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?