The Equine Industry: Competing Beliefs, Changes and Conflicts

Horses have been an integral part of industry and recreation for hundreds of years. A radical change in approach is disrupting areas of the traditional industry. Why are some adopting these changes and others resisting?

Fifty million years ago, the equine is chronicled in the early days of Eohippus, the earliest known horse to man. In the 1400s, Cortez and Christopher Columbus transported the first domestic horses to the Americas. Ancient times supported the use of horses in times of war where the industry began utilizing the horse as a vehicle. Today, the equine industry is strongly steeped in traditions and cultural beliefs that prove consistent to the early rituals. However, within the last few decades, the equine industry started to see a radical new change to the age-old tradition of horsemanship. This new sub-culture is called natural horsemanship. This movement, as it was called in the beginning, challenged tradition and millions of years of beliefs. Why did some adopt and others not? The focus on this study is to define the industry, creating a solid picture of how the change began, why the change was necessary in the eyes of some, and what is the current state of the industry as it stands. In this research, the equine industry will serve as an industry model revealing beliefs and cultural frameworks that can serve as a blueprint for other industries who may be experiencing changes to an embedded culture way of doing business.

With proposed change comes conflict. The human stress factor, conflict and personal dedication necessary to change decades of tradition is a daunting task. Long-standing belief systems are usually embedded in tradition and society’s acceptance of the status quo. As humans, we initially will resist as change is difficult and takes effort with responsibility. The literature review will provide solid data supporting this industry adaptation, and how it has affected aspects of the industry. Data will also provide the existence of opposing forces: natural versus traditional and what that means for those on each side. While this offers innovative opportunities for some, it has provided deeper traction in regulatory bodies, traditional organizations, and professional treatment of the equine. The equine industry analysis will demonstrate a unique glimpse into an industry at the forefront of possible change, whereas for centuries none had occurred.

Author: Robyn Lord


Cite as: Lord, R. (2019). The equine industry: Competing beliefs, change and conflict. Muma Business Review 3(9). 99-120.