I was reading about the latest high-tech horse riding experience. Advanced robotics simulate jumping and a menu of advanced dressage movements.
I guess any tech breakthrough comes saddled with pros and cons. Discernment asks – “Just because we CAN, does it mean we SHOULD?”
Developers listed some interesting benefits for horse welfare and the riding industry I’d never have considered – I’ve noted some pros from the article… and some cons that surfaced in my mind.
Any more pros and cons you can think of?
- Beginners can learn to sit in the saddle and experience basic gaits before starting to ride a real horse, reducing injury risk and improving horse welfare.
- The simulator can carry heavier riders to help them access the hobby with reduced welfare risks.
- Advanced riders can access the technology to enhance their skills as often as they wish.
- As a hippotherapy tool, therapists could program the ideal gait pattern for each patient
- I wonder about the effect on riding stables – would simulated riding whet the appetite for real riding or serve as a substitute?
- With any tech comes the side-effect of programming our preferences . We can avoid the inconveniences of real relationships.
Riding comes with both emotional and physical thrills and spills of dealing with a living-breathing, non-English-speaking partner.
What life lessons might we skip in riding a robot instead of a horse?
Here’s the link to the Canadian Horse Journals article