Are Horses Vegan

Carole Stephens
• Monday, 05 October, 2020
• 22 min read

As I said in my video about wool, veganism, in general, is about opposing the use of animals for our own personal gains in any form whatsoever. Horseback riding solely benefits the rider and is thus a form of using animals for entertainment.

horse animals vegan loyalty strength symbol millennia considered domesticated pride association been its long
(Source: www.vegansouls.com)


Simplest response to this is that domesticated dogs also need exercise, yet owners are somewhat able to provide this without mounting them. A third argument is one that comes in many forms but always starts with “by my horse loves…” and insert being ridden, going to shows, wearing a bridle, having a bit, running the barrels, and what have you.

I have links to additional resources a foot of this post and I urge you to reference those studies to delve deeper into his topic. Dr. Den Bennet in her article, Time and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses, states, “what people often don’t realize is that there is a “growth plate” on either end of every bone behind the skull, and in the case of some bones (like the pelvis or vertebrae, which have many ‘corners’) there are multiple growth plates.” She goes on to detail the exact schedule of growth plate conversion to bone in horses.

According to 2002 study, Practical Anatomy and Propaedeutic of the Horse, the length of time for complete growth of the epiphyte plates (cartilage) in the body of the lumbar vertebrae of thoroughbred horses, for example, is not until they are (on average) between 6 and 9 years old! The basic takeaway of this is that it’s incredibly easy to damage a horse back and displace his or her vertebral growth plates, causing pain and lasting injury.

Aside from the issue of growth plate fusion, riding a horse at any age causes skeletal damage as well as muscle and tissue. The spinal cord’s work is to guarantee that the responses from the entire nervous system can communicate the senses of taste, smell, vision, hearing, and vestibular function to the brain, not to get lost in too much detail.

On this especially vulnerable, sensitive organ, onto the medulla spinals, the brain of the back, sits a rider.” (Nezvorov Hate Cole Equine Anthology, VOL. The spinal damage from weight alone is compounded by the use of saddles, harnesses, bits, and whips.

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Bits cause pain and damage to a horse’s complex cranial nerves as well as their teeth, tongue and palate. It is essential to understand that there is absolutely no way to use a bit without the horse feeling pain.

And yes a horse is larger than a dog, and many argue, has thick skin, but where the whips land- around the area of the muscle vasts laterals–the thickness rarely exceeds 2 millimeters and the skin dermis and epidermis is supplied with a large amount of nerves. However, many gorgeous creatures of the animal kingdom explode this myth that meat begets strength, muscle or size.

Regarded as the most dangerous large animals in Africa, male hippos in combat can be seriously aggressive and can inflict serious damage. The annual long distance migration of wildebeest herds is a natural wonder.

Domesticated for millennia, the horse has long been considered a symbol of strength, pride and loyalty; and its association with the human species is probably the most ancient of all. Speed, strength, endurance and power characterize this plant eater.

Massive and powerful, the yak is reared in domestic settings and is also found in the wild in areas of Tibet, Russia and Mongolia. There is a question on Wikipedia: “Are horses meat eaters or are they vegetarian?” I’m no genius, but this sounds to me like a really stupid question.

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(Source: vegedblog.wordpress.com)

Horses are traditionally grassed eaters. Seriously, although this sounds like THE most obvious statement ever spoken, a lot of people are feeding their horses meat products.

For example, most of the Chondroitin sold in South Africa is derived from beef, sharks or shellfish. Protein supplements often use blood meal and meat scraps.

Hoof supplements often contain gelatin, itself derived from animals’ hooves. Or they justify themselves by saying that the amount of meat product used is small.

We know a lot about the equine digestive system. Bottom line: we don’t know how the long term ingestion of animal products can affect a horse.

There’s been a lot of discussion and debate about whether horse riding is vegan or not and while you will always get some people that argue their case is right very few debates will look at it from a completely unbiased point of view which is why I thought that I’d write this article. There is an age-old argument that says that because a horse is a living creature it should be left alone and allowed to roam freely.

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And while there is a lot of truth in it, as a standalone statement for whether horse riding is cruel or not it doesn’t really make sense. Yes in an ideal world horses would be able to roam freely but just because they don’t it doesn’t mean to say that riding them is cruel.

It’s also worth noting that while the balance is tipped more in our favor the relationship we have with our horses is a symbiotic one. Like most predated animals a horse has two main requirements, to have enough food and to be safe, and because we take care of both of those needs they are generally happy to be ridden whenever we want.

If a horse is expected to carry too much weight (if you’re not sure if you’re too heavy for a horse this article will help), is pushed way past his limits or is whipped regularly then nobody can argue that this isn’t cruel. Whereas if you always respect your horse, and ride in a kind way then this isn’t going to be cruel at all.

These days there’s such a wide range in tack that it’s very easy to find something that is not only synthetic but that is also 100% vegan. The problem with a synthetic bridle (or a halter for that matter) is that if your horse gets it caught then no matter how much force he uses it won’t be able to free himself, whereas with a leather bridle it will break and therefore the horse will be able to free himself.

If your horse has a sensitive mouth and you ride with soft hands then a witless bridle may well be the best option for your horse, whereas if his mouth isn’t sensitive and you tend to be a little heavier in the hand a witless bridle may not be the best option. As well as the horse being different all riders are different to and regardless of what type of bridle (and bit) you’re using it’s important to be gentle with your hands.

horse riding vegan rides intermediate hr abby
(Source: www.horsefactbook.com)

This will prevent [extra ref=”#saddle spots” info=” popover” info_place=” bottom” info_trigger=” hover” info_content=” Saddle spots are white patches on the horse’s back where too much pressure has been applied. The reason the fur is white is because the hair follicles have been irreparably damaged and are no longer able to create pigment”]saddle spots as well as help the horse to keep his balance.

Saw a chance to lose weight and be right about everything all the time I started off in the latter camp, but over the years I’ve evolved (or my family would have disowned me by now).

The vegan creed is that animals do not exist to provide entertainment or assist in the survival of humans. They are autonomous beings with the right to live as nature intended.

The other problem with this theory is that horses and humans have been partners for centuries. No vegan would deny there’s a spiritual connection between the two species.

If all I had to do was eat, sleep, and spend an hour a day learning how to communicate better with my work wife, I’d be fine. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to constantly change herds, work through pain, fear physical punishment, end up on a meat truck…these are the practices vegans can work to change.

horseback riding horse rider cruel benefits exercise riders vegan hints born were
(Source: www.bitesizevegan.org)

8 Megan Blanchard Writer and aspiring horse lady. She lives in Texas with her husband, daughter, and dogs Thunder & Coco.

I came across a post on Facebook that had a picture of a horse with the caption “keep your butt off of my back” from some vegan humor page. The horse people obviously defended themselves and made good points.

A majority of the non-horse people vegans kept saying “would you ride a dog? I checked out one of the posters page that was against riding and she's a total hypocrite, lol.

I think it depends on how you personally define vegan. Theoretically, one could take a hard line against any kind of working animal.

I think -- personally -- there is a point where it's taking “rules” into the realm of absurdity. Horses included! If you want to personally define it as “doing no harm” to animals, then I think riding can and should be acceptable.

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(Source: theveganscholar.blogspot.com)

Horses who are worked regularly benefit greatly: physically from the fitness, and mentally from the interaction. Horses who are worked regularly also tend to stay sound and healthy much later into their lives, and have a better quality of life.

I've seen a lot of semi-neglected backyard pet horses that are never ridden or used, and I think their lives are worse, not better. It's your own personal lifestyle choice, not an organized religion (though sometimes people seem to want to make everyone think it is).

I love and adore my horse, and when he is old and too frail to ride I will be happy to still enjoy him on the ground. But I wouldn’t buy a horse that I couldn’t ride from the start.

I don’t think people would want to feed them if they received nothing in return. So many lessons barns in my area would be totally shut down.

I bet the number of horses being sent to slaughter would shoot up dramatically. Big draft horses serve little purpose outside of hauling a carriage.

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I do know a number of vegans who ride and work with horses daily, and it doesn’t seem to impact how they feel about their animals or their passion for riding- not any more than my ketogenic (heavily animal protein-based) diet affects how I feel about my animals or my passion for working with horses. We can choose to view it as the choice we’ve made for our bodies and our health, which is a much more sustainable (and frankly, less frustrating) way to think about it.

Attempting to stop others from riding or using horses for work is just not going to happen, so the only person whose actions you can control are your own. These folks are operating from the assumption that all horses are pets.

So whether I would ride a dog is immaterial to the discussion and a very large reason why I won't engage with those folks. These folks are operating from the assumption that all horses are pets.

So whether I would ride a dog is immaterial to the discussion and a very large reason why I won't engage with those folks. I see all kinds of silly logical fallacies being used to defend extreme positions.

I could certainly see vegans having issues with the high utilization of leather product in the horse world; I think that's totally fair and understandable. But I imagine plenty of vegans have taken a carriage ride or even done those “rent a horse” trail rides or pony parties without issue. I will say this though: Many groups of people who focus on moral or ethical promotion of ways (vegans, feminists, etc) tend to have loads and loads of normal members, and a few dozen “crazy ones”.

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The biggest thing that came to my mind was the usage of leather, and not the actual act of riding. I remember reading a few people considered themselves Vegan, but made some sacrifices for their tack, as synthetics just don't last quite as long or work well for shows (or something like that, it was years ago).

I don't think that's any different from those that are Vegan and own dogs/cats who have to eat meat meals. Of course, I am not Vegan and therefore don't really know how everything works, so take this for what it's worth. And the argument about not riding your dog.... that's just stupid, apples to oranges.

That thought comes to my mind when I read some absolute asinine posts online. I follow a vegan lifestyle as well as diet, meaning I don't consume any animal products or use anything made from them such as leather, wool, paintbrushes made from animal hair, rawhide etc.

Those who are only dietary vegans are likely doing it for health rather than ethical issues they have, and are less likely to care about using leather and such. I guess I will be an oddball and say I don't see much difference between a horse and a dog, except for their size and one is predator and one is prey.

I prefer to think of it as enjoying nature with my horse. Yeah, I guess I want to have a “let's enjoy the trails together” type of relationship with my horse.

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Not a “you are my beast of burden working for me” kind of relationship with my horse. But I don't see the negativity in using them as a beast of burden as long as you are not abusive or neglectful.

But a lot of dog breeds originally had that purpose too. As long as you're not trying to eat the horse while riding it, and of course using only tack you wove out of flax that you grew yourself, I'd say it fits the definition of vegan '. Biothane/synthetic tack is made from oils which come from dead animals, so if you're truly hardcore vegan you shouldn't own anything with plastic (phones, TVs, all other electronics), and god forbid you drive anywhere, since vehicles use a lot of products that are made from animals.

They have little-to-no gag reflex, and a very strong band of muscles around their esophagus which acts as a one-way valve. Horses are incredibly sociable creatures and their herd mentality is one of the reasons why they have survived and thrived all over the world for thousands of years.

These hierarchies and power balances are always evolving and there isn’t necessarily one horse who’s the constant leader. A movement as small as the flick of an ear, or a tail, can send a signal to the entire herd.

The horse (Equus ferns Catullus) is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equine. They have evolved over the past 50 million years from a small multi-toed creature into today’s large, single-toed animals.

horses riding wrong animal ren hurst vegan horse episode whats michael author connection heart harren activist harm boundaries kind sanctuary
(Source: www.vegantrove.com)

Closely allied mares and their foals form the core of the band, protected by one stallion. Her gestation lasts around 11 months and when born, the foal is able to stand, walk and even run within a couple of hours.

It was eaten here until the 1930s but grew increasingly unpopular as British people started to see horses more than companion animals. The resulting horse meat is exported and eaten in other European countries, such as Belgium and France.

Although it is commonly thought that horse meat ends up in dog food, this is not the case. In the past horse meat was used in pet food in the UK and the US, but this is no longer permitted.

Over the past decade, injured thoroughbreds and those who don’t meet racing standards, have been sold to slaughterhouses and their meat exported. These native wild ponies have lived on Dartmoor in Devon since the Bronze Age and are now owned by local farmers.

Some become riding school ponies and those that are left unsold are unable to be returned to the moors due to regulations. It raised all kinds of questions in Britain about where meat was coming from and put pressure on supermarkets to make their supply chains more transparent.

horse riding cruel vegan horses horseback stance animals take sports bite
(Source: www.bitesizevegan.org)

This was due to a drug called Phenylbutazone, or ‘But’, which is given to horses for pain relief. If ingested by humans there is a small risk that it can trigger a serious blood disorder which can prove fatal if left untreated.

Due to horses high sensitivity, social nature and flightiness, there are special procedures for slaughtering them in the UK. The standard practice in the UK for killing horses is a free bullet (as opposed to a captive bolt), fired from a rifle at point-blank range into the brain.

Horses are sensitive, emotional and highly social animals that have roamed the earth for thousands of years. Yet, around the world, horses are used for food, transport and entertainment and kept in a way that robs them of their natural behaviors.

Although not on the same scale as other livestock farming, thousands of horses a year are still slaughtered and exported for their meat. The only way you can ensure that you are not contributing to industries that put profit over animal welfare, is to go vegan.

Equestrians are also abuzz about the book Deadly Equines: The Shocking True Story of Meat-Eating and Murderous Horses. Their entire digestive system is designed to process plant matter.

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We tend to organize everything into neat, tidy categories in our minds, so anything that deviates from the norm seems exciting. While many of these stories in Deadly Equines should be taken with a grain of salt, there is no denying meat is not off the table for horses (pun intended).

Viral videos of a horse eating a chick and a deer eating a bird, as well as the news story of deer scavenging on human corpses at a body farm in Texas, have understandably made a lot of people curious about what is going on. There are also omnivores that eat a little of everything and autotrophs, like plants and algae, that produce their own food.

In general, herbivores have flat teeth for grinding and long digestive systems, carnivores have sharper teeth for tearing meat and shorter digestive systems, and omnivores are somewhere in between. Lean, Mean, Green-Processing Machines The equine digestive system is excellent at turning grass into energy.

Horses teeth continually “erupt” throughout their life, as they are worn down from chewing tough plant matter. Ruminants, like cattle and sheep, use bacteria in their Rubens, a digestive chamber before the stomach, to ferment plant fiber.

In fact, horse stomachs hold a surprisingly small amount, empty quickly, and food passes through their bodies at a rate of about 1 foot per minute. Humans sometimes provide horses with alternate sources of energy, like grain, to give them a boost for harder work.

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A typical 1,000-pound horse that is just working on maintaining her body condition needs roughly 15,000 calories a day. A lush, green pasture averages 245 calories per pound, so you can see why horses can spend up to 17 hours per day grazing.

So, how come horses can’t simply eat less food overall if it has a higher calorie and nutrient density? Besides providing energy and nutrients, all of this roughage holds a great deal of water and the sheer mass fills up the horse’s enormous gut.

When a horse’s digestive tract is empty, they are more prone to twisting of the intestines and colic. They can also lose their water reservoir and develop diarrhea, which can result in dehydration.

Since horses were made to be constantly consuming forage, they aren’t set up to handle the feeling of an empty stomach, and they are not sure what to do with all that time they spend not chewing. This can result in sand colic, where the desperate horse spends time sweeping the surrounding ground in an effort to relieve hunger and boredom.

Horses may also turn to chewing wood or other vices like cribbing and weaving. If they were to consume something dangerous or poisonous, it would require prompt veterinary attention.

taillet wine sulfites debunking unicorns myths vegan vineyards champagne gurrrl horse power
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Sure, they “can” process meat and get some energy and nutrients from it, but they have teeth that need grinding and a belly that needs to be kept full of fiber. The occasional snack of a bit of hot dog or slow chick with poor decision-making probably will not hurt them, but meat cannot be the foundation of a horse’s diet.

If horses are herbivores with a digestive system meant for plants, why are some of them eating meat? Many hooked animals, like cows and deer, are known to eat bones or antlers and some science points to a need for calcium as an explanation for this behavior.

Horses may eat sand, wood, manes/tails, and manure due to boredom or inadequate nutrients. Due to horses willingness to try different foods, they have been fed meat and animal products all over the world throughout history.

While horses in Iceland are generally kept on pasture, in the winter with supplemental hay, farmers may also place barrels of salted herring out for them. Exploration of Antarctica in the early 1900s made use of Siberian and Manchurian ponies to transport supplies.

These ponies were said to have eagerly eaten dried fish, blubber, and raw seal meat. Multiple reports of Tibetan horses from the 1800s through the 1900s said they were fed meat regularly and ones trained to eat it were more valuable.

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Lawn clippings can contain dangerous chemicals or weeds that the horse cannot pick out. Horses also have a tendency not to chew clippings, which can lead to choke, colic, or laminates.

Horses are lactose intolerant and dairy products run the risk of causing digestive upset. Meat does not have the correct nutrients to make up a significant portion of their diet.

Apple seeds produce hydrogen cyanide when chewed, which can be deadly in high enough doses. Carrots make an excellent treat, but should only be given in moderation since they do not contain the correct nutrient profile for horses to stay healthy.

Horses have herbivore digestive tracts and don’t need meat to survive. In fact, they require ample plant matter to stay healthy.

Horses may need up to 12 gallons of water per day, depending on their diet and environment. (Source) Some horses might avoid drinking dirty, icy, or strange tasting water, and they run the risk of developing impaction colic.

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Keep your horse’s water clean, easy to access, and at a reasonable temperature. What horses DO require is plenty of good quality roughage and clean water to keep their digestive systems running smoothly.

They’re herd animals who in nature, associate with other members of their large groups, graze in meadows, travel great distances, play, and engage in courtship behavior. If we look honestly at our relationship with horses, we must acknowledge that the decision to take part in horseback riding is made solely by one individual with little benefit to and no input from the other.

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