Animal or Sport Equipment? – The Downsides of Horsebackriding

As much as I love horseback riding and the relationship between humans and horses, there are times when I wish that humans would have never started to use and bond with those pretty and intelligent animals. Of course the majority of us would never even think about harming them, but there are too many that see the horse as sport equipment instead of an animal.As much as I love horseback riding and the relationship between humans and horses, there are times when I wish that humans would have never started to use and bond with those pretty and intelligent animals. Of course the majority of us would never even think about harming them, but there are too many that see the horse as sport equipment instead of an animal.

Doping

As Anika and Alina have already reported, doping is a rather common, but prohibited way of enhancing one’s performance. Also in horse racing, dressage, eventing, and jumping, there have been several cases of doping. As posted by one blogger, horses are more doped than Baseball players. At the Olympic Games, Pearl wrote that four horses were tested positive for doping, from which one of them was on the Norwegian jumping team that won the bronze medal. Furthermore there were scandals in horse racing, where Big Brown, a star horse, crumbled at his final race. Rhoden also reports on Eight Belles, a young racing horse, which ran the race of her life, but suddenly her ankles shattered, she crumpled to the track and was euthanized in front of the national television audience. This drug she had in her is a human medication supposed to make the horses lose water very fast. It also takes out minerals that keep our bones healthy and stable. Therefore those young horses shatter their legs.

Horse Soring 

As one blogger explains, soring is a technique used to create soreness and pain in a horse’s feet, which causes the horse to lift its front feet quickly in order to relieve the pain. Owners or trainers do this by putting chains around the horses feet, cutting the hoof (which is equivalent to our finger/toenail) up to the point, where the nerves are and then slamming nails in those nerves, or bandaging the feet and filling them with chemicals. This is especially done by Tennessee Walking Horses, because the judges value a high-stepping gait. And if your horse wins, you can sell it for significant amounts of money. Besides the pain in their feet the horses can suffer from distress, inflammation, or lameness.

Flying Horses?

Usually the highest jump in an event would be 160 cm, but there is a special competition category, which includes a height of 220 cm up to 247 cm! This means that the horses cannot even see above the obstacles they are about to jump. One blogger has posted a video, that explained the physical consequences of this type of jumping. As you can see on the picture, the landing does not look very healthy. The sinews of the horse’s front legs are stretched too much, through which they can rip apart. Also the horse does not walk “round”, which means that it puts much more weight on his hindquarters than on the front legs.

Hyperflexion

As described by Lauren Hyperflexion or “Rollkur” involves bringing the horse’s head to it’s chest and riding them that way. Some people think that horses look good like that, but this method is very unnatural for the horse. If you are not a horse person, the ideal way of dressage riding requires the horse to be on the bit, which means that the horses neck is bent and it’s head is vertical with its body. By over bending the neck their salivary gland is compressed, which can lead to inflammation and irreversible damage and it the horse’s body will add bone to the horse’s poll, which is an abnormal growth. Furthermore their vision field is diminished and their inner ear cannot work properly (also creates balance problems). Also the horse’s air pipe is narrowed and the tongue can turn blue from not getting enough oxygen.

 Will it ever end?

In sports, as in every other part of life, there will always be someone cheating or mistreating animals to earn more profit or have more success. Anyhow, our goal should be to at least decrease the number of people who use one of the above stated methods. We should really remind ourselves that horses are animals and not sport equipment. Of course there might be angry at your horse sometime or you might wish that your horse could move like the ones you see on TV. But even some of those on TV use doping and the hyperflexion method. So treat your horse fair!

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Anne! Here’s the book I told you about: A Girl’s Best Friend: The Meaning of … – Jan Fook, Renate Klein – Google Bücher http://bit.ly/zQbKqN Enjoy! -b

    Reply
  2. Hi Anne,
    doping has been and will always be there despite the fact that sports experts are trying to do away with it.I did not know that there are very cruel people who do such things to their animals just to make money but after reading your post, I got so much interested that I went ahead and to find some more information and I think you will be interested in knowing that newspapers were being blamed to some extent.
    But today racehorses go through one of the strickest and sensitive drug testing program that exists to protect these animals. check out this link for more information http://ninetythrees.com/newspapers/newspapers-and-horse-doping-1904/

    Reply
  1. The Magic about Horses « spogging

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