The Unknown Emotional and Physical Lives of Sport Horses

The Unknown Emotional and Bodily Lives of Sport Horses


I not too long ago learn a riveting ebook known as ‘I Cannot Watch Anymore’: The Case for Dropping Equestrian from the Olympic Video games and an essay titled, “Will not Someone Suppose Concerning the Horses?” by Danish journalist Julie Taylor, and needed to know extra about her and numerous different peoples’ considerations concerning the ongoing psychological and bodily abuse to which sentient and deeply emotional competitors horses are subjected in equestrian sports activities.

My curiosity was additional stimulated by studying a piece known as “French Parliament Requires Horse Welfare Overhaul at Paris 2024” due to accidents that marred equestrian occasions on the 2021 Tokyo Olympic video games. (The complete report in English may be seen right here.) These accidents—a horse named Jet Set having to be euthanized after the cross-country occasion, Saint Boy, a pentathalon horse, being whipped and punched by his coach, and Kilkenny affected by a bloody nostril that was ignored by his rider and the Worldwide Equestrian Federation (FEI) jury—provoked international public and media outrage by horse fans and lots of others, and a few teams known as for a ban of equestrian occasions on the Olympic Video games. There additionally had been vital equine welfare considerations concerning the 2016 Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro.

I additionally typically surprise why individuals who say they love horses permit them to be routinely mistreated, and I realized that many individuals who take pleasure in watching equestrian sports activities and who love horses have no idea about what occurs behind the scenes of equine sport. Once I requested just a few folks about this and the way they handled their cognitive dissonance about horse abuse and being entertained by these extremely delicate sentient beings, they advised me they did not expertise any dissonance as a result of they did not find out about how sport horses had been handled off-stage, a view supported by a latest ballot.1

I am happy Julie may reply just a few questions on her landmark ebook that rigorously explains who horses are and the compassion they should dwell high-quality lives.

Marc Bekoff: Why did you write ‘I Cannot Watch Anymore’?

Julie Taylor: I needed to supply the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) with the arguments it wanted to discontinue equestrian occasions from the Olympic Video games. That has been within the playing cards for ages however for some motive, it hasn’t occurred but.

There’s a lot proof now that horses who carry out at a world stage expertise ache, stress, and accidents due to it. It’s simply not sustainable. Individuals assume that as a result of horses participate within the Olympic Video games, they’re handled properly. That’s sadly not the case, and I needed the IOC and the remainder of the world to know.

Julie Taylor, with permission.

Supply: Julie Taylor, with permission.

MB: Who’s your meant viewers?

JT: It was necessary to me to write down a ebook which non-equestrians may simply perceive as a result of its main viewers is the Worldwide Olympic Committee, most of which consists of individuals with little or no information of horse sport.

A number of the time, when horses want the skin world to intervene on their behalf, equestrians handle to close down the dialog by utilizing jargon and making critics really feel as in the event that they don’t actually perceive what is going on on. My intention with I Can’t Watch Anymore was to chop via that smokescreen and lay naked what is de facto taking place. I additionally needed to empower the equestrian insiders who know that one thing is flawed however are not sure of themselves or afraid to talk up.

MB: What are a few of your main messages?

JT: The horse welfare debate inside equestrian sport is principally centered round human pursuits. How can we hold exploiting horses for sport with out being seen by the skin world as animal abusers? That dialogue wants turning the other way up if we’re actually being critical about placing horse welfare first.

Start with the horses. What sort of animal is a horse? A social animal, a grazing animal, a curious animal. What then must be in place for a horse to dwell a significant life? A bonded social group, the chance to roam, graze, and discover collectively. These standards are tough to satisfy in domesticity even earlier than you begin eager about utilizing a horse for sport.

Solely when you get there may be it related to ask your self what you possibly can then fairly demand from a horse with out detracting from their wellbeing. The reply is: not lots. That’s the reason worldwide efficiency horses so typically depend on medicine to perform. That’s why coercive strategies and gear should be allowed on the Olympic Video games. And that’s the reason research present horses show signs of ache and stress each few seconds when performing in elite equestrian sport. It merely isn’t attainable to harmlessly use horses the way in which the equestrian federations are attempting to make use of them right now. The business is collectively in denial, so intervention should come from with out.

MB: How does your ebook differ from others which can be involved with a number of the similar common subjects?

JT: Efforts to get horses out of the Olympic Video games normally plead for horse welfare or animal rights. I needed to form my argument extra like a gross sales pitch, so I attempted to consider the matter from the perspective of the IOC. What does it need? The IOC needs Olympic sports activities to be international, so I present that equestrian disciplines aren’t. The IOC is eager on clear sport, so I level out the FEI’s de-regulation of painkillers, steroid hormones, and performance-enhancing surgical procedure. The IOC has expressed its dedication to athlete security, so I show how the FEI endangers riders and horses to remain within the Olympic Video games.

The intention was to enchantment to the IOC members’ frequent sense, not their good hearts. I believe that’s what makes my method novel.

MB: Are you hopeful that as folks be taught extra concerning the superb lives of horses, they are going to deal with them with extra respect and dignity?

JT: Very a lot. Generally equestrians are frightened once they start to find what a poor match horses actually are for horse sport. Individuals lack the creativeness to envisage another future for the coexistence of horses and people. To many equestrians, horses exist due to horse sport and so if you speak about dialing again horse sport, they see that as a risk to the existence of horses.

The treatment for that is seeing horses who dwell naturally of their household or bachelor bands with out the interference of people. And seeing horses and people residing collectively in home settings free from exploitation. That may be very highly effective.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *