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Horse dillemma

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Jaydoesitgood, Dec 1, 2018.

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Is it ethical to be a part of this even if I wont be contributing to the cruel parts of riding?

  1. No

    1 vote(s)
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  2. Yes

    0 vote(s)
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  3. Maybe (Please leave comment if selected)

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  1. Jaydoesitgood
    Adorable

    Jaydoesitgood Member

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    So, you remember that one horse obsessed girl that every elementary school ever had? Thats me. Ive been head over heals for them my entire life. Have a million horse books, a breyer model horse collection, and I owned a horse right up until I had to go to college and donated him to a charity when I had to leave (hes retired thankfully). I was even a horseback riding instructor last year.
    Buuuuuut now that Im older and wiser, vegan, and actually did some research, it turns out a lot of the things that are 'normal' in equestrian life are downright abusive and Im very aware that I participated in that in the past. Bits and spurs particularly.

    So, heres the thing, this last year I have been craving that horse friendship. BUT Im a grad student, broke, and have no access to our hoofed brotherin. Normally, the only situations you can befriend a horse is via riding lessons and trail riding which A) cost money that I dont have and B) use bits and are well known for overworking their horses for money. Sooo nooooo.
    I have tried contacting the local equine branch of the ASPCA here (Im in Texas so theres lots of horses and ******* RODEO) but they havent gotten back to me about volunteering. No response.

    BUT I did find this one woman who is looking for a groom for her horses. I told her I would do it for free if she just lets me hang out there. She agreed to it. Bad news: She runs a Dressage stable. For those of you who dont know what that is its the fancy non jumping horseback riding "sport" that you see at the olympics. The one that people wear suits to ride. Also, very well known for crazy over the top bits, and crops, and even occasionally spurs. I know because that was the "sport" I was involved with with my horse. Things I am very not ok with today. She also offered to trade me rides for doing the work, which I would do if I could do very, very, light trail riding and guarantee it would involve a bitless bridle.

    So, my question is: Is it ethical to be a part of this even if I wont be directly contributing to the parts of riding that are cruel?
     
  2. Lou
    Happy

    Lou Active Member

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    Any kind of riding is not vegan. The decision making is all one-sided and so are most if not all the benefits. It's exploiting the animal.

    Vegans do make various exceptions with "companion animals". And I think an argument can be made that a horse is a kind of a companion animal. It could also be argued that working horses have a sort of partnership with their owners.

    When I was a teen I worked part-time at a stable (and full time in the summer). I got to know the horses and the horses got to know me. And it was a wonderful experience. Well, the mucking out was not my favourite part. And I was always the low man on the totem pole so I did that a lot.

    But I was Convinced that the horses liked me. And that they liked to go out on rides. When it wasn't their turn to go out they seemed sad. Of course, I never asked them if they would rather go out without 200 pounds strapped on their back. That never even occurred to me back then. But now I bet I could guess the answer.

    When I was a working adult I got to observe a horse logging operation. And I swear to god it looked like these horses were having fun. In the mornings they looked like they couldn't wait to start work. And if I asked them to stop so I could check something, they looked very annoyed.

    I think even PETA has changed their stance on horse racing. Since they have humane guidelines - they must not be totally against it anymore.

    Bite-sized Vegan always does a good job with these controversial issues. She had written and vlogged quite a bit on this subject.

    Check it out

     
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  3. Jaydoesitgood
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    Jaydoesitgood Member

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    I would say I agree with that for the most part. Basically all kinds of competitive riding are exploitative by nature and the horse doesn't really gain anything in the way of benefits exept maybe some muscle. But you can just as easily exercise a horse by lunging and get the same level of fitness so, yea.

    Im gonna do a quick ethics rant but I want to point out that the main question is Is it ok to "work" for them even though they're riding is hurting horses? I think I worded it kind of weird but thats more what I was looking for opinions on.

    The only riding that I personally would consider probably non exploitative is trail riding. Heres my reasoning: Horses do love to go explore new places. They do. They get bored and they're naturally curious and its even better if they are there with another horse. So going out into a nice new field is a kind of enrichment for them, something that companion animals (which I do consider horses) need.
    The thing is, you cant just take them to a new place, let the explore and let them do their own thing. They would get themselves hurt, lost, or even killed. If you know horses you know how easy it is for them to hurt themselves. This leaves two options A) walk them on a lead rope or B) ride them with a bitless bridle. There are downsides to both, the riding being a bit more obvious. Riding puts pressure on their back which if done for long periods and frequently can be harmful, and of course its just added weight and effort on their part. But, the downside of the lead rope is that they cant do things that a horse might want to do in a new environment, like run for example. Because our tiny human legs cant keep up with a horse that wants to go fast.
    Im not really sure what the "correct" answer here would be because obviously I cant ask the horse if its ok with an extra 200lbs on its back before we go chill in the woods. But I probably will be able to tell by their body language how they feel with me getting on them, but I have to attempt to get on first. In my personal experience, I know of a few occasions where I tried leading my horse in a new place was very very not happy with going a measly 15mph in an open field.
    I think it really is a horse by horse scenario as to whether or not its bad to trail ride with them. If the horse obviously isnt enjoying itself (body language will tell you) or if they have any hoof or back problems then, yea, no riding.. But if its an eight year old idiot baby who wants to run up a hill for no reason and seems to not care that youre there, its probably not harmful towards the horse in any way to spend 15 mins up there.
    I definitely think having a horse ONLY so you can ride it is exploitative, but having a horse and realizing that it might need some adventure time and THEN deciding riding is the best option isnt so much. Realistically, that doesn't happen much, but its definitely what I think. I PERSONALLY dont plan to ever buy a horse to ride because there are lots of horses in shelters that cant be ridden and will probably get sold to slaughter if not adopted, but I can see how trail riding may have a benefit for a young and healthy horse.

    Horse racing is the devil btw
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  4. TofuRobot
    Cold

    TofuRobot Active Member

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    That's a really tough call. I am that girl, too. I started getting an interest in Dressage a couple years ago (before I was vegan) - I hadn't ridden in years, but rode for years till I was 18. *sigh* ...There is such a huge debate surround this, but I've come to my own personal conclusion that riding horses isn't vegan. I don't think I would ride one now. Is there anywhere you could work with them in a different kind of setting that doesn't have any riding involved whatsoever? (((hugs)) to you in working this out.
     
  5. Jaydoesitgood
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    Jaydoesitgood Member

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    Yea. I definitely Understand why people see it as exploitation. I genuinely do. And, honestly, I didnt start looking around for ridings sake (and the circumstances that would lead to it actually being ethical under my own set of values is so small that it would probably never happen even if I DID). I just want FRIENDSHIP!
    I think I might physically go to the ASPCA to see if that might help convince them to let me help out. At least that one is a charity and not a buisness
     
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