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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious to get everyone's opinion on this.

I have an aquantince (a fairly outspoken vegan) who is into horseback riding and raises horses herself. We've had a number of discussions on the subject and she has actually given a well informed apologetic as to why horseback riding isn't inheriantly cruel or hurtful to the horses. I know quite a few Animal Rights activist might consider the practice "specist" but I was curious to get the thoughts of people here. Do you think riding animals like horses is demeaning to them or objectionable in any way?

Just curious.
 

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I disagree with horseback riding. Utilizing animals for human whims is a one sided contract. There really isn't an option for the horse to opt out of the whole process.
 

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I'm not against horseback-riding. Some horses really seem to enjoy it. It provides horses with a lot of physical and mental stimulation which can be hard to get just from accesses to a paddock (and i think that's especially important for horse rescues). I don't think horses who don't benefit from riding should be ridden and i'm against breeding them, especially now when there are so many equines here in need of a good home.
 

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If the horses aren't being raced or otherwise abused, it's more of a philosophical issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by peace View Post

If the horses aren't being raced or otherwise abused, it's more of a philosophical issue.
I think I would consider confinement and having my life run by someone else (what I eat, where I live, and what I do, including manual labor) abuse.
 

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I think I would consider confinement and having my life run by someone else (what I eat, where I live, and what I do, including manual labor) abuse.
I agree.
 

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If you like being out and about with a horse, why not just walk with one? Why does the horse have to lug you around?
 

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Don't horses have to be broken in order to ride them? If lugging humans around on their backs was natural for them I don't think it would be so hard to convince them to put up with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got the impression from what she told me that the horses don't have to be "broken" per say but that they just have to be assured that you won't hurt them. I guess I had some misguided opinions based on the fact that I apporach AR issues more from an abolitionist "is it right to use animals" rather than a "is it cruel use" viewpoint.
 

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The way I see it, it isn't cruel (as far as I know) if the horse is treated well, but it isn't what I'd call morally ideal either. I don't like the idea of domesticated animals, or using animals for our own ends, and horse back riding is really both of these. It's not the most important battle out there by a long long shot though.

Also, I wonder, if you adopted a horse and wanted it to be able to go for a long run, you couldn't run along side as they'd go too fast - so maybe the only solution is the ride it? I'm not sure really, but perhaps a horse being ridden around is happier than a horse confined to either trotting or it's paddock. I don't really know a lot about horses though, so I really have no clue!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl View Post

Don't horses have to be broken in order to ride them? If lugging humans around on their backs was natural for them I don't think it would be so hard to convince them to put up with it.
no no no! they do not. most do it that way because it's easiest for the humans to get what they want out of them. not good for the horses.

my mother has three horses - two mares and a baby mustang who she rescued from a shelter. she loves her horses and cares for them very well. her horses love her in return. one, brandy, was spooked once by a horsefly and stumbled, my mom was thrown off and broke her hip. brandy stayed with my mom until help arrived, nuzzling her. my mom is very against slaughter, racing, or "using" horses in any way - she rides them to give them exercise and to bond with them. brandy only trusts my mom, and no one else. sheba is a big fat happy girl who is a joy to ride bareback, and an incredible sweetheart. sisco, the mustang is just over two years and has not been ridden once. my mom has been enjoying watching sheba mothering him and helping him learn new things, and will attempt to see if he's ready to be ridden next spring. another good thing is because of her absolute adoration of horses, it has helped open her mind to MY lifestyle, and she is super supportive and tends to agree with my beliefs on veganism and animal welfare. she hasn't made many changes yet, but i think she may in the future. and if horses helped her to this point, i am perfectly fine with her keeping them. they are happy horses and i love them. granted i would love for horses to not be domesticated, but these are and i wouldn't want anyone else to have them.

edit: i neglected to mention my mom did not break any of her horses.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl View Post

Don't horses have to be broken in order to ride them? If lugging humans around on their backs was natural for them I don't think it would be so hard to convince them to put up with it.
Some horses are actually not too uptight about being ridden. My daughter had a Friesien filly for a while, and even though Bree was never 'broke' to ride, she had no problem with Kim sitting on her back and wandering around the property. She actually enjoyed people's company over other horses sometimes. Other horses do need to be reassured that there is no danger to them. As a prey animal, their natural instinct (usually) is to think of something on their back as a predator trying to eat them. But they can be shown with small gentle steps that it's ok. I think the idea of 'breaking' horses like you see in the old cowboy movies is getting to be more and more a thing of the past.
 

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I have two horses myself and until about a year and a bit ago, I used to ride them but my riding style changed totally when I became a vegan. Where I used to like the English flatwork, I quit doing it because I realized that for them it was totally boring and repetitive and not stimulating at all, although it did give them excercise. We changed to just wandering on the hillsides and through the woods by our home occasionally and as long as I brought both of them out on a ride together, they seemed to enjoy the stimulus of going for a walk or a gentle trot.

Now I don't ride though, my girls are 21 (never had any foals by the way because I don't believe in breeding horses just because....) and if I get to retire, so do they. We moved them across the country with us about four years ago and just recently built them the nicest barn they've ever lived in. So they're happy, new digs, no work and just eat and poop to their hearts content. What could be better!
 

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I don't agree with breeding horses for human needs. However I don't see a problem with animal sanctuaries riding rescue horses, because often the horses do enjoy the exercise. Taking a horse to a river or lake and letting them play in the water - they love it, same as running as long as the rider knows the terrain. I also like animal/riding therapy as long as the animals are treated with respect before, after, and during the therapy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl View Post

Don't horses have to be broken in order to ride them? If lugging humans around on their backs was natural for them I don't think it would be so hard to convince them to put up with it.
There are humane ways to train horses to be ridden, its seen as forming a partnership with the horse. Some horses quite easily adapt to a saddle, kind of like a dog to a leash.
 

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My friend loves horses, and horseback riding, and it's something we've discussed but don't see eye to eye on. I haven't looked into it enough to be 100% sure that I'm dead-set against riding horses who've already been broken in. Some horses, as has been pointed out, seem to genuinely enjoy it. Mind you, many horses associate it with going out on the trails and what not, and so that may be what they're happy about, not the being ridden part. My friend, who's had tons of experience with horses, with breeding and raising them, riding them, having them as companions, etc. is against the way most horses are broken in and often treated, but thinks it's possible to "break in" a horse the proper way. She described it as "asking" the horse to ride it, backing off when the horse doesn't want it, and trying again and again until he or she lets you. She said one horse they had, the process took 3 years.

I'm skeptical. My own worry is that while it may perhaps be possible to do this in a way that is not harmful to the horse, the problem is always going to be that we can't read their minds, and the other thing is that I'm skeptical of most humans' ability to determine whether or not they're crossing the line into expecting too much from an animal.

If an animal welcomed having humans on his or her back, or felt indifferent to it, I wouldn't have a problem with it. But are most people sufficiently sensitive to the needs of animals to be making these judgment calls? That I'm not sure of.

Will definitely watch this thread to hear more of what people think.
 

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I'm only against it when the horses are being used for profit, such as at a fair, petting zoo, or those commercial trail rides. If the horse is well taken care of, and is being ridden by their owner for exercise or bonding then I don't see anything wrong with that. It's like taking your dog out on a leash to me.
 

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I wholeheartedly disagree with the use of a bit on horses. I think it's cruel. Just imagine the noise inside your head while being forced to gargle a piece of metal.

I am undecided though on a well loved companion animal giving a bareback lift to it's human.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimberlily1983 View Post

My friend loves horses, and horseback riding, and it's something we've discussed but don't see eye to eye on. I haven't looked into it enough to be 100% sure that I'm dead-set against riding horses who've already been broken in. Some horses, as has been pointed out, seem to genuinely enjoy it. Mind you, many horses associate it with going out on the trails and what not, and so that may be what they're happy about, not the being ridden part. My friend, who's had tons of experience with horses, with breeding and raising them, riding them, having them as companions, etc. is against the way most horses are broken in and often treated, but thinks it's possible to "break in" a horse the proper way. She described it as "asking" the horse to ride it, backing off when the horse doesn't want it, and trying again and again until he or she lets you. She said one horse they had, the process took 3 years.

I'm skeptical. My own worry is that while it may perhaps be possible to do this in a way that is not harmful to the horse, the problem is always going to be that we can't read their minds, and the other thing is that I'm skeptical of most humans' ability to determine whether or not they're crossing the line into expecting too much from an animal.

If an animal welcomed having humans on his or her back, or felt indifferent to it, I wouldn't have a problem with it. But are most people sufficiently sensitive to the needs of animals to be making these judgment calls? That I'm not sure of.

Will definitely watch this thread to hear more of what people think.
Horses are very simple to understand once you know what to watch for, and it is the goal of every rider to know that moment to back off from the 'ask'. With practice it is possible to know how to communicate very subtley with a horse. It's actually all body language on both sides.

As for the bit, well I always used bits on my horses because that is what they were used to when they came to us. And I developed very light hands that were gentle on their mouths. There are of course bitless bridles and they look pretty cool. I almost bought one but I quit riding soon after I came across them, so....and by the way, the bit is similar to a person holding a pencil in your teeth, no gargling chunks of metal or noise jangling around in your head.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegansarawr View Post

... However I don't see a problem with animal sanctuaries riding rescue horses, because often the horses do enjoy the exercise....

There are humane ways to train horses to be ridden, its seen as forming a partnership with the horse. Some horses quite easily adapt to a saddle, kind of like a dog to a leash.
How can you know any of this? Some human slaves adapt well as agricultural tools without complaint and without the encouragement of a whip.
 
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