Why Do Horses Allow Us To Ride Them: Uncover the top 4 surprising reasons!!

Sep 13, 2023 | Super Equestrian


Why Do Horses Allow Us To Ride Them: Uncover the top 4 surprising reasons!!

Ah, the majestic horse – a creature that has captured the hearts and imaginations of people for centuries. But have you ever stopped to wonder why horses allow us to ride them? 

After all, they are large, powerful animals that could easily overpower us if they wanted to. So why do they let us climb onto their backs and take control? Today, we're going to explore the fascinating world of horses and explore the reasons why they allow us to ride them. 

From domestication, and social behavior to trust and communication, we’ll delve into the complex relationship between humans and horses, and discover the secrets behind this centuries-old partnership. So, saddle up and get ready to ride along with us as we uncover the mysteries of why horses allow us to ride them! 

Why do horses allow us all to ride them?

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the peculiar phenomenon of horse riding? 

I mean, here we have these majestic creatures, capable of galloping at speeds up to 55 mph (88.51 km/h), yet willingly submit to carrying us mere mortals on their backs. 

It’s a curious display of trust and cooperation between two different species. 

After all, horses have evolved over millions of years to be fast and agile creatures that can run away from predators. But what is it that motivates horses to accept us as their riders? Let’s explore the reasons behind this curious behavior.

  • Cultural and historical factors: Throughout history, horses have been used for warfare, transportation, work, and sports. As a result, there has been a cultural shift in which horses have come to be viewed as useful animals that we should treat with care and respect. This cultural attitude has likely contributed to the willingness of horses to allow us to ride them.  
  • Domestication and selective breeding: Humans have domesticated horses for thousands of years and selectively bred them for traits such as docility, strength, and obedience. As a result, modern-day horses have become more comfortable with people and are more willing to do what we tell them to do, like riding on their backs.
  • Social behavior: Horses are herd animals and have a strong social hierarchy. In the wild, they will often allow a dominant member of the herd to ride on their back as a display of submission. Similarly, domestic horses may see their human riders as the “alpha” of their herd and accept them as a rider.
  • Trust and communication: Horses are highly perceptive animals that can pick up on subtle cues from their riders. When we communicate with them effectively and consistently, they learn to trust us and become more willing to carry us on their backs.

All of these reasons make it clear why they willingly allow us to ride them and how we formed a bond with our equine friend that lasted thousands of years. 

Today, horse riding is not just a practical means of transportation, but also a beloved sport and hobby enjoyed by millions worldwide. 

Do horses get tired of being ridden?

While horses are strong and capable animals, it's natural to wonder if they ever feel exhausted or fatigued from being ridden for extended periods. 

After all, humans can get tired from walking or standing for too long, so it's reasonable to assume that horses might also feel worn out from carrying someone around all day.

Carrying a rider can be a physically demanding task for horses, especially if the rider is heavy or the ride is long. 

When a horse carries a rider, it must not only support the rider's weight, but also maintain its balance and movement in coordination with the rider's. It requires the horse to engage its muscles and joints in specific ways to support and accommodate the rider's weight and movements.

Over time, this constant physical effort can cause horses to become weary or tired. Signs of fatigue in horses may include heavy breathing, sweating, lethargy, stumbling, and a reluctance to move or respond to cues. When horses are overworked or exhausted, they can become grumpy, weary, or disobedient.

It's essential to provide them with proper conditioning and rest to prevent horses from becoming tired or fatigued. It helps to prepare the horse for the physical demands of carrying a rider. 

Additionally, they need time to rest and recover after a long ride, just as humans need to rest after a laborious workout.

How long can a horse be ridden?

Now that we know whether horses get tired of being ridden, let’s talk about how long a horse can be ridden. So, if you're a horse enthusiast, you may wonder how long you can ride your equine friend before they require a break. 

The answer to this question is not straightforward. 

Understanding the individual needs and limits of a horse is crucial for determining how long it can be ridden. Just like humans, every horse is unique and has its own physical limitations and endurance levels.

Factors that influence a horse's endurance include their age, breed, health, fitness level, and the type of riding. 

For example, a young, fit Thoroughbred may be able to handle longer rides than an older, less fit Quarter Horse. Similarly, a horse that is regularly exercised and properly fed will have more stamina than one that is not.

The type of riding also plays a role in how long a horse can be ridden. A leisurely trail ride through flat terrain will be less taxing on a horse than a high-intensity jumping or barrel racing competition. 

As a general guideline, most experienced riders recommend limiting riding sessions to no more than two hours at a time, with adequate rest and water breaks between them. 

However, it's important to remember that horses can't communicate when they are tired or in pain. Therefore, it is up to the rider to pay attention to the horse's physical and behavioral cues to ensure they are comfortable and not overloaded.

So far we have talked about Stallion. But what about our mares? Well, as horse owners, we care deeply about the health and safety of our mares, especially pregnant ones. 

However, sometimes we may be uncertain and think, “Is it safe to ride them during this sensitive time?” That’s a serious question. Fear not, horse lovers!! 

To get a professional opinion, let's ask a veterinarian: how long can a pregnant mare be ridden, and see what advice she provides.

Is PETA against riding horses?

Before we talk about what PETA said about horse riding, let's first understand what PETA is and what they work for. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and they want to make sure that animals are treated fairly and not harmed for things like food, clothing, entertainment, or abuse.

Now, does PETA think horseback riding is wrong? PETA believes that horseback riding can be harmful to both horses and humans. They argue horses are often subjected to harsh training methods, confined to small spaces, and forced to carry heavy loads that can lead to injuries and pain. 

PETA also points out that horses are typically bred for specific purposes, which can result in genetic defects and health problems.

PETA is worried that horseback riding can be dangerous because horses can act in unexpected ways and cause harm to people riding them. They suggest that people find other ways to spend time with horses, like watching them in the wild or doing activities that don't involve riding.

Some people disagree with PETA and think that horse riding can be good for horses and humans. They argue that horses are bred and trained for riding and that it can help horses stay healthy. Horseback riding can also be a way for people to connect with horses and can be healing for those with disabilities or mental health issues.

In the end, whether horseback riding is ethical or not depends on how it is done. If done safely and responsibly, horse riding can be a fulfilling and enjoyable activity for both horses and humans. But it's crucial to think about the risks and make sure to take steps to prevent them.

How to train and condition horses for allowing us to ride them

Well, riders !! 

Are you ready to saddle up and hit the trails with your trusty steed? Before you can enjoy a ride with your horse, you'll need to train and condition them to allow you to ride them safely and comfortably. Here are some tips on how to train and condition horses to allow you to ride them:

  • Build a trusty bond with the horse through groundwork exercises such as lunging and leading.
  • Introduce the saddle and bridle slowly and gradually.
  • Start with short rides in a safe, enclosed area, and gradually increase the length and intensity of rides.
  • Use positive reinforcement (rewards like treats or praise) to encourage desired behaviors.
  • Be patient and consistent throughout the training process, as well as avoid harsh methods.
  • Work on the horse's fitness level through exercises, such as hill work and interval training.
  • Try clicker training to teach new behaviors, like standing still while being mounted.

Following these tips can help to develop a positive relationship with the horse and encourage them to allow us to ride them safely and happily. Besides, consider natural horsemanship techniques to build trust and understanding between horse and rider. 

And, yeah, don't forget to take good care of your horse's physical and emotional needs, including nutrition, grooming, and rest!!

Final Thoughts

Well, dear equestrian lover, now we know why horses allow us to ride them. We’ve discussed 4 main reasons, explored whether horses get tired of being ridden, and for how long they can ride. Additionally, we provide some training tips for allowing us to ride them safely and comfortably. 

Riding horses is an exciting experience, but it has become a controversial topic, with organizations like PETA believing it can be harmful!! So, what do you think, folks??  Please let us know in the comments section.

FAQs:

Q: Do horses enjoy being ridden?

A: Horses are not capable of experiencing pleasure or enjoyment in the way humans do. However, they can learn to tolerate and enjoy being ridden if it is done properly and with care.

Q: Can horses be ridden without a saddle?

A: Yes, horses can be ridden without a saddle, but it requires proper training and technique to ensure the safety and comfort of both horse and rider.

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