Animal welfare is the situation in which animals are treated with respect they deserve. Their needs are taken care of in the way that’s best for animals, not for humans. Wild animals live in the spaces that completely resemble their natural habitat with a lot of space. People are not using animals to earn money, as it often makes people forget about treating animals fairly. Only people with enough resources own animals, so they can take proper care of them.
In horse riding sport animal welfare is often not considered at all. Even recreational riders often don’t realize that a horse can have a bad day and they expect horses to always give a perfect performance. If the horse makes a mistake, it is never the horse’s fault but always the rider’s. But riders are anyway angry at their horses and scold them for it, instead of admitting that they are the ones who made a mistake. In sports it’s even worse as riders often start riding horses when they are just 3 years old and start competing with them when they are 4. However, horses are not physically or mentally ready for this kind of an activity at this age.
I would like to educate the horse riders more. Most of them were taught by their trainers that the horse always has to obey the rider, so they don’t even think about treating their horses differently. But with the right education they could open their eyes and realize that they are treating their horses unfairly. Riders usually think that it’s supposed to be done the way, they were taught to do it and that they are taking the best possible care of their horses. So, for most of them the realization and want for change would be easily induced.
Martina Gaňová (Slovakia)