Weight Restrictions and Equine Comfort
As a horse enthusiast, I am often asked if riding an equine is cruel or hurts them somehow. There was a time when I questioned the ethical value of riding these magnificent animals, as you want to protect them at all costs. Through my years of experience, I’ve learned that it’s not cruel for you to ride them if you do it properly.
There is a right and a wrong way to ride, and if you want to keep your riding cruelty-free, you will follow a few basic rules. First, you must know that if that horse doesn’t want you on their back or if you’re hurting them, they won’t think twice about throwing you off. They weigh anywhere from 900 to 2,000 pounds, so it’s not a challenge to throw you. The goal is to make the experience pleasant for you and the animal.
Riding is a sport, and there are times when the equine will experience some discomfort. This is especially true of older horses who’ve developed conditions like arthritis or leg problems. One primary concern is the weight of the person riding them. The rule of thumb is that you should never ride a horse if your weight is more than 20 percent of their weight.
So, for instance, if the horse you want to ride is 1,000 pounds, then it can carry a human of 200 pounds without issue. Now, if you weigh 250 lbs. and get on the horse, it will cause them discomfort and can hurt them. This also increases your chances of being thrown as their natural reaction is to protect themselves.
If the horse is in pain, you will notice some signs they display. It’s not uncommon for them to buck, become agitated, not listen to commands, and limp when distressed. While that 1,000-pound horse can carry a lot of weight, the pony can’t even come close with their carrying abilities. You often see ponies at the fair or other places where children can ride them.
Preparation is Key
Now to answer the big question of whether it hurts a horse to ride them. If you saddle them correctly, use appropriate riding gear, and ensure they don’t have any current medical conditions or injuries being treated, they should be fine. If it’s your first time, you should work with someone well experienced that can show you the proper way to ride.
It’s possible that while riding the equine, it can get hurt. Their legs get tired, and they can have a muscle sprain or pull a tendon. To avoid any issues like this, you should take them for a walk around the barnyard before your trot. Allow them to loosen up their muscles, which will help keep them in riding condition. If they’ve lounged around the pasture all day long, a nice walk will loosen any stiffness they’ve developed.
Do Horses Like to Be Ridden?
Many people think horses love to take a stroll with someone on their back. However, this is not always the case. Some horses don’t like to ride at all, while others love it. It all comes down to the horse’s personality and preferences, just like you.
If you ever go to a riding stable, you’ll experience this firsthand. Some of the horses will be used for public riding, while others are reserved to be admired. Since every horse has a different temperament, some are easier to work with than others.
The Ethics of Horse Riding
Some people consider ethics when they decide whether to ride their horses. Sure, you should consider the horse’s overall wellbeing, as well as their health and feelings on the matter. Though they can’t communicate verbally with you, they will speak in other ways.
Once you become a trained rider, you will understand what needs to be done to make the ride enjoyable for both you and the equine. A ridden horse often needs proper medical and orthopedic care to ensure its health. An equine can develop not only physical pains, but a terrible riding experience can leave them with emotional issues too.
These animals are significant in size, but they can be pretty sensitive. If they experience ligament tears, have someone too heavy for them, or are overexerted, they may not be so apt to ride the next time. Horses can develop trust issues just like humans, and they can also create anxiety regarding any future rides.
Impatient or untrained riders should never get on a horse, as it can only cause issues for the animal. It also increases the chances of you getting hurt. Animal instincts cannot be controlled, and if a horse is in pain from the ride, it will do whatever possible to stop the discomfort. Being thrown from a horse can cause a great deal of damage, including broken bones or worse, so it’s best to look for warning signs to avoid it.
It’s imperative to have a professional farrier keep their hooves in good shape. Any issues with the feet can cause them to develop leg problems. By using some preventative maintenance, you can avoid serious problems later.
Benefits of Spending Time With Equines
There are many benefits to riding a horse that you and the animal can experience. First, it will help strengthen the bond between the two, and it helps the horse build energy and increase stamina. Horses are competitive by nature, so therefore they well when it comes to racing, pole bending, and roping.
The equine likes to get out and do new things, which gives them a better life than just hanging around the pasture all day. Plus, if you talk and pet them along the journey, they’re more apt to want to do it again. They enjoy your companionship just as much as you do.
While we don’t ride our aging equines here at Oak Haven Acres, we certainly have experience with riding. There comes a certain point in the horse’s life that they should no longer be ridden, which is usually about retirement time or sooner. If you need help with an excellent place for your horse to live out their golden years, consider us.