Our subjects cover: religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: Erica Griffith 26 Dec 2002

In regards to Horseback riding can there ever be harmony...

I read this, and I myself started a non profit animal shelter that has spread right across Canada, so I have an open mind about these articles in regards to horseback riding.

I was raised around horses, ponies, and my father volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation centre here on Vancouver Island, so I have grown to love them, look after them, work with them etc...

We have to realize that animals are never going to be what they were, people have taken over far too much in order for animals to have the sort of life that they would truly "like" as the article quite poorly over stated. And when I say and generalize as animals I do truly mean "all" animals.

Horses are no different then any other captive animal, plus with their expense, you have to realize, that if they didn't have a use, hardly anyone would be able to afford them, so many wonderful breeds would vanish, our very own heritage gone.

I also feel as though if you are going to post such messages on your site, that they should sound somewhat intelligent... Researched and not like the article I have just read. People will not listen when you use such huge generalizations, and basically use ignorance to make a point... I find it quite sad when there is a valid point to be made.

Let me explain something to you.

I have started many horses, raised many horses, but will not ever breed, mostly due to the amount of so called unwanted horses that end up with miserable lives.

When I start a horse it starts as soon as possible, there is no trauma, or fear when it is done correctly. I being when I bring the horse in to his stall, which is done daily to give him grain. I will brush him everyday, pat his back, press my hands on either side of his back, until he's comfortable with it.

Then come blankets, which I will place in his stall at feeding time, so he can get used to them. Most horses will not even notice it or simply not care, others will want to sniff it, check it out and it takes them all of two seconds to realize it isn't alive.

I will slowly begin the brushing routine while holding the blanket and gently placing it over his back while I rub his hind quarters, and scratch his neck. At this point, they trust you.

I will pony them when I ride other horses, next, so they get used to hearing me above them, the sounds of tack, and still have the comfort of another horse with them.

When it is time to put a saddle on (depending on age and maturity as it varies with every horse) I simply will place a saddle on his back, while he is eating his supper, this way everything is still positive, I put it on, and shake it around, slap the leathers against the saddle so he gets used to different noises etc... NEVER once in around forty-sixty horses, have they even raised their head, or batted an eye.

When I tighten the girth for the first time, sometimes they take a few baby steps, walk like they need to step through it (much like wearing a bra for the first time) then are happy to do what you want. You have to give them a chance to realize that it's ok, that it doesn't hurt them, that they are going to get praise and love.

At this point, I will begin walking the horse around, eating grass, go jogging with the horse while he has his saddle on, then go to lunge line... (I do hope you've done enough research to at least know what that is)

I like most others use a Happy Mouth bit when starting a youngster, which is like a soother, its soft plastic, you can bend it in a complete circle, and imprint your finger into it's soft material, yet then can not bite any of it away due to a rubber coating. I cover it in molasses, and the horse takes the bit every time, then he gets his feed again.

The horse begins to see what the bridle means... molasses and gets excited to put it in his mouth so then he can even have supper. At that point I start to work him with the bridle so he knows the next step. I put long reins on each side of the bit, and will do our walks and jogs running behind him steering him with the long reins, I teach him to whoa to the slightest pressure, cause at this point he knows the verbal command, and I simply will give him the "whoa" and a slight squeeze at the same time.

Then I get on him, always with another horse next to him, for support, and that rider will have treats, and as soon as I get on, I get off, reward and put him away, the next day I will ask for a few steps, but nothing more.

Horses like every other animal in the world, loves praise reward and interaction. In fact, when I broke my neck in a car accident my horses went from highest in the pecking order in the field to the lowest, I don't know what that means, cause I was still out there, giving them their treats, though from a wheel chair. My thoroughbred Zuza stopped eating when I came home, he'd run up to the gate every time he saw me, I'd bring him in, with help of course, and try to offer him treats, but he'd just swing his head side to side. He has a 120 acre pasture with 12 other horses... How could he possibly be miserable. It wasn't until I began with riding for disabled and was able to ride him again, even though just at a walk, not the high level competition we used to do. He just glowed, ate, ran, and started working his way back up the pecking order again.

I never rode with or spur, or even a harsh bit, my horses ran to me when they saw me in my boots and britches, now I can't wear them any more...

It hurts me a great deal to see how ignorant people can stereo type everyone who has a job to do with an animal... tell a boarder collie to stop trying to herd things... tell a wolf to stop howling at the moon, tell a horse he doesn't need to run, feel love and the satisfaction and partnership that we have together... wild horses are different, they haven't been bred for thousands of years to do a job for us, by this I mean, go to war, take us to hospitals, mine for us, allow us to evolve...

I have worked with many horses over the age of ten who have never been started (please notice my lack of use for the term breaking or broken or broke) I will tell you point blank that these horses can not be turned out with other horses, they have no social skills (horse talk) They don't know about learning, and have a hard time taking to stabling, they will stand under a tree and die from water in their ears before going under a shelter... This may be a life for wild horses, but please wake up and realize that humans have taken over, there is not enough land for animals to live the life that they would "like" to live. The best things you can do for animals right now, is to not have children. We cry our eyes out for animals in need, free range, water lands etc... well for as long as we have children we are taking that away from them...

If you want to try to make a point to educated smart people, then research, don't post crap on your website, and please realize that stereo types and generalizations are used by the ignorant...

Thank you, and I would be interested to hear your response.

Return to Horseback Riding

Your Comments are Welcome:

| Home Page | Archive | Discussion Table of Contents |
Watercolor painting by Mary T. Hoffman - God's Creation in Art

| Home Page | Animal Issues | Archive | Art and Photos | Articles | Bible | Books | Church and Religion | Discussions | Health | Humor | Letters | Links | Poetry and Stories | Quotations | Recipes | Site Search | What's New? |

Thank you for visiting
Since date.gif (1294 bytes)