8.10.2011

The Vegan Equestrian

I've always wondered if it's possible to be a vegan and still be a horseback rider. I assume that if you disagree with killing animals for food, then you disagree with them being used in the making of equipment used on horses. Additionally, I've heard conflicting views on whether riding a horse is considered vegan.

From PETA.org
"With domesticated horses, PETA supports humane, interactive training. Horses are not equipment and can suffer from the heat, humidity, and overexertion. Horses don't enjoy constant work any more than a human being enjoys being forced to do manual labor all day long. Just as a dog can be housetrained in a positive manner, gentle methods can be employed to teach a horse to tolerate a rider on his or her back. PETA does not support training methods based on punishment"

While I think PETA sets the bar on this topic, I also found another, very different, stance.

From VeganFAQ.com
"To use any animal for our amusement is exploitation, and hence, not vegan. Others would likely argue that horses do, in fact, gain pleasure from the activity. However, do you see horses queuing up to be rode, yelling "Pick me! Pick me!"? No, of course not...That is, the defining characteristic of veganism is that we do not believe that animals should be considered property, and therefore we respect their needs and wants that demand that we do not exploit them."

I would say about 80-90% of the equipment I use is made from leather. The short list includes my saddle, bridle, crop, spur straps, riding boots, and show belt, but there are tons of other items out there that are partly or completely made of leather and other non-vegan materials like wool and fleece. However, there are certainly ways a rider can supplement certain everyday equipment pieces with synthetic ones.

Ladies' Equi-Star Synthetic AW Zip Paddock Boot
Easy care, great looks. Made of an easy care synthetic with the look of leather. An all-weather, no maintenance, comfortable riding boot. Just hose off and wipe dry.



Lami-Cell Airflow Shaped Close Contact Saddle Pad
The Lami-Cell Airflow Shaped Close Contact Saddle Pad features airflow material with synthetic fleece contour. Ideal for jumpers.



Dublin Easy-Care Mesh Half-Chaps
Stay cool on warm days. New synthetic half chaps have mesh that allows air to circulate to keep you cool and comfortable.




Toklat Contoured Synthetic Girth
A contoured design in a synthetic fleece girth by Toklat that allows for more comfortable movement. Double elastic at both ends and center D-ring. Stainless steel roller buckles.



Wintec Close Contact Saddle
Air panels constantly adapt to the horse's shape. This saddle has a look of traditional leather.




Synthetic Show Gloves
Perfect for showing, these synthetic gloves feature elastic at wrists for an easy fit, and small vents across fingers and palms for added ventilation.



Lami-Cell Elegance Nylon Halter
The Lami-Cell Elegance Halter is made of tough nylon with a synthetic padded noseband and headpiece to keep your horse comfortable.



It might be tough to switch out some of your show equipment for synthetic alternatives, but when schooling at home it should be no problem to outfit yourself and your horse in animal friendly options.

3 comments:

Jenn Dios said...

Thank you! I am veggie / mostly vegan and would love not to ride around on animal carcass. This is so helpful.

Abby said...

My husband has ordered from this site and his vegan boots have lasted 10 years before needing the sole glued on at a shoe-repair shop. More expensive short-term but much less expensive in the long run if they last that long. http://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk/

Lucky66 said...

Hi! I have a kid's AP saddle by Wintec and mostly I ride in synthetic tack by Tekna. I have a hunter bridle and CC saddle that nobody seems to realize are synthetic until I tell them. My boots are synthetic field boots from Dover. They're OK, especially for $85. I also have the synthetic paddock boots but recommend the laced ones over the zipper ones. Thanks to @Abby for posting the veg shoes link!

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