Horses for Future

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Mark All
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In 2020 Sarah Owings bought fifteen acres in northern California. She's now learning from the land to figure out how best to be a good caretaker of that land. She has to deal with invasives, including foxtails. She wants to plant natives but always there are possible unintended consequences. There is a lot to be learned from someone who is a skilled learner. Sarah is good at asking questions. What do we need to consider? What can seem like a good idea may end up having more of an environmental cost that benefit. Sarah helps to form the questions we all need to be considering.
This week I zoomed off to Northern California for a visit with Sarah Owings. Sarah is a dog trainer. She’s a member of the Clicker Expo faculty and she’s an eager learner. Over the years Sarah and I have had many great conversations about training. Now we get to talk about how best to manage our land. Sarah is very much in a fire zone so any planting decisions she makes has to take that into consideration. She may be dealing with a very different climate from mine, but I still learned a lot that will help my spring planning during our conversation. Many of you listening to this podcast bought your land to give your horses more freedom. Sarah bought her fifteen acres to give her dogs more freedom. She bought her property in 2020 so she is just beginning to figure out what she wants to do with it. That’s a great time to check in to see what her beginning steps have been. Often when you take on a new property, it can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? Sarah is great at doing her homework. Recently that homework has included incorporating the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy and his Homegrown national park conservation initiative.
This is part 3 of a conversation with Jane Jackson. Jane and her husband live in northern Vermont. Jane has her horses and her husband raises sheep and cattle. Which means that together they have been learning how to be better grass farmers. This week Jane starts us out by talking about silvopasture.
In my tour round the world to learn about what others are doing with their land I especially wanted to visit with Jane Jackson. Jane lives in northern Vermont. She has six horses, including an off the track thoroughbred and an elderly insulin resistant pony. Jane’s horses all go out together on grass. None of them (I’m knocking on wood while I write this) are laminitic. None of her horses have to wear a grazing muzzle. That includes her elderly pony. They all get to eat grass! They all get to enjoy being horses out in a herd. That may not sound all that remarkable. Horses are, after all, grass eaters. But if you have an insulin resistant horse, you may be working hard to keep your horse from having ANY grass. Not only does Jane have a rotational grazing system for her pastures that gives her an abundance of grass, she can let her horses enjoy eating it. And she has song birds. More song birds than when she and her husband moved to the property eight years ago. Healthy grass, more biodiversity - clearly I wanted to find out from Jane what she has been doing. This is part two of a conversation with Jane Jackson. Among other things we talk about dung beetle, teaching your horses to eat weeds, biodiversity, and fencing choices that aid in rotating your pastures. We’re joined by Coralie Palmer who has been introducing us to the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy.
In my tour round the world to learn about what others are doing with their land I especially wanted to visit with Jane Jackson. Jane lives in northern Vermont. She has six horses, including an off the track thoroughbred and an elderly insulin resistant pony. Jane’s horses all go out together on grass. None of them (I’m knocking on wood while I write this) are laminitic. None of her horses have to wear a grazing muzzle. That includes her elderly pony. They all get to eat grass! They all get to enjoy being horses out in a herd. That may not sound all that remarkable. Horses are, after all, grass eaters. But if you have an insulin resistant horse, you may be working hard to keep your horse from having ANY grass. Not only does Jane have a rotational grazing system for her pastures that gives her an abundance of grass, she can let her horses enjoy eating it. And she has song birds. More song birds than when she and her husband moved to the property eight years ago. Healthy grass, more biodiversity - clearly I wanted to find out from Jane what she has been doing. This is part 1 of an afternoon’s conversation.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know I’ve been visiting with people who are the process of transforming the property they own. I want to see what others are doing to restore biodiversity and ecological function. Some of the people I visit have been at this for years. Their experience becomes a valuable resource for all of us. Others are newer to the process. Their questions can sometimes be just as valuable as the information the more experienced landowners provide. In the previous episode I was visiting with Julia Field in Australia. Julia lives in a dry climate where water conservation is a must. In this episode we are zipping around the planet to a very different climate. I’m visiting with Amanda Martin. Amanda lives in Scotland, not far from Glasgow. Even in normal times Scotland is a wet climate, but the past year Amanda shared with me the rains never seemed to stop. There was barely a day when she wasn’t soaked to the bone taking care of her horses. Her pastures are bogged down with too much water. We’ve had years like that here. You wonder how anyone is going to manage to make hay. Fields that would normally be dry enough to cut in June or July are still wet enough to bog down a tractor in August. Amanda has owned her property for three years, so she is just in the beginning stages of transforming her very windy, very wet fields into manageable pastures. Our conversation highlights the importance of research and networking. In training our horses always tell us what they need to work on next. The same thing holds true for land. Amanda has been letting the land tell her what it needs. Amanda has been taking her time, letting her land tell her what needs to be done to create a viable horse farm, a working business, a beautiful landscape, and a wildlife sanctuary. Good management lets you have all of this and more. With good care of the land, horse people can make a difference. Together we are learning how.
In recent episodes I’ve been looking at the work of Dr Doug Tallamy. Dr Tallamy is an entomologist who has become alarmed at the loss of biodiversity due to climate change and habitat loss. He’s launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” In these podcasts I want to share ways in which people are implementing the kinds of changes he is advocating. In the previous episode I began a conversation with Julia Field. Julia lives near Adelaide on the southern coast of Australia. She’s in a dry climate so water management is a high priority. Julia has been on her property for about fourteen years. She is well on her way towards restoring native plants to her land. At the end of the previous episode Julia was just beginning to describe the animals that have moved back to her property now that she has created wildlife corridors for them. We begin with a conversation about koala bears and hopping lessons for a young kangaroo. Julia also talks about dealing with invasive plants, including some that are toxic for horses, water management in a dry climate, Jane Myers equicentral system, and wicking beds in place of conventional vegetable gardens. She provides lots of ideas and inspiration for anyone managing land in an arid climate.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know I’ve been looking at the work of Dr Doug Tallamy. Dr Tallamy is an entomologist who has become alarmed at the loss of biodiversity. He’s launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” Dr Tallamy isn’t looking at public lands. Instead he is calling on private land owners to join what he calls “the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted. The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.”  Sound impossible? What I’ve learned from the horses is major change begins with small foundation steps. So what are the land management steps we could all be taking? That’s what I want to explore. In the coming weeks I’m going to visit with friends from around the planet who are making changes to the land under their care. Dr Tallamy is the expert. You can go to homegrownnationalparks.com to learn more about his work. In these podcasts I want to share ways in which people are implementing the kinds of changes he is advocating. Our first stop is truly a trip around the planet. We’re headed to Australia. You’re about to meet Julia Fields. Julia lives near Adelaide on the southern coast of Australia. The climate is characterized by hot, very dry summers. It’s a very different environment from the one in which I live. Julia has been on her property for about fourteen years. She has had to learn how to deal with high winds, an arid climate, and invasive plant species. She is now well on her way to restoring native plants and animals to her land. A teacher is someone who started before you. I have always loved that definition. Julia has a lot to teach us about restoring native plants in a Mediterranean type climate zone. Enjoy!
Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues. This refers to the work of Dr Doug Tallamy. He has launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” Dr Tallamy isn’t looking at public lands. Instead he is calling on private land owners to join what he calls “the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted. The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.”  Sound impossible? What I’ve learned from the horses is major change begins with small foundation steps. So what are the land management steps we could all be taking? That’s what we’ve been looking at in this current series. I am joined in this discussion by Coralie Palmer. Coralie is a director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, and she’s on the council of the Indiana Native Plant Society. So far we have talked about several key elements that are needed to create what Dr Tallamy refers to as homegrown national parks - shrinking the lawn, planting natives, especially the keystone species, and controlling invasives. In this episode we’ll learn about neonicotinoids. Buying seeds and plants is not as simple as you might think. We also discuss the merging of landscape design and ecology. When you add plants to your garden there is so much more to consider than simply the appearance and size of an individual plant. Now we are considering plant communities and ecosystem services.
Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues. This refers to the work of Dr Doug Tallamy. He has launched in his words “a grassroots call to action to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” Dr Tallamy isn’t looking at public lands. Instead he is calling on private land owners to join what he calls “the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted. The goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S.”  Sound impossible? What I’ve learned from the horses is major change begins with small foundation steps. So what are the land management steps we could all be taking? That’s what we’ve been looking at in this current series. I am joined in this discussion by Coralie Palmer. Coralie is a director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, and she’s on the council of the Indiana Native Plant Society. So far we have talked about several key elements that are needed to create what Dr Tallamy refers to as homegrown national parks - shrinking the lawn and planting natives, especially the keystone species. Now we turn our attention to the other side of the coin - removing invasives.
Our discussion of homegrown national parks continues. This time we look at another core element of Dr. Tallamy’s work - keystone species. It turns out that not all native plants have an equal impact on restoring biodiversity. There are certain general of plants that support many more ecological functions in a community. It’s a bit like that one person in your neighborhood who serves on the local PTA, turns up for all the town meetings, is always there to look after an ailing neighbor, and finds your cat when he goes missing. These plants support many more species of insects that produce those all important caterpillars which the birds depend upon to raise their young. So this week Coralie Palmer introduces us to the five top genera of trees that Dr Tallamy considers to be keystone species.
One of the most hopeful approaches to addressing the loss of species diversity that is part of the climate change crisis comes from the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy. In last week’s episode I invited Coralie Palmer to help me introduce his conservation initiative - homegrown national parks. This was the start of an on-going series for the Horses for Future Podcast. Last week we presented an overview of Dr. Tallamy’s work. Now in this episode we’ll be getting into the details. We’ll begin with one of his key elements - shrinking the lawn. Why a smaller lawn? What is wrong with having an expanse of green grass surrounding your house? That’s the first question. Then once you’ve decided to shrink your lawn, what does that look like, and how do you go about doing it? You can’t take something away without putting something else in its place. So what will we be planting as we shrink the lawn? Those are some of the questions we’ll be considering beginning with this series.
What can horse people do to help in the climate change crisis? It turns out quite a lot. One very hopeful action we can take is we can join Dr. Doug Tallamy’s conservation initiative to create a network of Homegrown National Parks. In this episode I am joined by Coralie Palmer, a director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Coralie will be helping me to learn more about this very important work.
Kate Jackson has participated in Extinction Rebellion protests. In this podcast she shares her experiences and talks about creative ways you can bring the message of climate change into your community.
We’re coming up on the end of August which means whether or not to reopen schools is the topic that is front and center for a great many people. This is a question that doesn’t really seem to have any good answers. What’s the best path to take? I have a number of friends who teach in public schools. They’ve been describing the re-designs their classrooms have been going through. The administration has told them desks have to be placed six feet apart - even if that means some students won’t be able to see the blackboards from their designated spot. What a nightmare. But is there an alternative? Staying home isn’t sustainable. Going to school may not be safe. Here’s an alternative. How about Forest schools. Don’t laugh. This is a really thing. I first heard about Forest Schools many years ago from this week’s guest, Kate Jackson. Kate is a teacher. I think as you listen to this podcast, you’ll very quickly discover that she is the teacher you wish you could have had in grade school. If you were very lucky you did indeed have someone very much like her. Kate is also a climate activist and a horse owner. I met her through the clicker training clinics. In one of our many evening conversations, she talked about Forest Schools. The conversation stayed with me. When the corona virus closed schools, I started thinking more seriously about Forest Schools, especially when we started to hear that the risk of spreading the disease is lower outside. So I have invited Kate to talk to us about Forest Schools - what are they, how do they work, where do they fit in a school program? Lots of questions. I’m sure, if you have children, you will have many more. And I suspect quite a few of you will be googling Forest Schools after you listen to this podcast.
This week’s episode was prompted by an email exchange about hedgehogs. Those enchanting little creatures are about to take us down a garden path that leads to cybernetics, home grown national parks, reframing values and a memory jog back to our childhood for some inspiration. I’m in conversation with Josephine Lock. Josephine did post graduate research with Professor Stafford Beer, the founder of Management Cybernetics and the author of “Beyond Dispute”. She began in one field and landed literally in another when she shifted her focus from the business and academic world to the training of dogs for conservation work. This conversation is filled with ways in which we can all make a difference. I hope this isn’t a podcast you listen to just for entertainmentand then forget about. Jo reminds us that the purpose of a system, is what it does. That’s a great quote. What does this podcast do? I hope it helps us all to send out ripples that make a difference. “Our obsession with the growth of our wallets needs to shift to the growth of our minds.” That’s another great statement. Here’s another quote Jo shared with us: “The greatest task is to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.” Aldo Leopold Why isn’t that a measure of success? Plant a butterfly garden and you can begin to influence value systems. You can spark conversations in a non-confrontational way. You can model alternatives. You can change value systems in small ways that send the ripples out. And before you know it, that becomes the norm. It becomes trendy. Can we fix it? Of course we can. Begin by picking one thing where you can make a change, and then please visit this Horses for Future facebook page and share the ripples you are setting into motion. Let’s inspire one another with our thoughtful action. And do please leave a five star review. That helps google find the podcast which makes it easier in turn for others to find it.
Pick one thing. That’s the answer Sarah Nickels gives when she’s asked what each of us can do to help mitigate the climate change crisis. Pick one thing to learn about. It might be something related to a product you buy in the grocery store, or the way you manage your pasture. Become a micro-expert in a micro area. Sarah explains how the ripples from that can spread around the planet.
"Horses for Future" explores the question: what can horse people do to help in the climate change crisis? I don’t have the answer, just the desire to be part of the solution. In this week’s podcast we’re traveling to Australia to meet Sarah Nickels. When I wrote on my Click that teaches Facebook group that I was going to giving Stay At Home virtual clinics, Sarah emailed me to ask if I would do a clinic for Australians. The answer to that was maybe. I wasn’t sure how it would work with the time difference. I would have to think about it. But in the meantime would she like to do a Horses for Future podcast for me? I know that wasn’t the answer she was expecting, but in her email Sarah mentioned her “day job”. She’s a social scientist in the environmental field. Her work focuses on biodiversity and behavior change. That perked my ears forward. In the next line when she talked about permaculture design, I knew we needed to meet via the internet. Permaculture is a term that keeps coming up as I explore regenerative agriculture. Here was a great opportunity to learn more about it. So this week begins a two part conversation with Sarah Nickels. Visit the show notes in sequestercarbon.com for a list of the books Sarah references.
This is part 2 of a conversation with Sam Bingham. Sam is a a journalist. He spent about ten years living in New Mexico with the Navajo. While he was there, he met Allan Savory. Savory’s work promotes the use of livestock and planned rotational grazing to reverse the process of desertification. Bingham co-wrote Holistic Management Handbook with Savory. I wanted to talk to him about the of livestock to maintain healthy grasslands. We begin this week’s podcast with a description of Alan Savory and his work. It’s interesting to hear about people whose ideas sit outside of the mainstream. We will need creative, out-of-the-box thinkers to help solve the climate change crisis.
In February a chance conversation at the Art and Science of Animal Training conference led me to this week’s guest, Sam Bingham. Sam is a journalist and author. He collaborated with Allan Savory in writing “Holistic Management Handbook”. February seems like such a long time ago. In March the corona virus took over our lives, consumed every news cycle, and pushed concerns about climate change to the back burner. It seemed more important to talk about degrees of freedom with Joe Layng that it was to think about pasture management. But that doesn’t mean that the grass wasn’t growing. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to manage my pastures, so this seemed like a good time to share this conversation.
I feel so unbelievably privileged that every few weeks I get to share with you a conversation with author and activist, Manda Scott. Especially in these uncertain times, it’s so easy to get busy, to get worried, to get pulled in different directions by the demands of the here and now. Manda reminds us to listen, to feel, to imagine, to simply ask questions. This is a complex conversation that begins with the corona virus but takes us to so much more. You’re about to have a lesson in economics, but it’s a view of economics which is very different from anything I was presented with at school.
This week’s podcast takes a very practical, down to earth turn. I mean literally down to earth - I am talking with Suzanne Kernek about vegetable gardens. This was a subject that I always knew was on the list of things I wanted to explore through the Horses for Future podcasts. What can horse people do to help with the climate change crisis? We have land and we have horse manure. So we can grow food. We can grow food for ourselves, and we can also grow food to share.
I am planting a vegetable garden this year. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that especially this year with so many unknowns surrounding the corona virus this is a very good time to grown my own veggies. One huge advantage I have over my suburban neighbors is I have a ready source of well composted horse manure. Here’s yet another way horse people can make a difference in this current crisis and in the climate change crisis - we can grow our own food. I’ve been a gardener all of my life but flowers, not veggies, so I invited Suzanne Kernek to join me in a podcast conversation about vegetable gardens. Normally we would be talking about training, but not this time. Our subject was vegetable gardens - how to prepare a garden, and what to grow. Last summer Suzanne set up a farm stand for the first time. Here’s how she describes it: “Feed Thy Neighbor Farm Stand is neighborhood farm stand that offers vegetables and bouquets picked from my garden that day. It is an honor-system process with no prices. I encourage people to take what they need if they cannot afford anything. I have a dream of starting a program where neighbors collect their excess produce from their gardens and offer it collectively to the neighborhood, with all proceeds going to a different non-profit every week.” That’s a great dream. It’s a great way in which horse people can indeed make a difference.
In this week in which we are marking the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, I invited Susan Schneider to join me for an afternoon's conversation. Susan is a tireless and very thorough researcher. She presents us with a wealth of information, resources and ideas across a wide range of subjects. Her annotated book list on sustainability and climate change is available on the sequestercarbon.com web site.
Horses for Future Episode 19: Planning for the Future - A Conversation with Reid Prinzo When I recorded this podcast at the beginning of April, in New York State where I live we were very much caught up in the planning for the peak of the corvid-19 hospitalizations. Today as I publish this, it is beginning to look as though the curve may be plateauing out. That’s good news indeed. It still doesn’t tell us what lies ahead. How long will this pause in our lives continue. How much time do we have to build new habits, to make choices about how we want to continue on? Do we really want to go back to what we were doing as a community or can we use this time to plan for a better future. Planning for the future is what this podcast is about. I’ve asked Reid Prinzo to talk to us about investing in our values. Reid is a financial advisor. He’s a member of Bryant Asset Management. One of the areas he’s particularly interested in is ESG and sustainable investing. In this podcast I ask him what that means. This may seem like an odd topic when we’re in the midst of the corona crisis. People are out of work. Businesses are struggling. In March the stock market went on a wild roller coaster ride. For many of us our income has dropped off a steep cliff and we’re talking about investments! It actually seems like a good time to talk about investments. There are lots of reasons why people may be thinking about what they should be doing with their savings. If they can hold on through this current crisis, what changes, if any, should they be making? All that cash someone may have been stuffing into a mattress - are people ever going to want to touch cash again! Maybe they should be investing it somewhere instead. There are all kinds of reasons why you might be looking at making some changes in your savings. If that’s the case, you can invest in companies that are aligned with your personal ethics. You can invest in your values through sustainable investing. The podcast will explain what that means.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Horses For Future
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Oct 18th, 2019
Latest Episode
Apr 16th, 2021
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
42
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No
Language
English

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