Ban-ei Races, Japan
I've often criticized American horse racing for forcing inbred, fragile, too-young animals to perform sprints while under the influence of various drugs. However, in Japan they force inbred, fragile, too-young animals to perform sprints while towing one-ton sleds up and down sand hills under the influence of drugs. The drivers don't carry whips, but often haul back sharply on the reins with their full body-weight to stop the horse and set him back on his haunches, presumably so that he'll lunge forward when released. They're not above lashing with the reins either. Ban-ei racing, thankfully, is not as popular as it once was.
Bull Fighting with Horses, Spain, France, Portugal, Latin America
Ah bullfighting-- the process by which humans prove how much more brave and superior they are by slowly killing cows, with pointy sticks, in front of a cheering crowd. But hey, the bulls don't get all the glory! Horses (often blindfolded) are shoved into the ring as well, either as mounts for the bullfighter or mounts for the bullfighter's backup team. Here's a great article on these poor horses. This is often what happens to them:
|Yep, he's literally running over his own intestines there. Click to enlarge.|
Cruel Bits & Bad Tack, Everywhere
I've often posted links about how tom-thumb bits suck, how a curb bit in the hands of an idiot can be a jaw-breaker, etc. But really, when it comes to bits and tack in general, America is easily one of the most enlightened countries around. All over the world, people use equines as beasts of burden and make their equipment out of whatever crap is lying around. So we get nasty bits with sharp spikes, and thin-strapped, ill-fitting harnesses that cut through flesh. Organizations like FOMHUK help distribute free humane bits and educate people about their use. World Horse Welfare does great work with tack-improvement projects everywhere, like hula carts and fly fringes, cheap efforts that improve a working animal's life a hundred times over. If you're even basically proficient at sewing, you can make nose chain covers for donkeys working in the middle east. Here's the pattern and the address to send 'em to, thanks to Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land.