Horse SA, located at Kent Town in South Australia, is a not for profit organization that works within the community of horse owners and enthusiasts. It primarily deals with horses’ health and emergencies, rescue training and welfare as well as transportation and safety. Recently Horse SA has proposed a property management plan which integrates climate change issue as a part of its action plan. The organization is pursuing over 70 local organizations along with 3000 horse owners to manage horses and arrange events involving them according to this action plan. This is a good instance of a horse industry working against climate change.
The action plan aims at combating the consequences of extreme weather events like hotter temperature and inadequate rainfall. Such conditions impact horses’ health and safety in a negative way; diseases spread out in the areas where riding and trainings take place. It suggests effective ways of stabling and feeding horses along with managing land that ensures their welfare and protects them from effects of climate change. Horse SA’s initiative has been successful and the model of their action plan is being copied in Northern Australia. Moreover, it was successful in attracting the US horse industry and is being imitated in Washington State by a group called “Horses for Clean water”.
Julie Fiedler of Horses SA points out that horses are usually raised in outskirts of urban areas where their owners make a living. It is, thus, important for them to be familiarized with a plan to manage property that prevents erosion, diseases and shortages of water and feed. These conditions arise from overgrazing, improper management of water and feed and from mosquitoes and insects. Growing weeds cause spread of diseases and create unhealthy condition for horses as well. Evidently, the organization is not treating climate change as a separate issue and has accordingly formulated an action plan for property management that addresses the impacts of climate change.
Jacqueline Rafael together with her husband owns seven horses that the couple uses for pleasure riding; they raise their horses on two hectares of land at Gawler, located on the Adelaide Plains. They are already enjoying the benefits of adopting the action plan formulated by Horse SA. They have turned a block of their property into an ideal model of managed property that was once covered with weeds. Tanks in every outbuilding are utilized to preserve rainwater, stables are shielded from hot sun and strong wind by planted shelter belts. Furthermore, they collect the manures to form mulch that is covered on soil to retain moisture. Managing their property according to the action plan has enabled them to keep it clean and away from derbies.
This particular area where the Rafaels have been living for twelve years, has witnessed extreme weather conditions both in winter and in summer time. The past winter was the most severe in the last twelve years and the summer was sizzling with a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. The effects of climate change are already visible and the issue itself cannot be ignored any more. It would be commonsensical for stable owners to adopt Horse SA’s action plan to manage their property and thereby combat climate change.