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.


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!

Yelis Aksoy said...

THANK YOU! I thougt I am alone with the Vegan-riding thing XD I hope we have those things in Switzerland and if we don't...i will find them somehow! thanks :)

Sun Rider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sun Rider said...

Where can I order a pair of good (quality and appearance) cowboy boots for MEN?

I have been looking online for more than an hour and only came across LADIES', LADIES' and more LADIES' boots. Pulling all my hair out.

Please help.... . Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

A said...

No polo tack unfortunately. At least I can eat vegan.

Jessica Olsen said...

Hahah oh man.. they would have had a kick out of my horse. Whenever he saw me he ran to the gate! He loved to work! That was also the ex racehorse in him though, he hated not having a job.

You should definitely add Tekna to your list though. I feel as though their saddles are much higher quality than Wintecs (I always had horrible experiences with Wintec saddles), and they are fully synthetic :).

Brecca said...

I'm going to check out Tekna, thank you!

Unknown said...

Warning: Tekna saddles are flocked with wool and some of their saddles are made partially with genuine leather. :( Their other tack (bridles, girths, etc.) is very nice, though!

The Rider said...

All of my horses have LOVED work as well haha I did eventing with them and man oh man...My first horse came ALIVE when cross-country came around either in practice or competition. At home, my paddock was attached to the arena, so I usually left the gates open between the two when I rode. The result? The unridden horse almost always followed behind us as we worked through our paces.

Don't like to work my ass haha horses have as many personalities as humans do. Sure, some don't like it, but for most (that are treated well and kindly), it's both mental and physical stimulation. You can literally see their enjoyment.

Dieter Schwing said...

Why dont you cycle, thats vegan equestrian

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