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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Around here, because we live in a very touristy area, there are many horse riding tours. I always feel bad for the horses -- their eyes are always so dull and they seem to be mentally asleep. Some work all day then get turned out later in the day and the horses are always so grumpy. Not that I blame them. They don't look like they're enjoying themselves.

I've read that horses like going to places with a purpose. But those horses ride the same trail every single day at the same gait (walk), sometimes with overweight people that are too big for some of those horses. I've been on a riding tour when I was little and I enjoyed it. But now since I have a better understanding of horses and horse behavior I almost don't want to. I feel like a ride should be liked by both horse and rider.

That being said, not every place are like those.

What are your thoughts?
 

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It really depends a lot on the scenario. But I'd venture to say that very few horses, if given the choice, would even want to be ridden. We have a deal with them. We give them shelter, food, care and love, and they do things for us. Some have harder lives than others.

Horses actually like routine, so I don't think that the fact that they are going along the same trail every day would bother most. Bad riders - probably. But what you see as mentally shut down might be a horse just going on auto-pilot. They just don't need to really think, they just follow the horse in front of them. This isn't necessarily bad. My daughter's horse has tremendous work ethic and will do whatever she asks, but I don't think he necessarily enjoys it. On the other hand, my horse is bored easily, has no work ethic, but loves going out on trails so I try to do that with him as much as possible. Some days, we're stuck in the ring though, and I still expect him to do what I ask (I don't ask much).

So I don't think it's so much the repetitive aspect that would bother a horse, but rather unskilled riders, long hours under saddle if they're not given proper rest between rides, and don't have good overall care. Which unfortunately, is pretty common, but not universal at all. There are some fantastic riding excursion outfits out there, especially for more experienced riders.
 

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I can't speak to their program. I question whether the horses work every single day. It's unlikely they would stay sound.

Poor nutrition and care would result in sick horses. If the tack didn't fit at least somewhat the horses would get sore and dump people.

Do they get the care and attention that a horse owned by one good horseman gets? No.

But as you mentioned, you rode at dude stables when young and enjoyed it. You went on to learn more about horses. The same is true of others. For many city and suburban people their first, or only, exposure to horses is in these places.

I think dude stables are an important part of the horse industry.
 

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I went on a beach ride while in Grand Cayman. The horses there were well cared for, and looked forward to swimming at a certain point in the ride. One pair of horses was so looking forward to their swim they parted ways from the "trail only" excursion while fully tacked up. I believe there was a weight limit of riders, and they matched the riders to horses well.
 

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Some horses that are in those programs (like even lesson horses, not just trail horses) get burnt out because it's so repetitive or they never get time off. It's sad seeing horses dull like that. They probably don't get exceptional care & may be 'ridden into the ground'. Definitely nice when it's the opposite, & the horses are clearly enjoying it. as are the riders.
 

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If the OP is referencing one stable that comes to my mind, their website doesn‘t reflect the OP’s thoughts and neither does the 4.7 google rating from allegedly 400+ clients. Conversely most of those riders may barely know how to spell horse, much less what good care should look like.


That said, I blew up one foto that showed hooves of a horse being ridden and there appeared to be enough extra hoof to give to a pony; the shoes didn’t look loose. I say “appeared” because angles of pictures often do more hoof damage than poor trimming.

If the place wasn’t 198 miles away, I would drive up there, out of pure curiosity but 3+ hours just to be nosy isn’t on my To Do list anytime soon:):)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yep, that's the one. It's one of the better ones in the area but expensive as heck (tourist trap).
Those horses are dead-broke, too (not that that's bad). They cross the road in the loop in front of loud people, cars, very loud trucks, and they also probably confront deer and turkey on a regular basis.
 

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I thought the horses looked fine. I didn't ride them but I saw them turned out and they looked healthy and content.

The ones that worried me were that other place that did zip lines, four wheelers, horse riding and a few other things. We pulled into that parking lot, took one look at the horses, and left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited by Moderator)
The horses look pretty content to me in the fields too. I guess I was just turned off by seeing the horses look bored on the trail.

I've heard of that place. Never been there though. It's super big with the tourists. Forgot what it's called.

If you ever look for a place to go riding, avoid big touristy places with exotic animals, fourwheeler rides (because half the tourists have never drove a fourwheeler -- how safe is that??), anything super flashy. Stick with the more secluded ones. You'll probably get better views that way anyway plus it might be cheaper. It's the same with buildings -- if it's super flashy and says it has some exotic animals or something that's probably illegal, stay away.
 

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We usually ride the Abrams Creek loop, from Abrams Creek Campground and back....about 20 miles more or less....once or twice a year......I haven't seen anything that looked poorly up that way......

A horse having a job is a good thing IMO.....
 

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There are some riding places near me that leave horses saddled most if the time and they only get water at the end of the day, even in 45 degree heat. I absolutely despise places like that. There are also a few, not many, places for more experienced riders where it’s a part of a riding school where horses are properly cared for and there are thousands of different trails. Those rides are more expensive but it’s worth it because you get to gallop along beaches.
 
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There is a trail riding stable near here. My farrier takes care of all the hooves there. He is a true animal lover and would report them to the department of agriculture if they were not being taken care of.

They do earn their keep. I understand that the rides are very expensive. What people who complain about the price of a ride is that if they owned a horse, they would pay a lot more per ride. Most of us have to work to keep our horses in good condition. Oh if I were only rich!

I have taken many people riding over the years. Our of all of those, I had one that offered to help financially with the care of the horse that she rode. The other extreme was a woman who didn't even stay around to unsaddle and groom. She did not get invited back.
 
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