Learning to Love Horses | One Trainer’s Journey Away From Riding

Learning to Love Horses | One Trainer’s Journey Away From Riding


One of the most iconic and time-honored human-animal relationships is that of horse and rider. From the noble steeds of battle to a little
girl’s first pony, the bond people share with their horses seems to border on the profound,
and the idea of giving up riding is incomprehensible. So what would lead a lifelong trainer, trader,
and rider, who lived and breathed horses for years, to not only give it all up, but even
question concept of domestication itself? To look back and realize that what she’d
so long considered her love of horses, was in reality her love of power. Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome
to another vegan nugget. Of all of the sensitive topics I’ve covered,
from religion to abortion, my videos on horse riding ethics have by far sparked the most
controversy. While I personally have very limited experience
with horses, my guest today built her entire identity around the training, trading and
riding of horses. With brutal honesty and admirable self-analysis,
Ren Hurst shares her journey in her memoir Riding On The Power Of Others, and was kind
enough to spare some time to be on the channel. She has a lot of powerful insights to share,
so let’s get right to it! Emily: Ren I want to thank you so much for
taking time out of your schedule to sit here and answer some questions and share your journey. Ren: Well thank you Emily, I’m honored to
have a chance to talk to you this way Emily: So you’ve had a really profound journey
with your relationship to horses, through a variety of training philosophies and approaches
over this period. Could you share a little of your initial mindset
when you first started working with horses informally as a kid, and then how that compared
and evolved with your first formal training? Ren: I got my first horse when I was 12 so
it’s right around the time of puberty, my home life was a mess, hormones, all kinds
of craziness, it was just literally a way to deal with all of that at the time. And then around 16 I got my first formal training. I really didn’t like how my horse was being
treated, and yet through this – what I perceived as violent treatment of her, I was able to
do the things that I wanted to do. And it was being condoned, pushed and celebrated
by people who were very, very respected in the field of horsemanship but it was effective
and that changed the course of my life – being taught violence. This was very much the general, traditional
type of horsemanship. Basically they were teaching her how to lunge
which is how to send her around in circles (on a line usually), and she was really unruly. Their answer to that was to run a stud chain
through the halter – the nose of the halter, which is very typical, it’s very common
practice. And I remember thinking ‘oh my god they’re
really hurting her when they do that’ but then they taught me how to do it, and it worked. You know that’s the very beginnings of my
journey, but that feeling and that teaching at a young age – that it’s ok to control
and use violence to get what you want and what you need from somebody, really affected my life
long term. Emily: One of the major shifts that you had
with your relationship with horses was your introduction to what is called natural horsemanship. Can you share a little bit about what that
means and how that differs from what you were calling traditional approach? Ren: I found natural horsemanship like most
people, I thought that ‘oh wow this is the greatest thing ever’. And looking back on it now it’s a completely
different way of seeing it. But when it was introduced to me I was already
pretty deep in the game, I had already learned how to train horses traditionally, I was already
buying and selling and making a profit that way. The whole natural horsemanship thing is this
grand delusion of love and cooperation and respect and trust because at the end of the
day you are still forcing the horse, you are still moving their feet, you are still manipulating,
you are still coercing, you are still the one that has the say at the end of the day. And they sell it in this little gift wrapped
package of love and cooperation and respect and trust, and there’s just this total cognitive
dissonance with people, that if you apply those same terms to your personal human relationships that is not what those words look like. It’s based on watching natural herd dynamics,
but what people don’t realise is that it’s based on natural herd dynamics in survival
mode, not in the natural true essence of a thriving community of wild horses in their
natural state, where resources are abundant, and there’s more harmony and cooperation,
which we don’t see here in America because wild horse herds are under a tremendous amount
of stress, due to the fact that the predators are gone because we’re using their land
to graze sheep and cattle and it’s all a mess and quite honestly it all goes back to
people’s desire to eat meat. But basing natural horsemanship on the natural
dynamics of horses the way they are today is like basing natural human behaviour on
watching a prison yard. Emily: So one of the schools that you go to
towards the end of your journey through the different methodologies of training and something
that you flirted with a little bit on and off throughout the book before that period
was with Alexander Nevzorov. Could you talk a little bit about his approach
because it seems to be the most outlying of all of the different formal trainings with
the horse canon. Ren: Basically it’s approaching the horse
as an absolute equal and really meaning that. I mean, you don’t talk down to them, you don’t
anthropomorphize, it’s all very logical, very practical. Zero equipment is needed or necessary. No treats, no coercion, no anything. You have nothing but your authentic self to
show up with and present to this horse, and basically the education of the horse looks
very similar to how you would educate a small child that does not speak English. And so it took a tremendous amount of faith
on my part just to believe that maybe this is possible. And it was that faith that took me through
the barriers of realising what in fact was possible with these animals and how horrendous
it is, what we do to them when they are capable of understanding us at such an elevated level. Emily: On your book it is very clear that
you’ve built your entire identity around training, trading, and riding horses. So how and why do you finally reach the decision
to give up riding? Ren: It was not an easy decision. It was extremely emotional, I remember the
very moment that I sat Brandy down in my office and I took her hand and said: ‘I’m really
sorry, but I can’t ride anymore’. That was our whole life, which meant that
our whole future was going to be totally shifted because of this decision. She wasn’t ready to quit riding and neither
was my apprentice. My apprentice still rides. Nobody in my life. I had a huge following in Texas, and everybody
thought I had completely gone off the deep end. I can explain this all day long,
and people can get it in their heads all day long (which is what drives me crazy about
people needing the science of it) because as important of that is, this is an experiential
change, and it can only be changed through the feeling of the experience of connecting
with an animal in this profound way. Most people have no idea that the animals
they are spending time with are in an absolute state of learned helplessness, of conditioning,
that doesn’t even allow to experience their true nature. What you are experiencing is like this empty shell version, or even an ignorant version of the animal in front of you. That is why a lot of times the animals come
out as seemingly unintelligent, because we keep them stupid. So because of the NHE school, I was experiencing
Shai in an entirely different way than I had ever experienced a horse before, because the
school required me to show up and treat him as an equal. So that’s what I did and by God if he didn’t
show up as one. The level of communication sucked, it ruined
my life. Here’s the thing, once I had experienced
it with him we started applying it to our other horses and one by one they started healing
and changing and becoming totally different versions of themselves (when we had know these
horses for years). We were those people that would have said:
‘we have this beautiful relationship blah blah blah…’ But we didn’t know any of them. The very last horse I had in my training paddock—I’ve
always had a really hard time actually talking to the animals because it felt awkward—I
got up there and I sat on his back and I placed my hands on his withers and I just asked him:
‘Is it OK for me to be up here?’ And he just had this really deep sigh and
dropped his head. I don’t know how to explain this other than
it felt like he said ‘yes’ but with total resignation, like it wasn’t coming from
a good place. I knew that feeling, I knew that feeling deeply
of saying ‘yes’ when it really, really wasn’t what you wanted. I just slipped off of him and I was completely
done. I had trained hundreds of horses, I’m not
an idiot, I could go back through that film reel of all the horses I trained and remember
all the times they said ‘no’, and I manipulated them into saying ‘yes’ or loved them enough
to get them to say ‘yes’ to me all the time. But with Shai, because the school required
you to honor every single ‘no’ 100%, if he said ‘no’ in any way, all I could do
was walk away. It wasn’t about manipulating or getting
to the ‘yes’, it was about dropping all sense of agenda or expectation, and allowing
the horse to truly have an equal say in whatever developed between the two of you. Nobody does that in training. That’s not training, that’s relationship. You have to almost experience a truly free
horse if you’re a trainer to walk away from it, otherwise your perception of what horses
are and how they behave is really skewed. We really don’t know the essence of what
love really means, and that’s what this work has turned into beyond horse training
or NHE or any of that. The whole thing we do now, is we’ve essentially
learned a method of undomesticating animals or people in a domesticated state through
this unconditional love and action which is extremely difficult, is not woo-woo, it’s
very logical, it’s very practical, it works, it’s very effective, and you have to be
really ready to show up for it because it brings up the darkest aspects of you that
most people don’t want to face, which is why most people like to keep their animals
the way they are because that is their source of unconditional love that they’re not willing
to find within themselves. And the way we work with animals here at the
sanctuary is it’s a practice center. It’s practicing this way of relating in
a truly unconditional manner that heals the domesticated subject and gives you a chance
to heal yourself out of a domesticated state that society and conditioning has placed us
in. So, by liberating the animals, and practicing
working within these parameters of keeping it honest and keeping it at that level, you
grow tremendously as a person and there’s not a lot of people signing up for that yet
because it’s really hard work. Emily: So one of the main objections that
I hear from horse owners in response to a few of the videos I’ve done on horse ethics,
which I read throughout your book as well, is this assertion that – they love their horses,
and that their horses in turn love to be ridden. You know how people say, “My horse even
comes up and asks to be ridden, or gets excited when I have the saddle,” So, how do you
respond when you receive these kind of objections? Ren: Well, it depends on if I’m trying to
word it in a way that actually reaches people or if I just answer off-the-cuff, because
it is insanity, it’s absolute insanity, and what’s worse about it is that many of
the horses that are displaying these behaviors that they like to be strapped with the dead
body parts of another animal and have this metal rod stuck in their mouth, they probably
do because their life experience is so limited, that that looks like fun in comparison
to standing in a stall all day. There’s such a disconnect between this use of
the word “love,” and what we actually do with these animals. I know that these people feel love towards
their horses, without a doubt, no question, but, if it’s the same love that you feel
toward your family members – I mean, do you place your family members in bondage, micro-manage
every aspect of their lives, and then climb on them whenever you want and ask them to
take you around. The answer is ‘no,’ and if you do, I don’t
want to be a part of your family. But, it’s like, how obvious is that? That’s not a loving relationship, and it’s
not an equal relationship. This is a being you have placed in your control
and in your care, and then you call that “love.” What that is, is something entirely different. I mean, there’s nothing “loving” about
using someone for your own personal benefit. Love is way bigger than just a feeling. That feeling is more like affection, and it’s
more attachment-based. Emily: Why do you think that this is so difficult
for people to break with this concept of riding horses? Ren: People are deeply attached to being able
to use the horse for their sense of power – women especially. Ninety-five percent of my clientele, the whole
time I was in the horse industry, was women, ages, probably between 40 and 75 years old,
and I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve heard the words, “my horses saved
my life.” It’s such a painful thing to hear, and I
don’t argue with people when I hear it. But the truth is, is if your emotional connection
to another being is where your dependency on survival lies, then you’re
giving your power away, and women taking the power away from the horses is a lot of times
how they make it in this world, when the rest of their relationships are not necessarily
working, or if they don’t feel powerful in other areas of their lives, and I saw this
again and again and again. When I stopped riding, and was still trimming
hooves for my clients, so many of them would get tears in their eyes because they could
see and feel the truth of what I was talking about and they knew someone like me would
never give up riding if there wasn’t something profoundly true about why I did it, because
I’m not that person. This wasn’t an easy emotional decision for
me, it just makes absolute sense. But to give that up before they knew what
to replace it with would’ve been death for them – maybe literally. Riding, to many people, is as much a dependency
as any other drug that’s keeping them functioning. It’s a really, really hard thing to give
up if it’s your main source of joy and freedom in the world Emily: There are many vegans that continue
to ride horses – do you find that the objections that you receive for giving up riding mirror
those that we tend to receive when people are resisting shifting to veganism? Ren: Many vegans, whether they understand
it or know it or not, are still exploiting animals. When the focus is on the actual physical harm,
rather than the exploitation aspect of this, there’s still a disconnect. So it’s very similar, the arguments remain
the same because people are jumping on this moral issue rather than the issue of ‘why
are we doing this in the first place and is it necessary?’ ‘And what am I getting out of it and what
are my motivations for continuing it?’ “Having underestimated the intelligence
level of animals for so long and at such great depth, when I was exposed to the truth of
what they were really able to understand, being surrounded by them left me feeling
like a slave owner. It’s no wonder we keep them stupid. Isn’t that exactly how we were able to control
members of our own species for so long? One will never be able to understand the intellectual
capability of another if they are only willing to weigh it against their own understanding
of that individual. If we believe animals to be stupid, and we
keep them under our control, they will be stupid. Unless we create an environment and a situation
where they can advance.” I hope you enjoyed hearing from Ren about
her journey. You can find links below to her ongoing video
series on Facebook and YouTube, as well as to her book and the New World Sanctuary
Foundation to follow and support their work. It’s important for all of us—vegans included—to
be mindful of our relationships and interactions with all beings, human and non-human alike. If you liked this video, do give it a thumbs up and share it around to help others learn to truly love horses, and subscribe
for more vegan content every week. To help support Bite Size Vegan’s educational
efforts, please see the support links below or the link in the sidebar. Now go live vegan, learn to love unconditionally,
and I’ll see you soon. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 thoughts on “Learning to Love Horses | One Trainer’s Journey Away From Riding

  1. Emily, my ex-wife and 17 year old daughter are heavily into horseback riding and it hurts me to watch my daughter continue this path. I cannot even mention veganism to my daughter; the few times I did I was met with "plants have feelings too" and "everyone is different doing their own thing." I am concerned that broaching this particular topic would further sever the relationship I have with her…so I leave it alone out of fear of losing her. If you or anyone else have words of wisdom, please share. Thank you kindly.

  2. Thank you, Emily, for this facinating interview! I can't wait to read Ren's story. May I suggest that anyone moved by this expose of "domestication" would find the book, "Animal Oppression and Human Violence" by David A. Nibert eye-opening, too.

  3. First off I'd like to say that I really enjoyed this video. Quite honestly I don't see my self giving up horse back riding. Since I became vegan two years ago I realized how cruel the training methods I had learned for horses were. I have switched to bitless riding and I don't use whips or Spurs to hit my horse . I understand where this video is coming from, people really do treat horses like they are some machine and they use these shortcuts in training that involve pain. I realize that a lot of people are going to disagree with me continuing to ride, but it's something that I don't believe is cruel, it's something that most equestrians make cruel.

  4. Horses were my passion… I wished at every birthday from being a little girl to own a horse. I finally bought my first horse at the age of 30.. I absolutely loved riding, my favourite activity. Aggie, my beautiful ex-racehorse boy clearly did not enjoy being ridden, although LOVES being around people. After going 'vegan', I saw his communication clearly… As soon as I saw this clearly I was done. He is now retired and living out with three other ex-racehorses, living happily and hairily with his bros. I wish that he was able to live totally free but sadly that's not possible. At least his communication is listened to now and he is happy and can choose when to spend time with me or whether he wants to go and play with his buds

  5. Lot of what Ren said could easily be translated into effective human to human relationships. Though uncomfortable when I hear "unconditional love" . Afraid love for us mere mortals will always have its conditions.

  6. Wow, what an enlightened person. Emily, I would love to see a video addressing the overall impact of the way we live on animals in nature. We focus primarily on the animals we use and are familiar with, but those being exploited and killed by animal agriculture, etc are but a small fraction of those impacted and killed by human practices in general.

  7. It's not secret that women are more attracted to ridding horses than men for the maleness of a horse under their control.

  8. I think riding can be done right. So often it's done wrong but I think it can be humane. My horse barely gets ridden (like once a week or even once every two weeks) and otherwise he's doing groundwork or liberty or out in the pasture. He's not being exploited. If he's having a bad day I don't ride. If he doesn't want to do something he doesn't have to. I mean, yeah, most horses are treated like shit in one way or another. But at the same time I've been told that I'm "exploiting" my service dog, so…

  9. I used to ride. I only did it for a few months but did not like how they were treated and they used to make us kick them. It made me feel like I was dominating them. I fell off and that made me rethink everything. I stopped and so did my friend. These people think they care but they don't.

  10. I love horses and used to volunteer at a riding facility for special needs kids.They say riding horses is good for them? I never understood why. I don't ride horses anymore but I love being with them.

  11. This is so unique! I'd love to see more of this happening though. Thank you for sharing. I've also definitely experienced the most controversy around me thinking that horse riding is unethical.

  12. "We see animals as this stupid creature, because, well, we keep them stupid"
    Something along these lines was said by the interviewed person and it mesmerized me, quite honestly.

    Loved the interview, thank you Emily! 🙂

  13. wth.. she was 16 and didn't think twice about hurting a horse because it 'worked'?
    I knew from age 3 that you don't ever hurt a horse because they don't like it!
    I remember first time I saw someone hit a horse, and I cringed and thought; It's not okay to make the horse do something it clearly doesn't want to do!
    It doesn't matter how often people told me "you have to hit her if she's not obeying" or "horses are dangerous if you're not the leader"
    F*k that sh*
    I've always had horses for the same reason you have a cat or a dog or a rabbit – because happiness and love, and if the horse doesn't like doing something then don't do it. you're suppose to have fun together the moments you actually spend with the horse.
    besides all this "leadership" thing is bs
    Horses do NOT live in a hierarchy.

  14. An amazing and exceptional interview. The logic she talks about is obvious once we give equal respect to all animals. But without that respect then this logic is not so easily visible.

  15. I can totally relate to this! I was trained in horsemanship from age 8 and I can understand that feeling of 'I know this is wrong, but it's just the way it's done.' I would never go back.

  16. thank you so much emily for this one! I've never felt I was able to explain my stance on horse riding to someone who rode horses, because I know how strongly they feel about their connection. Knowing that someone from their position still came to this conclusion, and can express it in such a powerful way, is truly inspiring.

  17. I last rode horses four years ago and have been missing it ever since, but when I saw your videos about horse ethics this year I decided to never ride them again, even if given the chance. Anyway, this is an amazing video and I learned a lot from it.

  18. Wow this is something I've really thought about for a while but I have friends who are REALLY into horse riding and are insistent that they love their horses and that it's not like animal enslavement or power or anything at all. Thank you so much for finding someone so close to horse riding to share their journey into stepping away from this world.

  19. This was a very powerful video, thank you! I feel the struggle, i feel the disconnection and i know deep down that she is wright, veganism is a journey and everyday i am learning.

  20. Hello, subscribers… do any of you know of any actual vegan youtubers that would actually respond back to questions that nonvegans may have asked in the comment section instead of ignoring them, and only replying to praises?

  21. Another excellent video / interview.

    For many years I've had discussions/debates with horse "lovers" and having
    made many of the same points and observations as Ren has so eloquently
    expressed to these people (who would tirelessly rationalize their exploitation
    of horses, often resorting to the self-serving claim that the horse desired to
    be ridden), the discussion would always end with the arrogant assertion that
    only the horse rider knows what’s best for horses. Me not being a horse rider,
    I was invariably deemed by these people to be only an antagonist for antagonism
    sake

    Unquestionably, horse riding is the exploitation of horses.

    There are many points Ren has made that are very important, but I really appreciate
    Ren making the point (at around 15:50 of the video) about the real problem (Ren
    calls it a “disconnect”) that many vegans make which is to focus on the (specific
    types of subjectively visible) harm rather than on the exploitation aspect.
    This crucial distinction can not be understated in my view.

  22. I have had thoughts along these lines for quite some time and really appreciate you sharing this interview and perspective, Emily. I have not ridden in over 20 years, and will not ever ride again. Thank you!

  23. Intriguing. I retired my 27 year old gelding in May from riding. It was one of the scariest decisions I've ever made, because all I've ever done is ride. I would lie awake in fear that I was making a giant mistake. Ugh. Now, when I rode, I used a dr cooks bitless bridle(google it) and no Spurs. But he wasn't happy, and I started to realize that simple fact shortly after going vegan. He hated me, and our relationship was nothing like I'd hoped it would be. I started applying natural horsemanship techniques to groundwork, and slowly his personality changed. He whinnies when I show up, he used to sigh, he cones to me in the pasture sometimes- he used to ignore me. He now does haltered or free groundwork 2-3 times a week, and the same people who told me I wasn't making a good choice, that he'd lose too much muscle and that if he was still rideable I should still ride, are saying he looks good and he seems to enjoy his work for the most part. I still don't give him equal say though- I'll work on it. Thank you for this video, it was needed.

  24. very touching interview… It's wonderful to hear that humans could understand horses that much… but it's sooo bad that nobody does… I was riding for many years but skipped because I was scared of falling down because I did sometimes because the horse I rode was "crazy"… But after going vegan I understood that the horse isn't crazy it was just against his will… and I'm so sorry for all the horses who has to go through that….

    And thanks Emily for this interview it was wonderful!
    I will read the book for sure!! 🙂

  25. Emily and Ren, I love you, for speaking out with this video. When I was about 12 years old, I was a vegetarian and not a vegan as I am now. But back then I already did not like to see imprisoned horses. Some adults wanted me to horse ride. They did not want me to quit it. It seemed that they thought, it would be a great opportunity for a girl and they did not want me to miss it. Also it seemed, that some of them would have wanted to ride horses when they were little and saw me missing something. I could feel them misunderstanding me. When I said, that I wanted to stop it, it was ignored, so I just did not go to the riding lessons. When it came out, someone made me pay the money for the lessons. I thought, that no horse would have to carry me for no reason and to be kept out of its natural environment. Of course now, that we had taken them and imprisoned them, they would not be able to survive in free nature, but they would be free, if we would not take them. I said that they don't have to do that for me and that I like it better when they are free, in the wild.I felt like I would be the only one at that place, who thought this way. It is so great to see, that I am not alone.

  26. Hmmmm many thoughts on this topic, but no hate…
    I am a lifelong horseperson, and have worked in huge Olympic level barns.  A circuit barns…the supposed "creme de la crème".
    Meh, the horses were miserable even with the best of care and feed and oak stalls with brass fittings, from no turnout time to just play and be horses to being used for nothing but glory and ribbons, without love or fun time.
    I have a horse, I adopted her, she came from a sanctuary.  She raced for ten years. 
    We spend a lot of time playing, or grazing (well she does anyways haha I just sit with her).  She follows me without a leadline, she stand to be groomed and loves it.  She whinnies at me and runs to the gate when I appear.  But you know what?  She likes to go out on trail rides.
    When I got her I had aspirations to train her to do dressage, or maybe jump.  But…she told me she hated ring work. 
    I listened to her.  In the ring she was sluggish and pissy, and yes I can ride well enough to make her do what I wanted but why?  Why pound a square peg into a round hole?  She was telling me she hated it.
    So I took her out in the field…she told me she loved it!  New scenery, adventures, exploring.  I let her pick the direction, if she was not having fun she'd go right back to the barn-that's what horses usually do if given a chance.
    Nope, she marches off to the back of the property, ears pricked and head up.
    Many days I am too busy to ride, I just bring her in, give her a treat and groom her.  She walks over to my saddle rack in the aisle and snuffles the saddle and looks at me, like, "No ride today?".
    Emily I admire how you admit you have not had much experience with horses.  They are like us, all different.  Some lazy, some very type A who want to work, some love people, some could care less about us.  I have owned horses who loved to jump, I think the biggest mistake people make it deciding what THEY want the horse to do, rather than observing what the horse enjoys.  Much like us choosing a job, some parents push their kids into what THEY think they should do, and the kid is miserable for it.
    I would be more than happy for you to meet me and my horse, and see how we interact, and see sometimes it is not a "YOU WILL!" but more of a "Shall we dance?"

  27. This is truly amazing. I almost didn't watch it because the topic always felt incredibly unsettling. I'm so glad I did because now I feel equipped to dive in and have meaningful discussions about riding animals for pleasure. Thank you so much 🙂

  28. I agree mostly. But we also have to consider that domestication is not all about a power relationship, specially in its begginings. it served humanity for a long time, and still does. Here in the mountains of Colombia, people could not survive without hourses or donkeys. Not because there are not cars, but because no car can enter those zones. I dont know. It is something to think about. Of course if you are doing for fun, like a sport, it is another thing

  29. I actually did some simple classes with a kind of mentor and science teacher to begin with, and while I did think some of these concepts were cruel, when I took a gentler approach my teacher said that the horse I worked with listened better to me than to anyone else. I would have liked to work on even more gentle work with horses than I could do under my teacher had me do. I really loved when I would run with Colours, the horse, with myself on the ground. I think he enjoyed it more too. I preferred to study his behavior and listen to his queues as well as using my own style gently. I think part of bonding with colors was also that I kind of reluctant to do some of these commands as part of the course so it was like both of us just saying, alright, let's listen to teacher. Some days I regret training because he didn't want to train at all today. Other days he just wanted to run and run and I was like same. I couldn't even lift the saddle and I thought that was wrong, it's too heavy. Sometimes I would ask colors to do something and he wouldn't and so I wanted to just let go and not do that, but I couldn't do that in class.

  30. This was great. I had been thinking about this subject for a while. I even got to the point where I said that if I am one day able to get the animal sanctuary that I dream of having, I would have horses, but wouldn't ride them. At first, part of me felt a little sad, because I haven't gotten the "chance" to really ride a horse (I was put on one a couple of times when I was about 4 or 5). I thought that I was missing out on something, but then I would think about the horses and how happy they'd be. Now, I'm convinced that I want an animal sanctuary and I want to care for horses. I just hope that the people I hire to help with the animals will share my beliefs and wont ride the horses or exploit any other animal in my care…I really look forward to the day I can do all this.And this video was even more of a motivation for me to dream big and get my hopes up 🙂

  31. Very important video! When becoming vegan 9 years ago I immediately understood that using an animal for our own pleasure is wrong in itself but this insight takes longer for those who are emotionally attached to animal exploiting practices like horse riding. I guess like all the problems that occur with pet keeping – yes, we don't send them to slaughter but we control almost every aspect of their lives – riders do feel guilt from time to time, e.g. when experiencing a situation where their horses really don't want to follow their directions or where their horses become shut down due to learned helplessness. But they wipe away their guilt by thinking that riding is not a real evil compared to the horrors of slaughterhouses and "real" animal cruelty.
    I visited a German animal sanctuary with a welfarist approach some time ago and was shocked to find them to tolerate horse riding on their ground. But the good news is many other sanctuaries already learnt that horses have a lot of needs – and being ridden isn't one of them.
    To all horse riders out there – you can find joy and fullfilment in other things, you can change your relationship towards your horse, you can focus on good companionship and quit riding completely while still interacting with your horse and giving them a life they deserve where they can decide (as far as possible) how and with whom to spend their time. And besides becoming a real friend to your horse you can find other hobbies to enrich your life, hobbies that don't need you to manipulate others and lie to yourself.

  32. My Uncle lives on a small farm and has had and cared for 2 horses for longer then i have been alive. The horses never really get riden much and its seen as more of an honer to ride the nice one and an even bigger one to get the other one to like and trust you. Ive only riden a horse three times, once with a saddle because i was a toddler, once with only a rope, and once completely bare back. We almost never use leads with them and i spend most of my time with them grooming, and just wanting to be around them in the feilds. I dont think this is really the type of treatment and riding shes really talking about. I think what she meant was more forceful training where they hurt the horses while saying theyre training them.

    My friend once brought me to her grandparents farm with lots of horses, because she knew hoe much i liked them. There she brought me to the barn, where they were about to start "breaking in" an adolecient female horse. After we groomed her, the owner asked if id like to hold the horses lead, and her her to follow me in a circle, then trot. I didnt pull her and she listened with the walking, but didnt get the trotting. I tried possitive reinforcements, showing her how to trot by doing it myself, but i wouldnt force her. It almost worked… then the owner took over since the Lily wasnt immediently complying. she took the lead, swinging it and jogging beside Lily, then swatter at her butt to make her go and listen. It was completely heartbreaking to watch someone do that, it was so appaling that I left to ge sit in the feilds until they brought me home.

  33. so why does nevzorov stil rides his horses? if he is so about the equal thing and horses never want to be ridden? really curious about that?

  34. most horses are like these pampered pets I hate when spoiled or rude people sell there horses bcs they aren't "good enough" if u are gonna ride a horse work as a team not as your the boss the horse is the servant…..that's the only way to have a good bond with your horse

  35. This was helpful, thank you. I know I have to figure it out & stop riding. It's very emotional and won't be easy, but it's right.

  36. Riding is not abusive when done correctly. Is your boss abusing you when he tells you to stay late and finish they report? There was a story out recently about a boss who told his female employees they were required to wear heel. Heels are much more uncomfortable than a saddle or a properly fitted bit. Is that abuse? If you are about to say, "oh but they can always quit their job" Are you telling me that a 1200 lb animal is incapable of getting grid of a 120 lb human?!

  37. This topic makes me feel more shame for my past actions, than even my meat eating past does. I'm crying watching this 😢

  38. Horses, or any wild animal, are ALWAYS in survival mode. Riders are like the lead mare of a herd. You wouldn't call her cruel.

  39. I am a horse rider. I believe in real natural horsemanship and that means I don't ever lay a finger on my horse, use a crop, a bit and I try really hard to stay clear of non vegan horse products (leather saddles, leather and sheepskin saddle pads). I use a non-leather saddle when possible or go bareback with a bareback pad. my role model is rick gore (think like a horse on youtube) I'm also against horse shoes, etc..

  40. Can horses understand what we say to them? I have never owned a horse, and have only interacted with them a few times in my life, yet I keep having dreams of being with a horse and talking to it, and it understanding me.

  41. I have a comment about my perspective on animals and how we relate to them:

    I think its important to respect and understand animals, but I at the same time do not exactly see them as "equals". Just my perspective. I like what you've said in some of your other videos, "compassion is not radical". Its more than enough reason to not eat or exploit them when survival is not at stake. But I do not necessarily view an animal as equal to myself, the way I would view a human.

  42. I don't want to ride horses, but I want to try what it feels like being up there. How it feels to sit on a living creature, and understanding the things a rider go through. And I mean without a stupid saddle or bridle, I don't need that.
    Else I would love to train a horse on ground level, walk it and sack it out, so it will get used to new things and learn it's okay to be scared, but in the end it isn't scary.

  43. I don't know where my comment went! But I wanted to say yes it's all about your relationship. Riding has little to nothing to do with horse care. It's totally incidental. The real issue is positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. And more specifically relationship training. Yes. She nailed it on the head. Honouring the No. End of story.

  44. I loved it!
    although I personally wouldn't consider anyone I approach "an equal".
    We're totally different for what I can experience, laking or excelling in virtues, showing or hiding them.
    What is equal is the respect both parts can or can not have within themselves in approaching the other.
    I see that as a subtle concept that has to power to lead toward a broader horizon in regard to nature and us being a functional part of it.

    Horses, perhaps, could hold more wisdom and healing abilities within themselves than humans for the little we know about them, that's a concept there to be explored if I don't see it as an equal, but I have equal humbleness in relating to them.

    that's nature to me… the only word I could think of.

  45. This was very interesting indeed. As an animal communicator of 12 yrs (yes, it's all I do), I've found that horses vary alot regarding their perspectives on riding. Some enjoy it immensely (I've talked with some high performance horses that love 'dancing' with their feet and get a a thrill from it) and others not so much but they feel its their job and so they go along with it. But no, they're not in love with it like their people sometimes are.

    I have been wondering lately since riding isn't a big deal to me, "In what other really amazing way can I be with a horse? What would be mutually enjoyable for them and me?" Which led me to your video. I love Ren's perspective. Thank you.

  46. When I was a kid having trouble riding, my parents boarded my horse and got me a trainer whose methods included the ones talked about here, but also straight up smacking the horses. One of my most vivid memories of that whole experience is riding home in the car, my mother loudly tearing into me. "She's not your equal, she's not your friend!"

    You're a little sliver of good in this world. I'm in actual tears right now, so thank you for shining light on what's always been in the back of my mind, but never allowed to emerge.

  47. me and my horse are equal but not equal as in I sit on him and control him but as in we run alongside each other in fields and forests
    BTW I don't have a horse just thought this sounded kinda cool

  48. I have a beautiful Arabian named Gypsy. I ride her 3 times a month, for an hour each time, on flat road trails without a bit, whip, crop, spurs, etc. I ride in a rope halter and a proper fitting saddle. Gypsy gets to choose the trail, go at her preferred pace, and grab bites of delicious grass along the way. Riding, if done correctly, is not abusive. I don't believe in riding horses before the age of 6, or after the horse shows signs of reaching the elderly stage. I also don't believe in using a horse for sports. After each ride I do, I sit with my horse and let her graze and I pet her. The rest of her day is spent in a pasture with her other horsey friends.

  49. I started crying when she said that riding horses might save lives, even litteraly. I wish I had someone to talk to about this. Just wondering, do you know about Alycia Burton? I've always seen her as a big inspiration…

  50. I wish so deeply to be able to do this jurny myself. But it seems to take age and experience to reach this, I can't leave horseriding out of guilt and self hatred and wait for a school like that to show up. Slowly I must try to understand the real way to love a horse.. or anyone in the world. This is such a hard reality to face for a suicidal teenager.

  51. So you are a vegan because it's important that you not poison your body with meat. But you introduce inks made of who knows what into your body with all those tats. I'll take a guess and say you spent thousands of dollars on all that, to what end? 

    I love horses and spend as much time with them as I can, though I don't ride. Not because I think it's wrong to ride, just physical problems of my own. The riding stable I frequent has rescued and rehabilitated many horses, if they didn't offer trail rides to the public, for a fee, these horses would have been shipped to Canada and slaughter. There are 22 horses there, they are very well cared for, they thrive and live long lives

    I am so tired of virtue signaling SJWs, they ruin everything.

  52. Deliberately keeping beings in a state of learned helplessness, dependency, submission, and controlling their behaviour is not love. Love is letting be, love is setting free. I was brought to this understanding from a lifetime of being horse addicted. I tried everything to continue exploiting the horses I loved, some of whom I was responsible for bringing into this world. Bitless, shoeless, "natural", rugless, "liberty training", open shelters (not shut in stables). I gave up having a normal life because the horses always came first, and my obsession took most of my earnings and energy, for most of my life. And I called myself a vegan activist whilst doing it! I didn't want to give them up, I din't want to wake up – much like people's addiction to other forms of animal exploitation like egg and dairy eaters, cat and other creature keepers. It was horses themselves who eventually got through to me, but it was a long painful process.

  53. need to look up neh, saw stuff on if before and it looked very unscientific, natural horsemanship related. I use positive reinforcement, I don't ride but, I haven't commited completely to giving it up. Will need to look up this woman's memoir too. I do not believe in domesticating animals, animals have families and natural behaviors that can not be accomodated for in a domesticated world. That is why I do not believe in breeding animals, I do believe in adopting until there are none. People say it will never happen but, people have said that about almost every positive move forward throughout history.

  54. THIS LADY MIRROR what happened to me!! It's like listening to my own life with horses from the age of 12, working professionally with them after leaving school, competing, buying selling, turning to natural horsemanship, then years later, working on a communication level, going against my own truth, I turned vegan and WHAM….the wake up call. My two horses now live peacefully as horses with me forever.

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