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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.

A Vision For the Future

Updated: Apr 8

young girle riding a bay horse in a bitless bridle
Working in Harmony, Without Pain

‘She was taken to a small box and closed in. Her heart rate increased and sweat trickled down her body as fear filled every part of her being. She could hear sounds around her and feel the presence of others. Suddenly she was free, she ran as fast as she could. She could feel a burning pain on her tongue and gums but kept running. A sharp pain on her side kept happening again and again. She tried to run away from it, but it came with her. Her leg started hurting, and she tried to slow down, but every time she slowed the pain on her side increased so she kept going, trying to ignore her leg. She was sure she was going to die; terror filled her heart. There was no escape. Suddenly, it was over. She slowed down, limping, as the pain in her leg was bad now. She was placed in another box, a bigger one this time. A man said, this one is no good now, call the doggers truck………’

We are fortunate living in Australia to have laws preventing animal abuse. If someone is seen whipping a dog, they can be convicted. For some reason, our laws do not apply to horses. One of the biggest animal cruelty issues our society faces is the overt abuse of horses with bits, whips, and spurs. Not only do our laws fail to protect horses, but the abuse of horses is publicly accepted. Every day horses are being raced with people pulling on thin metal bars inside their mouths and whipping them relentlessly. Grown men and women publicly whipping horses while the observers cheer. It reminds me of the gladiator days. If you look at still photos of racing horses you will see their mouths open trying the escape the bit pain, the bulging fearful eyes and popping blood vessels.

And it is not just happening on the racecourses. The Olympics features dressage horses with two bits in their mouths, a shank, chain, spurs and whip. I call it a blanket of pain. People watch it and think it is beautiful. I struggle to understand the lack of empathy humans have for horses. For me I clearly see the fear and pain on their faces and in their eyes. Are there filters over our eyes?

My mother used to bet on the horses every Saturday. After a while of talking with her about bits and whips and how racing is for the horses, she saw it. She told me that once she really looked at the horses faces; she could see their pain. Once she saw it, she couldn’t not see it. She never bet again.

Horse sports, racing, shows, gymkhanas, all can continue without the instruments of pain. Racehorse people say the horses love to run, and this is true. If they used bitless bridles and threw away the whips the horses would still run. There would still be a winner and people could still bet. Nothing would change for the people, but heaps would change for the horses.

The same applies to dressage and competition horses. It is possible to train horses to do dressage completely at liberty without any gear at all, so it is obviously achievable to train them to do dressage in a bitless bridle. The bits, whips and spurs are not necessary. The competitions can still go ahead without causing direct pain to the horses. People all over the world are already doing this. If the public demanded it, more people would do it.

We need to stop supporting the sports where cruelty to horses is happening. I have a vision for the future. If we withdraw our money and support and say why we are doing so, the treatment of horses will change. We have the power; it is up to us.

Suzy Maloney B.Eq.Sc.

Happy Horses Bitless

Ph: 0401 249 263


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