Green is the New Blue’s Partnership with Aiken Horse Park Foundation Improves Sustainability at Bruce’s Field
In partnership with the Aiken Horse Park Foundation, Green Is the New Blue, an equestrian environmental organization launched in 2019, wrapped up two productive weeks of sustainable sport at Bruce’s Field — both inside the ring and out.
Green Is the New Blue debuted its Living Jump in the national and international USHJA hunter derbies. The Living Jump by Green is the New Blue is designed to promote and increase biodiversity in equestrian settings.
Photo by A&S Photography.
“Biodiversity describes the overall variety of living things in the ecosystem — from microorganisms to plants to horses and their riders — and is important because it provides vital resources such as food, water, shelter, medicine, and fuel,” said R. Scot Evans, Green Is the New Blue’s Creative Director. “A biodiverse environment is also more resilient in the face of disaster. When equestrians source native plants within the course design and farm landscaping processes, they help to sustain the local environments that, in turn, sustain human life.”
To build the Living Jump for the hunter derbies, Evans sourced South Carolina native plants from a local nursery, including Ligustrum, Liriope, and Lantana. Following use in the show ring, these plants will be replanted on the Aiken Horse Park grounds and used again next horse show season. This process supports biodiversity by providing habitat for other valuable species that rely on these plants, such as pollinators.
The Aiken Horse Park Foundation also participated in Green Is the New Blue’s Ribbon Recycle program. For many of competitors, horse show ribbons are prized possessions that represent distinct moments and achievements. However, this is not always the case. Ribbons are often collected at the ring to display in a barn’s setup, only to be discarded at the end of the show. To combat this waste, show organizers placed Ribbon Recycle bins around the show grounds for an easy return at the end of the show. Returned ribbons will be steamed, organized, and awarded at the Aiken Horse Park’s future competitions until they find forever homes with riders who will cherish the memories they represent.
In collaboration with Green Is the New Blue, AHP food vendors Angela and Kory Merrill of Perks With a Twist solidified their status as one of the horse show world’s leaders in sustainable food service. “Each and every product used in our café is now compostable,” said Angela Merrill, referring to her serving products’ ability to break down in approximately three months with the proper conditions. Many of these products consist of sugar cane as a base material, including the sandwich boxes, salad boxes, and soup bowls. Other materials, such as starches and chalk, are used in straws and utensils, while drinkware is 85% plant based.
The Merrills also embraced Green Is the New Blue’s Refuse to Use campaign by serving Boxed Water Is Better™ instead of water in single-use plastic bottles. Boxed Water comes in 100% recyclable packaging made from 74% paper sourced from sustainable forests, which offsets much of the company’s carbon footprint. Boxed Water also uses local municipal water sources, while companies who use plastic often ship their product across the country, resulting in a large carbon footprint. In the first week alone, the Merrills prevented the use of 336 single-use plastic bottles by offering the more sustainable alternative. Through Green Is the New Blue’s partnership, Boxed Water was also readily available for exhibitors at the ingates. The combined effort over the two-week period kept over 2,200 single-use plastic bottles out of circulation.
Green Is the New Blue is thankful to the Aiken Horse Park Foundation show management and exhibitors for enthusiastically embracing the organization’s sustainability initiatives. “Bruce’s Field is a special place for all of us,” said Evans. “It’s heartening to see the community so united in taking action to preserve it for generations of equestrians to come.”
About Green is the New Blue
A registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, Green is the New Blue is dedicated to preserving the planet by helping horse shows, equestrian facilities and individuals reduce waste and promote sustainability. In addition to educating staff, riders, trainers, vendors, and spectators on simple, yet effective, ways they can make a difference, the organization provides tools to make it easy to implement changes. More information on Green Is the New Blue, and ways to help make horse shows more environmentally conscious and sustainable, is available here.