I read a report recently entitled ‘Our future in the land’, an independent enquiry launched by the RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission. It looked at three areas where current thinking needed to change. The three areas were:
- A countryside that works for all
- Healthy Food is everybody’s business
- Farming is a force for change.
Now one of the greatest benefits of owning a horse is the connection with the countryside it brings. At this time of year when I’m out in the mud and the rain I feel that connection to the countryside all the more keenly. It is this connection that makes my drive to protect the environment so strong. The equestrian world must, surely share this connection and recognise how important it is for us to make a change, a change which means that we, and others from all communities, can enjoy our environment in harmony for years to come.
A good start to encourage change is to make requests to suppliers and manufactures. Make it important what and how your feeds are delivered. Consider your purchasing, next time opt a cotton lead rope over a synthetic one, a bristle brush than a moulded plastic number! Ask yourself about the excess in your tack room and whether you really need to throw out a rug that may well be easy and straight forward to repair.
We hear all the time about the power of influencers on social media but the power we all share as influencers should not be overlooked and as a community with a clear and recognisable connection to the environment I challenge us to be bold and decisive about those areas where we can be more mindful. Whether we keep horses for pleasure, as an amateur or a professional with a string of rides looking to the next Olympics, we a have a vested interest in the future of our countryside.
It is our food-producing farmers to whom we must support in the need for change, if we are to halt the climate emergency. We all play a huge part but the RSA report concluded that the way we farm and the food we produce will be fundamental to our Nation’s and the World’s success in recovering from the current climate change crisis. Our support at this time of change has never been more important. Buying local produce in favour of over processed foods manufactured by large multinationals, consuming less, enjoying seasonal foods and learning to reconnect with food and where it came from is crucial. The way forward for our planet is complex, but beautifully simple all at the same time. Rethink what we do and in doing so the way forward will begin to look remarkably straightforward. Our future on the land depends upon it.