Hello! I've read your post about horses and, while I knew some of the things they suffered from, I never EVER knew they could get so much damage from galloping. I am an ex equestrian and I've been thinking about starting again, just outdoor walks, no competitions, but now I wonder if it is ethical to even do that. I've always loved horse riding and I find it extremely soothing for my anxiety, but I won't support it if it's so damaging to horses.
It’s an interesting question and once again when it comes to the ethics of horse riding i feel underqualified to answer it.
I think everybody would agree that it’s possible to ride and handle a horse in an unethical way. There are some interesting points raised here.
Some of the points I personally consider would be:
- Can this activity be done without physically hurting the horse?
- What impact does this activity have on the mental health of the horse?
- Does the horse have enough time and opportunity to engage in natural behaviors?
- Can we keep a horse in a good welfare state when it’s not being engaged in the relevant activity?
Certainly the more extreme the activity, the more pressure it puts on the horse.
If the outcome for the horse is at least neutral (or ideally positive) for engaging in the activity instead of just being left to its own devices, then it probably is ethical to do. I don’t know enough nitty gritty details to answer in more detail, but these are the questions you would need to answer.