Anonymous asked in Food & DrinkVegetarian & Vegan · 1 decade ago

vegan views on horse-riding?

I read an article where vegans where claiming that riding a horse was abusing the horse. I agree that years of specific breeding and training to produce an animal that will allow you to sit on it is very un-vegan. But I got wondering...suppose a vegan rescued a horse from an animal sancuary and say it wasn't exactly a tough one you could put out to roam around in a field, say an ex-showjumper or racehorse. Its particular breed made it need to be kept indoors much of the time and needed horse feed because too much grass would make it sick and the animal was generally about as far from a wild horse as you could get. Is it vegan to excercise the horse by riding it (providing you can get non-leather tack) or should you just chase it around a field to make it run for excercise, bearing in mind by the way its been bred it will become ill through lack of excercise.


I think the 'chase it around a field' idea is pretty ridiculous btw! I just wondered if there was any vegans who thought riding is animal abuse abuse, or is it when someone writes an article they like to interview the craziest, crackpot vegans they can find?

I used to ride years ago and I know you can only ask a horse, you can't make it do anything and I rarely saw a horse who wasn't happy to get taken out for a run with someone on his/her back. It was just when I read this stuff claiming that the vegan view was it is 'animal abuse.'

Update 2:

yeah, I guess my hypothetical vegan with a rescued horse is a far cry from the usual hacking jacket wearing, riding crop brandishing mob.

Update 3:

Point I'm getting at is if a horse can't get out enough to excercise itself (cold weather, mud, etc - posh breeds can't handle that for long) would it be wrong to not give it an intense burst of excercise by riding or lunge rein, at your command for its own wellbeing? (bearing in mind I'm talking about a really unnatural breed, not a hardy,stocky one with a thick coat but a shiny one with spindly legs.)I know it sounds unusual, but I would think there is a probability of a vegan taking on a horse, which could well excercise itself in summer, but winter depends on what country you live in.

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Asking and answering questions on this Vegetarian/Vegan section of Yahoo! Answers is so tricky. There are many trolls (more so than in any other section) and lots of people who either despise or feel treatened by vegetarian leaning types.

    Mr. Meat, for example, does not so much answer questions here but more rather, insults questioners with his own opinion.

    That being said I guess I better get to the question. Firstly, please do not compare your average horse riding enthusiast with the money grubbing abusers in the horse racing industry. I am an activist for equine welfare and protest racing vehemently. I am also a rider. Conscientious riding is not at all abusive nor painful to the horse.

    Here's where it gets dicey for me. I do not use any animal products. Most saddles and bridles are made of leather. Riding boots are usually made of leather. Even a lot of leather cleaning products are derived from animals. I circumvent this by using synthetic equipment. Granted, they are not as popular in equestrian circles as leather products. Luckily synthetic saddles and bridles are available and they are of decent quality. They are even cheaper than leather. And they do not require cleaning . I also wear rubber riding boots. Again, not as comfy as leather but I don't mind them.

    Mindful, compassionate riding is NOT at all harmful to a horse.

    Oh geez Trace, you remind me of Dana Carvey's church lady character. Looking down her nose at we non principled people who are just vegans of convenience. I personally use a bitless bridle. But no matter...bits are never to be "shoved" into a horse's mouth. They are placed in a spot where there are no teeth. But in your opinion I am an evil horse abuser. Never mind the rescued horses that I sponsor, the volunteer work I do at a local horse sanctuary and the time I have spent going against popular opinion and protesting a new local racetrack.

    We should be on the same side.

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  • ShawnT
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I haven't read the article and, though vegan for a long time, have never heard this issue mentioned before. While I can't speak for all vegans, I can tell you what I think.

    You are certainly right that the ways in which these animals have been bred and trained is not "vegan" in that is the systematic exploitation of animals for human gain. I imagine most vegans see riding a horse as an unspoken endorsement of that process. Also, most of the time when people are riding horses, they either purchased them or are paying someone who did purchase the animals. This is no longer turning a blind eye to the industry, but actively paying for it.

    I don't think most vegans have your hypothetical of rescuing a horse from an animal sacntuary in mind when thinking of riding, as it is a very small percentage of the people riding horses. In the unlikely case that a vegan happens to now own a formerly abused horse and would like to give it exercise, they might ride it, or they might find other ways of exercising, still seeing riding the animal as using it, even if the animal has been bred not to feel that way. This is such an isolated case that it's hard to say what vegans would do.

    It should be mentioned that the most widely accepted idea of veganism includes not only not consuming animal products, but also the notion of not using, exploiting, or imprisoning animals for our tastes or gain. With that, I think that most vegans would have a problem participating in any sort of horse industry, but that is only my opinion.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think the decision to ride a horse or not varies from vegan to vegan. I personally choose not to for two reasons.:

    1. I don't like seeing horses bridled and musseled and such.

    I don't think it is natural.

    2. I would hate to burdern a horse with my extra weight, (160lb), thereby causing it spine and leg problems.

    Bear in mine though that I have an extremely soft concience.

    I can't even kill bugs. Anyway, I agree with Michael H. It's not necessary to ride one. They will run on their own. But if one doesn't feel it is doing physical harm to the horse or making it a beast of burden I don't see why it would be classified as abuse if it is done in a considerate manner. That being said though. I oppose horse-racing because they over-work, enslave, and often kill the horses once they've become injured and can no longer perform.

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  • lisa m
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The complete ignorance and understanding of horses and in particular horse racing on this board is completely astounding. As someone else said, you think we spend millions on them to then abuse them. How much first hand experience have any of you ever had in racing? I've worked in racing all my life and I've never seen horses abused. In fact I take great offence to your insinuations that we are all cruel and barbaric. I think that making dogs eat a vegan diet is cruel and unnatural! I should also mention that racehorses have the best cutting edge veterinary care available to them. I'd rather be a racehorse on my farm than stuck in a field living a "natural" existence with someone that has no real understanding of food and nutrition, shoeing etc. And if you are all so concerned about their welfare, perhaps in light of the current nation wide drought, you might want to cough up $200 each and donate a ton of hay to your local rescue. I wouldn't suggest any of you adopting one because you clearly have no idea and I wouldn't let you walk my dog let alone take care of my horse.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i don't think horse riding is anti vegan, most horses in these schools (at least the ones that i've been to) are well kept and i yell at instructers if i see them hitting a horse, so i think as long as you're careful where you go, its okay.

    Mr. Meat, this 'fanatical forum' isn't focusing on humans welfare, its focusing on animals, which is precisely why you don't see human beings as a high priority on this one, that isn't to say we don't care about people, i do lots of volunteer work for kids and intend to make a career of it, thats simply not what is discussed on here - that goes for riverman too

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  • 1 decade ago

    I once rode horses, I don't think it would be labeled as animal abuse, however there are people that may ride horses or keep them and treat them badly. I do agree with someones answer, they stated a few horses together would run and get enough exercise. I have more of a problem with horse racing, especially since so many horses get injured or have problems with their legs and hooves, simply for people to place bets.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I dont know why a horse cant be ridden. Horses do love human companionship in and out of the saddle. You should see my gelding when you back him into the box to rope. Loves and he can get enough. My mare that i cattle sort off of loves cattle also loves to bite em. And yes both of mine have been bred to work cattle so thats what i do and they get excited everytime we rope or cattle sort.

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  • 1 decade ago

    We have rescue animals, if they have enough space they will get thier own exercise.

    Horses are companion animals and should never be kept on thier own

    Watch a couple of horses in a field, they run around and get thier own exercise, no need to ride them.

    Note I'm not saying you should, or should not, ride them, I'm just saying you don't NEED to ride them to keep them fit, they will figure it out for themselves. Staying fit is part of an animals natural instinct.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If a horse doesn't want to be ridden, I can tell.

    I love riding horses. I'm not eating them, nor am I making them sick and fat.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Some of it is true, some horses aren't treated well, especially expensive competition horses (for racing, show jumping...). But I think that if you take well care of the horse it's fine.

    After all, what about people's pets?

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