An EEF-supported sustainability study to calculate carbon “hoofprints” is now underway

10. Oct 2022 / Category: Press Release

The EEF is proud to have created a partnership with Wageningen University and Research and the Swedish Equestrian Federation (Svenska Ridsportförbundet) to research the carbon impact of an elite competition horse and understand how we can provide a more sustainable environment for our top athletes.

Currently, the impact of the equine athlete's carbon footprint is unknown and this needs to be clearly understood in order to develop recommendations to reduce or offset emissions. The EEF is working with the Swedish Equestrian Federation, and researchers from Wageningen University and Research to develop methods to understand a competition horse's carbon “hoofprint”. To conduct the research, the project team have been engaging with elite stables in Sweden to create detailed case studies and identify all the key components of competition horses' lifestyles, and in turn, calculate the carbon outputs. This includes aspects such as feed, pasture management, training and exercise, travel, and waste production.

Once the first pilot study in Sweden is complete, the tool to calculate carbon footprints will be available to EEF member countries. 

Earlier in 2022, the EEF launched its first sustainability working group, tasked to identify meaningful ways the EEF can contribute to tackling the climate crisis. The group, made up of industry experts and representatives from national federations, have identified several key areas of action of which awareness and education are one. EEF President Theo Ploegmakers commented, “This year alone we have seen an incredibly hot summer, with droughts and water restrictions across many European countries, which directly impacts the equine industry. The climate emergency is happening now, and we must play our part to reduce carbon emissions and find ways to continue enjoying our sport in a more sustainable way”

“Currently, the full environmental impact of the equestrian world is unknown, and we hope this research will add a valuable contribution, increasing knowledge and in turn awareness to ultimately lead to long-term change and reductions in carbon outputs”

The first results of the study are expected in mid-December.