I'd just like to say that every discipline in horsemanship where the horse doesn't perform like it would in a pasture is extreme, dangerous and sometimes unhealthy.
Horses are not deer. They are not built to handle impact to their joints like deer...period.
NO ONE uses horses for military anymore. NO ONE. therefore all those fancy pirouettes and stuff are useless and impractical...although pretty to watch.
Rodeo (cow roping and Bronc Riding and wild Mare Race):
No respectable cowboy would EVER treat a horse or a cow that way.. Both of those animals are worth money. Anyone that has a working ranch and raises cows would NEVER treat animal that way. And they would be disgusted with people that do.
Gaited Horse Shows:
I'm not sure what the point is...other than to see a horse walk strangely...and who can do it the best. lol.
Horse racing and Steeplechase:
CRUEL!!!! you want to talk about abuse! Racing babies is not my idea of a good time.Then abusing them and throwing them away because they don't win. Rubbish. I want to take all of the racing tb's and keep them in a barn where nice people won't ride them till their bones harden and they're mentally ready for riding safely. Plus I'll go back to my show jumping statement for steeplechase in saying that horses are NOT DEER! Period.
Reining and Barrel Racing:
Both hard on the joints but I would say kinder to the mouth than some dressage people, although I have seen some women really crank on their horses mouths for barrels, which isn't nice.
IN SUMMATION!!! People use horses for unnatural things that they don't do in the wild, which can be considered cruel...I know that it's about a relationship with your animal and that you're doing something that is really unique to watch and all....And don't get me wrong! I'm a western and english girl! I do jumping and reining and all, but all disciplines are mean in some way or another, because none of them are natural.. Don't try to tell me that a horse trots in place in the wild (dressage people) and don't tell me that a horse spins on its heels (reining people). It just doesn't happen.