Pony rides

As a kid, I remember riding a pony around and ’round in a circle at the fair. The ride didn’t last long, and when it was over, I moved on to the next attraction. The pony, however, had to keep working.

These days, I look at pony rides differently. Sure children aren’t heavy, but the ponies slave away in a boring circle. Maybe it’s a hot day, or a cold one. Maybe they didn’t want to get packed up in a trailer and sent to the fair. Too bad. Ponies don’t have a say.

horse and pony

Their hooves can be injured, and they can suffer from ill-fitting saddles, bridles, and bits (a bit is a metal bar that people put into a horse’s mouth, behind his or her front teeth and┬ámolars, to steer and stop the animal). And equines are exempt from protection under┬áthe Federal Animal Welfare Act, leaving welfare up to local authorities.

I recently saw a horse and pony standing out in the rain on a cold day, waiting for their shift to begin. I felt so different upon seeing them compared to when I was a kid. Of course kids love ponies–I still do. But I can’t justify a life of labor and stress for a short ride.

A carousel with replica animals and chariots is a great alternative. For those of you who like more of a rush, swings will do the trick.

Wherever you go, look for the animals. Think about what their day is like–and choose animal-free entertainment.