Two members of DH's family have made random comments along the lines of "The poor horse! How could you make him carry a PERSON over those fences! Poor thing! How cruel!" One of them insists that it should be illegal and the people who participate in the sport should be arrested.
Originally Posted by foursocks
Just because someone is ignorant doesn't mean one has to respond with meanness. When I've encountered that kind of sentiment I say that horses have been domesticated and bred to work, and most of them have no problem with their jobs- but a 1200+ lb animal that hates jumping is pretty hard to argue with! This usually gets people thinking about it differently, which probably would not happen if I was a jerk about it.
Really, there's no reason to be mean, especially to family members you have to have Thanksgiving dinner with. Especially when they're your in-laws.
When someone says that it's not natural for a horse to jump, I answer that it is. It's not natural for an elephant or a crocodile to jump but horses are physically meant to. Are they made to jump over 5ft? Yes, if not they just wouldn't be able to do it (try jumping over 10ft and see what happens!). Are all horses capable of jumping 5ft? No. Jumping that high requires training plus physical and mental abilities, just as any athlete. I can run 100mt but I can't do it in 10 seconds. Other humans can.
If it's a matter of choice, whereas a horse prefers to be set free and roam, facing adversity and dangers...well, I don't know and neither does anyone else, unless they have chatted with Mr. Ed. If we are stripping everything down to basics, then humans were made to hunt, live in caves, and eat raw meat. Why doesn't anyone do that anymore? Because they choose to live differently, because they experienced this way of life and choose air conditioning and TV dinners. Now, once our horses experienced living in the plains and then are brought in to stalls where they are fed, pampered and taken care of, how do we actually know they don't like this life better? As far as my horses, when I let them out on the field, they frolic like we do on vacation. A couple of hours into it, when bugs start to sting, the sun is too strong and they are bored of binging on fresh grass, they start missing their home...just like we do on vacations...
Last but not least, of course you can force horses to do something they don't want. It's in their submissive nature, as Joe Fargis well said it. On the other hand, you can do it only for so long. A horse that doesn't like his job does it lousy....just like we do. Sooner or later they let you know they are unhappy and no smart, reasonable person rides, day in and day out, on the enemy ...unless they are masochistic. Are there exemptions to the rule? Of course, but you can't avoid stupidity, like you can't avoid it in any place of life. A rider who insists on training a horse in a discipline that he is not good for, is plain stupid. It's like if you would invest in me to play in the NBA....and I'm 5ft tall. You can do it but frustration will get to you sooner or later, making you search other paths.
Let's not get carried away and put everyone in the same place. Most of us are doing it right. The stupid ones will remain stupid, no matter what they or we do.
Last edited by faraway46; Mar. 1, 2013 at 03:45 PM.
Over what hill? Where? When? I don\'t remember any hill....
I wouldn't bother arguing with family who you have to continue to see over the same old topic everytime you get together. I'd simply not discuss horses around them or change topic if it comes up. Walk out of the room to re-fill your drink.
"Some bad people does not make the sport/activity they happen to participate in cruel."
I absolutely agree, was only trying to convey that sometimes, it is cruel, and sometimes, the railbirds would be spot on, but I wasn't trying to implicate the entire sport with everyone in it and apologize if I came across that way. People can suck in everything that they do, not just in jumping horses! So perhaps the best response to the railbirds would be "yes, it can be cruel when the wrong people are riding, but most horses here really love to jump!" (And then cite some of the many examples of this posted here).
I say this: I spend a lot of money to keep my horse in food and board and shoes. In return, they have a very minimal part-time job which requires them to carry me on their back about 5 hours a week and may include jumping fences. I work for a living and so do they.
If you break it down based on board and shoes and think of what you spend on them as their income, my horse basically makes $80 an hour. I'd carry someone around my back for that...
Perfect reply! I say something along those lines as well.
"Those who know the least often know it the loudest."
There are people in every sport that behave inhumanely. Does Ray Lewis reflect badly on Eli Manning or is he still worth cheering for? I adore my horse and would never tolerate mistreatment of a horse if I saw it. The cruelest thing I've ever done to him is have a second slice of mother-in-law's cake but that's too tempting to resist.
So you've said they have a point but that they're comparing you to a murderer and implying you'd abuse animals then ending with a family joke. Doubt you'll ever hear about it again after that.