Gabriela Rodriguez, owner of the nonprofit BlixxHorses in West Kennebunk, Maine, has dedicated her life to informing people about the proper way to care for horses. She teaches others how to understand horse's needs and behaviors, as well as makes sure people have an understanding of the time, financial, emotional and physical constraints horse ownership places on a person.
Recently, Rodriguez joined a UK-based online movement that encourages people to not ride their horses. More than 10,000 people follow the Facebook page of the Non Ridden Equine Association, which “celebrate[s] the many joys non-ridden equines can bring to us.” Drawing worldwide interest, the association touts that it puts the horse first instead of riding the horse as a primary goal, but states that “Riding is wonderful if it is ethical and fun for both horse and human.”
One of Rodriguez's horses, Lexxie, is not ridden and the other, Fritz, receives limited riding time. Rodriguez primarily uses them to help educate the public about horses through her nonprofit. Rodriguez tells the public that horses are not designed to carry weight, and one way to deal with this is not to ride them. Rodriguez says that finding the non-riding movement has been a blessing, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Many times people who don't ride are criticized, says Victoria Yates of Coventry, England. She says that non-ridden equines are seen to have little to no value and are often the most at risk of neglect and abandonment.
Yates said that many people who own non-ridden equines don't have a connection to the horse industry and don't feel included in much of the horse world. In response to the success of the Facebook page, Yates launched the Non Ridden Equine Association in the UK in August of 2017; she hopes to host an event in 2018.
Read more at the Bangor Daily News.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that neither of Rodriguez's horses are ridden. Additionally, not riding is only one of Rodrgiuez's recommendations to combat horses' physical limitations.
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