equestrians to share their creative ideas for reusing potential barn waste. Examples include floor mats made from baling twine and shelves hung with old stirrup leathers, but the possibilities are endless!

  • Paper shavings bags can be reused to wrap gifts, poultice legs or pack hooves.
  • Baling twine is great for quick repairs around the barn, packing horse show equipment, or even tied around that gift you just wrapped with a shavings bag!
  • Horse shoes, stirrups and bits make great home décor once they’ve outlived their usefulness in the barn. Think windchimes and napkins holders!
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It’s impossible to completely eliminate waste, so make recycling a priority. If a horse show doesn’t provide a recycling bin, collect recyclables in your car or trailer to take home to recycle. Also, make sure you know the recycling guidelines in your community. Much of what is placed in recycling bins ultimately ends up the landfill because consumers are unaware of their recycling requirements. For example, items must be clean to be accepted by a recycling center.

Bulger also notes that not all plastic is created equal and very often, plastic shavings bags are not recyclable.

“Source shavings that are packaged in paper instead of plastic,” Bulger says. “Materials have a cost no matter what, but paper is compostable and infinitely more disposable than sheet plastic.”

Most importantly, remember that small changes can make a huge impact.

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More tips on going green

  • Keep pastures well maintained to maximize healthy grass growth and reduce runoff.
  • Leave the golf cart at home and ride your bike or walk at horse shows.
  • Buy second hand items from your local tack shop.
  • Purchase items like fly spray, shampoo and detangler in bulk and refill smaller bottles as they run out.
  • Carpool to the barn and horse shows.
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Fall 2023

Our Fall 2023 edition features trail riding, polo in the Carolinas and much more!

Maplegate Farm – Championing Family Traditions

 Written by: The Carolinas Equestrian Published: 18 June 2018 Tranquility and serenity remain prevalent among the 74 acres in Weddington, North Carolina, that are located about 16 miles South of Uptown Charlotte. Otherwise known as Maplegate Farm, the property, owned by three generations of the Dow family, currently consists of two 14 -stall barns, an all-weather riding ring, derby field, nine large pastures and trails that zig-zag it. What ultimately presented itself as a ‘property swap’ resulted in a ‘win-win’ for all parties involved, but here’s the historical perspective to better set the stage. Fran Dow’s, the matriarch of the family who still resides at Maplegate, love affair began with horses as a child through camp, and regular lessons ensued at the Saddle and Bridle Club in Buffalo, New York. In 1963, Fran purchased her first horse ‘Foamy,’ and rode with her bridge club in Birmingham, Michigan. Fran developed an interest in foxhunting with the Metamora Hunt Club and showing hunters with Bill Queen Stables, which were also located in Birmingham. Fran and her late husband Robert Barnes Dow purchased a farm in Griffin, Georgia, upon his retirement from General Motors in 1970. Her horses stayed with notable show hunter trainer, Red Frazier, while the farm was built. Fran also hunted regularly with the Tri County Hounds of Griffin. Upon moving to Charlotte in 1980, she became actively involved in the North Carolina Hunter Jumper Association (NCHJA) as its Executive Secretary and volunteer for about 15 years. Rob, Fran’s son, was also introduced to horses through camp. He began showing with Bill Queen in the late 1960’s at Metamora Hunt Club and attended the University of Georgia in the early 1970’s while riding with Red Frazier. He and Cathy Gossett, his future wife, met in 1975 at the Camden Sertoma Show in Camden, South Carolina. Rob was also active on the NCHJA Board as well as its treasurer for several years. Cathy Gossett Dow admits that she’s been horse crazy for as long as she can remember. At age 12, she recalls spending time at a neighbor’s barn in Charlotte with ponies they had imported from Europe. Their experience soon led to the first family horse, ‘Shawnee,’ that was shared by her two sisters, Patti and Jean. The girls began lessons at Meadowbrook Stables, which is now a shopping area in the southern part of Charlotte. Cathy continued her lessons with another notable area trainer, Nora Cooke, and her interest grew in competing. As with most horses and/or ponies in those days, Cathy fox hunted, attended pony club rallies and showed the same horse, ‘Little Dauber.’ Cathy was fortunate to have some great trainers in her career including Frank Willard, Joey Darby, Johnny Barker and Jack Towell. As previously mentioned, Rob and Cathy’s paths crossed in 1975 in Camden, they later married and started Maplegate Farm in 1981. Today Cathy draws from her horsemanship background to instill these values in her students. In addition to having her United States Equestrian “R” judging credentials, Cathy currently serves as the NCHJA president, past Zone 3 Hunter Committee member and most recently a BRCHS board member. “In searching for a property, we knew we wanted to be south of Charlotte,” offers Cathy. “Paul Wren, the original owner of the Weddington property, was interested in the Dow’s farm in Griffin, Georgia, and asked if they had any interest in Charlotte. The ‘swap’ was completed in 1980.” Rob and Cathy’s house was built in 1981. The “old barn,” which was originally a hay barn was converted to an 11 stall barn in 1981, has since been renovated to include 14 stalls, bath and laundry room, but still keeps its “old barn” look and feel. Fran’s house, which overlooks the pond was built in 1982 and was designed by Rob’s brother, David, an architect.. Rob completed construction of his barn which is called the “new barn” in 1993. The Dow’s daughter Alex had her first pony, ‘Thunder,’ when she was six years old. “Mom leased him from a farmer down the road for $25 a month. He was trouble, and his game was to get me off. When cantering, he’dstop, put his head down to eat, and because I was so tiny, I’d tumble right over his head,” she laughs. “Dad used to console me and say, ‘I had to fall off 100 times before I was a good rider.’ This was a great strategy because instead of crying I was tough and would jump up, dust myself off, shout out a number, and get right back on.” Alex had numerous ‘project’ horses and ponies that taught her the process of developing young ones such as ‘King of the Hill,’ a five-year old which her father Rob showed in the First Year Green Conformation Hunters, and Alex competed with him in the Junior Hunters. “I also had the privilege of riding some true champions such as the Ferro’s ‘Just a Star,’ Grand Short Stirrup Champion at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show (BRCHS) and ‘Bold Headlines’ in the Younger Children’s Hunters.” Before turning professional in 2016 and teaching high school Spanish, Alex qualified and competed their horse, ‘Trade Mark’, at the prestigious Devon Horse Show as well as scored top placings in several International Hunter Derbies. Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Alex also served as NCHJA Executive Secretary for two years. “Maplegate is our happy place, and we love the opportunity to share it with others.” Younger brother, Tucker, rode and competed in the Short Stirrup through the Medium Pony Hunter Divisions, mainly because the girls in the barn told him he couldn’t ride. His main goal was to ride long enough to beat them all in competition at which he did in fact accomplish. Today, Tucker’s involvement in the horse industry is limited. You can catch him on an occasional trail ride, managing horse shows at the historic Sedgefield Showgrounds in Greensboro, NC, building jumps and/or hauling horses. Much like the horses and Maplegate Farm, the BRCHS

Savannah College of Art and Design

 Written by: The Carolinas Equestrian Published: 21 September 2018 SCAD is the first art and design university in the U.S. to offer a comprehensive intercollegiate equestrian environment, with both a national championship winning competitive equestrian team, and an equestrian studies academic program. SCAD provides students a lively, well-rounded environment that fosters camaraderie, team spirit and healthy competition. SCAD equestrian epitomizes these principles. In addition to a national championship winning competitive equestrian team, SCAD Savannah offers a B.A. degree in equestrian studies, and an equestrian studies minor. The equestrian magic happens just over the Savannah River, in Hardeeville, South Carolina, where the 180-acre Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center was constructed expressly to support SCAD’s national caliber equestrian program. A Lowcountry gem tucked amid live oaks and loblolly pines, the center features two magnificent barns, where horses are cared for by both students and professional grooms. SCAD hosts prestigious tournaments at the Equestrian Center throughout the year. The SCAD equestrian team has the benefit of learning, practicing and competing at the facility, providing ideal conditions for the riders and horses alike. The center features 84 stalls and automatic fly-spray system. Rubber tiles topped with dust-free shavings form the floor. A staff veterinarian provides the latest diagnostic treatments and therapies. The center features three large competition rings and a fully-fenced turf derby field, 13 turnout paddocks and a European walker. The all-weather riding arena features state-of-the-art footing (a mixture of diatomaceous earth, fiber, and spandex) and industrial fans for ventilation. In fall 2015, a new barn was completed, including meeting and office space, a new veterinary clinic, two tack rooms, and lockers. The trophy room is adorned with blue ribbons drape and gold trophies, testaments to the collective excellence of SCAD artist-athletes, coaches, and staff. The equestrian center’s preeminence reflects the sustained success of the team. Currently, the SCAD equestrian team has grown to over sixty members. A program at the pinnacle of its powers, the SCAD equestrian team is a modern sports dynasty. Under the leadership of Coach Ashely Henry, the SCAD Equestrian team has won 3 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships, 5 Overall Tournament of Champions (TOC) National Championships and 15 American National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Championships in the Novice and National divisions. In the last five years, SCAD as secured 15 national team championships and reserve championships. In 2017, the Bees won their third IHSA National Championship title in as many years. In January 2018 the team won its fifth consecutive Tournament of Champions title. SCAD has a history of standout equestrian competitors. In the past 16 years (2002-2018), SCAD has won 41 individual IHSA national titles, and 22 individual National titles. These titles are the manifestation of commitment and discipline Coach Henry requires of her riders. SCAD equestrian student-artist-athletes are continuously involved in serving the local community, leading charity events, including the Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and The Buddy Walk for Down syndrome awareness. SCAD equestrian team members also host a high school talent search at the equestrian center, which shows local high-schoolers what it’s like to compete on a collegiate equestrian team. In addition, SCAD participates in Heroes on Horseback, a local program that helps physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled students learn how to ride. The SCAD undergraduate program of equestrian studies covers equine law and principles, rules and regulations of various equestrian governing bodies, and effective communication with a wide range of equestrian professionals. The comprehensive curriculum is supplemented by lectures from visiting professionals, including trainers, Olympic-caliber riders, judges, veterinarians and horse-show managers. Through the equestrian studies program, students gain an understanding of equine psychology, body language and social behavior that they apply to the care, training and riding of horses. Knowledge of equine anatomy, conformation, conditioning, health and nutrition provides the basis from which students develop competency in the safe handling, proper care, evaluation and selection of the sport horse. Lowcountry locals, tourists, prospective students and their families are all encouraged to visit SCAD’s Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center. SCAD delights in sharing these world-class facilities with everyone. Photos courtesy of SCAD

Top Three Considerations When Building Stalls

Your horses spend a lot of time in their stalls. Here are some tips to keep your equine companions comfortable, happy and safe. There are many things to consider when selecting stalls for your horse barn, including animal comfort and safety, functionality and style. Three of the most important factors are stall door styles, the design of the stalls, and what types of waterers and feeders you decide to use.

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