“It’s always wonderful when your peers appreciate your efforts,” said Kathy Fremes the recipient of the “Just Add Horses” Environmental Award. The award, presented at the Ontario Equestrian Federation’s annual banquet, is presented to the horse facility owner who has demonstrated an active approach to conserving the environment.

“It’s as simple as reduce, re-use and recycle but on a larger scale,” said Fremes. “When you look after 25 or so horses, that is a fairly large project. But the concept is simple and only the language has changed. Instead of thinking of your horse and his manure as just that we now call it a ‘nutrient unit. So now when my students come to ride and request a certain horse to use in their lesson, they jokingly refer to him as ‘my favorite nutrient unit.’”

Completing an Environmental Farm Plan and a Nutrient Management Strategy and/or Plan are just the first steps to putting your farm on the right environmental road. “I had already established a lot of the proper steps towards environmental stewardship when I first bought my property over 20 years ago and started planting trees as wind breaks and shelter belts,” noted Fremes. “When I built the extension on the arena many years later, I added a manure storage container in which to collect and compost and then later spread on a field I rent just up the road for hay. It’s recycling in a big way but it’s not rocket science and it certainly is not new. I had to laugh a little last summer when the garbage strike was on in Toronto and residents were discovering composting for the first time. It’s an ancient practice that farmers have perfected but these city folks acted as if it was of their own creation.”

Fremes is very active not only on her 30-acre farm but also spreading the environment word through her role as the chair of the Horse Facilities Advisory Council of the OEF, an organization for which she is an elected director. “When you are involved in horses at this level then you are recruited for steering committees such as the Healthy Lands for Healthy Horses as somewhat of an expert in the field. I’m happy to give my time if I think it’s going to improve the environment, produce healthier and happier horses and leave our farms in better shape than we found them for future generations. I’m all about leaving less of a carbon hoof print on this world,” said Fremes.