I agree to a certain extent. I don't think horses should be kept in stalls 24/7, heck mine wouldn't know what a stall looked like
Ours are stalled (panels set up in the run in shed) If they are injured, due to foal or any other health issue. Your right, that horses are much healthier if they are free to graze for their meals. That's not always feasable in areas where climate is an issue. I can't move my horses to Florida in the winter so they can graze on grass all year. A lot horse owners are small property owners. You have to rest the pasture if you want to have any grass at all. I have to take them off and put them in a dry lot for half the year. I don't see any harm in that. They still have room to run around, just not a huge open meadow to romp in.
As far as show horses, the ones I have seen are VERY well cared for. They are in much better health then the ones that show up from the wild horse round-ups that the BLM has. Those horses that have to fend for themselves in a "natural" environment have it pretty rough.
I just think any
horse that has an owner is a lucky horse. Someone who wants it and loves it whichever way they do it. I feel that way for any companion animal, dogs, cats, rats whatever. They are better off with a humane human taking care of them.
I don't show, but yes, I do think my horse enjoys trail riding. She seems to enjoy the scenery as much as I do. Who knows maybe she just likes the breaks when she can nibble some grass
Either way, riding in a trailer for hours and having someone on her back isn't exactly natural, but putting a human in a cubicle all day and eating via a drive up window versus hunting and gathering isnt natural either
I think we have a tendency to place human emotions on all animals. Chicken as you mentioned are really stupid creatures. If the populations that are needed in a breeding/meat facility were allowed to roam free all day they would probably end up eating each other. They are carnivores and will turn to canibalisim in certain environments. I know there is a market for "free range" chickens and eggs, but that's more for our benifit so we feel better about consuming them. You would be surprised what constitutes "free range" just so they can put it on the label.
Sorry, now I'm ranting