The Instigator
Rottencat
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Craighawley215
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

English Riding is not Bad for a Horse

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Craighawley215
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/19/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 61957
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

Rottencat

Pro

Many think that English riding is bad for a horse. Normally this stems from bad information or simple ignorance. I am not saying that English is better than Western, I am simply stating that English is not bad for the horse. I look forward to hearing the opposing side's comments.
Craighawley215

Con

I accept the debate, and intend to argue that English Riding may contribute to health problems for horses.
Debate Round No. 1
Rottencat

Pro

Many people think that English riding is bad for horses or leads to harm. I do not intend on grouping English riding with Racing; that is not what this is about. In the debate over whether Western or English is more harmful, it is easy to get swept up in the misconceptions and faulty logic of most who either ignore the facts or don't dig to find appropriate information. I look forward to hearing your reasoning.
Craighawley215

Con

All types of riding lead to eventual health problems with horses. Horses by nature are wild pack animals, and are not intended to be ridden. The reason that humans have been forced to develop more effective shoes and tack is because this was necessary to elongate the functioning life of the animal.

Wild horses have no need for shoes, and the only reason that shoes have been fitted for domesticated horses is because of the added wear on hooves that results from the added weight of the rider and tack, combined with the unforgiving nature of cement and other unnatural surfaces. In addition, the majority of work horses, whether for farming, pleasure riding, or any other assignment, will inevitably face added wear to joints, which puts the animal at risk for leg and back problems in later life. Ill-fitting tack can accelerate these problems and lead to rapidly deteriorating health. In addition, because horses are social creatures, domesticating horses can lead to mental health issues with horses as well.

Horseback riding, whether Western or English style, is ultimately bad for a horse when compared to the average life of wild horses.
Debate Round No. 2
Rottencat

Pro

Fair enough, some riding and stabling may lead to poor health. As to the reasons for shoes and tack, it is as much for comfort of the rider and control of the horse. Though originally not meant to be ridden, they are more than capable of holding the average person's weight. The unnatural surfaces such as cement are no more hard than stone, though I would not go as far as to say that cement is good footing for stabling or riding. I have not heard of any competition horses being alone, as by that point they are normally in heavy-to-moderate training and stay with or around other horses. But let us take it back to the shoes and tack. Horses have been bred a specific way over the decades, so this may make certain breeds more likely to have health issues under saddle than others. Shoes are fit to each horse personally and are designed to help the horse's hoof become stable and resist breaking. This is done even to some horses who aren't ridden simply because they might need it due to their own conditions. I wouldn't blame the sport, I would blame the breeding, and that's not what we are arguing here.
Craighawley215

Con

Regardless of the sport or the breeding, the issue that you have set to debate is the issue of whether or not the English riding style can be detrimental to the health of a horse. While there are no immediate concerns that result from proper tack and riding style, generally speaking, horses that are continually ridden will face accelerated health problems later in life. This is arguably why so many race horses are retired after a time, and why a broken leg or similar injury has often been considered the "end of the career" for a riding horse.

Even if we choose to argue the difference between English and Western style riding, the key difference exists in the saddle design. The Western saddle is larger and more comfortable for both horse and rider; it is designed to spread the weight of the rider over a larger surface area, because it was intended to make it easier on the animal in order to ease the burden of a longer riding period, as well as accommodate the extra equipment that came with the Western rancher lifestyle. If we compare the Western saddle and the English saddle exclusively, the English saddle is built for performance and direct control over the animal, while focusing all the weight of the rider on a very small area. In essence, the English saddle forces the horse to bear the brunt of the weight on a small portion of it's back, wearing down this specific area of the body at a rapid rate. Alternatively, the Western saddle spreads this area out a bit more, relieving some of the focused pressure by increasing the surface area of the load.

The only reason why a Western style riding would be equally or more detrimental to the health of a horse is if we intend to debate the prolonged riding time of ranch horses, as compared to the relatively short riding time of competition horses. If we are debating riding according to a set length of time, then English riding is clearly developed for performance rather than comfort.

Horses are extremely resilient animals, and have been bred for optimal riding, but the unfortunate reality is that English riding can and does eventually cause harm to the animal. If you wish to debate the issue outright, then I suggest that English riding leads to more health issues on average than a non-ridden horse. If you intend to debate English vs Western riding, then please explain how English riding is of less or equal detriment to the animal when compared to Western riding.
Debate Round No. 3
Rottencat

Pro

Western saddles are easily twice as heavy as an English saddle for your information. And in case I have not previously made this clear, I see racing not so much as English or western riding as its own entity. I refuse to debate over the horrible practices that put horses in so much danger for money. As to the legs of horses breaking or becoming injured, there is little to do for a broken leg on a horse. In my career I have seen only one horse go on after breaking his front right. He was retired. Horses are retired for their health, not because we can't compete effectively.
Craighawley215

Con

Typically yes, Western saddles do tend to be heavier, because they are generally intended to be more durable, so that they can last longer in the rugged line of duty that accompanies ranching and other Western riding activity. However, theoretically, is there no opportunity for customization? In some cases, the rider could have a modern, custom saddle, made from lighter materials. Granted, if that is the case, then would English style riding also benefit from a wider saddle, or would this sacrifice too much direct control over the animal?

Regarding the issue of catastrophic injury, such as a broken leg, you have proven my point. I was not attempting to suggest that horses are retired because of some inability to excel at competition. Horses are retired for their health, but I would like to point out that, in most cases, the need for a horse to be retired is arguably the result of riding. This is true for Racing, Western, and English styles alike.
Debate Round No. 4
Rottencat

Pro

All types of saddle can be modified to suit the horse better. If the saddle was the main control method, what would Dressage be for? Haha. I enjoyed the debate. Thank you for letting me see your point of view for a while.
Craighawley215

Con

I have enjoyed this debate as well. Thank you for the stimulating and challenging conversation!

Good luck with the voting period!
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
Relativist
RottencatCraighawley215Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con managed to prove both western and English, despite the requirements of the resolution. The overall argument that any form would lead to the eventual decline of he horse's health wins the debate. A clear win for con, though a good effort from pro.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
RottencatCraighawley215Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con thoroughly proved that english riding indeed has negative effects on the horse