Last month in Vancouver, my best-friend, her son and I went on a horse drawn carriage ride around Stanley Park. For forty-five minutes the horses pulled the heavy trolly in conditions which were actually pretty good – no large hills, not a lot of traffic racing around and pretty mild weather. Still, we weren’t sure how we felt about these animals being made to lug us around and wondered if it was good for them or if they’d be better off hanging out on a farm somewhere.
When we asked the guide about it, she explained that this particular breed, the rare Grey Shire Horse, was bred solely for the purpose of pulling large weight (mostly for pulling coal out of mines). Because they were bred specifically for this, it’s necessary for the horses to do work each day in order to keep their leg muscles strong so they can support their body weight (1700 to 2000 pounds). Without those muscles, their legs would literally snap and the horse would collapse. Without fulfilling their purpose, they would destroy themselves.
Somehow I don’t this unique to horses.