I love my horse more than anything else on this planet.
I also value my choice to be vegan and treat all animals with kindness.
I keep seeing pictures and even blog posts popping up everywhere saying that horseback riding is the exploitation of an animal and therefore isn’t vegan. And if I’m honest, that bothers me. A lot.
So many vegans own pets. Dogs, cats, fish – and no one complains. I do believe that animals are not ours to own, but in this world, the fact is people own animals. And I’d rather own them and treat them well than someone else own them and abuse them.
With that off my chest, why do I believe horseback riding is vegan?
First of all, the way I ride my horse is not exploitation. I rarely, if ever, use a bit or even a saddle. Most of the time I can use voice or leg cues to guide Fargo; if something more is needed, I always have my reins clipped to my halter. In non-horsey talk: There’s no metal in his mouth, only a little bit of pressure on his nose so he understands what I’m asking him. I don’t push him too hard when we ride. In fact, most of the time we mosey along at whatever speed suits him!
I do agree with some people. A lot of so-called equestrians push their horses too hard, pump them full of painkiller to ride through issues and use hefty metal bits that damage horses’ mouths.
But most of us don’t.
In my opinion, horseback riding in its true and honest form is as vegan as petting your cat or walking your dog. It’s two beings enjoying each other in the most honest and pure way.
I think PETA puts it really well in this article. Respect and kindness is valuable in any relationship, whether that be with an animal or a human.
Stay happy and healthy!
~Shyla and Fargo