Horse and human can go through thick and thin together as friends.
The intelligent animals build close bonds with their caregivers when all contact is based on respect and understanding.
Many people would like to ride and visit one of the around 6,100 riding schools nationwide in order to learn to ride on one of the 65,000 so-called school horses.
According to a study, 2.32 million people in Germany call themselves riders – Germany is one of the countries where equestrian sport is very popular.
But: Do people have to ride horses “to do something with horses”?
And is it even okay to ride horses?
Problems dealing with horses
Hundreds of thousands of horses are ridden every day, not only in tournaments, but also in recreational sports.
Around 600,000 households in Germany have their own horse, 920,000 households have a so-called riding participation.
There are also countless other professional and tournament riders, riding students, leisure and occasional riders.
Anyone interested in horses goes horse riding – and that is exactly the problem.
Riding is not the answer to “doing something with horses”, because riding can be physically and psychologically harmful to the horse.
Many horses are exploited by us humans and abused as sports equipment, and not only in tournament sports.
In the leisure sector, too, some so-called horse lovers often put their own interests above those of the horse.
The needs of the animals should be the focus.
Wrong strain has painful consequences
Riding means that a person chooses to get on the back of a horse or pony.
As with all vertebrates, it consists of a complex and sensitive structure of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
If you do not know the individual needs of a horse, you cannot respond to them and cause great damage to your horse.
Riding in the wrong seat, excessive weight or unnatural movements can cause back disorders such as “kissing spines”.
The spinous processes that sit in the spine touch each other and painful inflammation occurs.
The images of brutal roller cures, in which the rider pulls the head of a horse by reins in an unnatural position, have also been known to riders and non-riders since the “miracle horse” Totilas.
The serious effects of roll cures have been scientifically researched and proven: Changes and pain in the neck and neck area, impaired breathing as well as stress and anxiety occur.
Even in most riding schools or among hobby riders, the suffering of the horses can be observed again and again:
For example by riders who constantly knock against the sensitive belly of the horse or hold on to the reins, which can be very painful for the animals.
So-called aids such as push reins, in which the head is tied to the bit over the saddle girth, are dangerous and cruel to animals.
These pictures are available from so-called beginners as well as advanced and professional riders
Why are horses ridden at all?
Horses are running animals.
They move around 16 hours a day in an open environment.
They rarely run very long distances in one go, but move forward step by step, for example when grazing. Exercise is also essential for domesticated horses – because without regular opportunities to walk, the animals are demonstrably ill. Insufficient exercise leads to damage to the musculoskeletal system such as osteoarthritis.
The respiratory tract and the digestive mechanism also suffer if they stand too long. The consequences here can include colic, which in the worst case can lead to the death of the animal.
In addition, horses develop behavioral disorders if they are not kept busy.
Examples of these disorders include, but are not limited to, the head, in which the horse compulsively bites into for example feeding troughs or bars swallows air and is a form of stress relief.
Another behavioral disorder is weaving, in which the horse is constantly swinging its head back and forth, stepping from one leg to the other, and standing far apart on its front legs.
Many people may think that riding is the only option to keep the horse busy and to use it to the full. In fact, there are numerous alternatives to horseback riding.
This allows you to do justice to the horse on both a physical and a mental level. And it’s great fun!
Alternatives to riding-Walks through forests, meadows and fields!
The different surfaces are good for the musculoskeletal system of humans and animals, because different muscle groups are used and promoted here.
The common walk strengthens the bond between horse and human. Smaller exercises, such as standing still together, strengthen mutual awareness.
Freehand work promotes loyalty and trust.
Here the horse reacts to non-verbal communication with its human.
Different gaits or changes of direction are trained on the ground.
Work on the free hand should always be done in limited areas.
Skill course from the ground
Exercises are carried out here that are important for both the muscles and the head of the animals and are great fun for them. To get started, you can work with a halter and lead rope from the ground.
Smaller obstacles or poles lying on the ground, for example, promote dexterity and the togetherness of man and horse.
It is important that the horses are neither mentally nor physically overwhelmed and that they are motivated with calm, rewards and positive reinforcement – because horses are not there to entertain us.
And I mean…No, riding is no longer up to date, it is a relic from the past.
It is not okay to build a relationship with only your own decision in mind.
Nobody asks the horse whether it wants to be ridden, by whom, for how long, where and how.
Mankind is always looking for ways to make animals its subjects, animals that obey and allow one to enjoy one’s life without opposition.
It is not possible to demand total submission from another being and still understand it as a love of animals or a healthy relationship
It would only be a small step and we could make the world completely different for all animals.
The horses can be our companions on this path and show us the direction – if we find the courage to respect their free will and free ourselves from myths and falsehoods.
My best regards to all, Venus