Not everyone is born with the “horse gene,” but I’d like to see a study done on why some of us have it and some of us don’t. It seems to be more prevalent in the female of the species. Is that because we tend to be empathetic and can relate to the inner psyche of the horse; are we more sensitive to their thoughts and feelings; do we think they are sensitive to ours? Do we think horses have a deeper awareness of our surroundings, making us want to identify with and embrace their perceptiveness?
The horse-human partnership has survived in the wilderness of time for millennia and yet we can barely glimpse the complete magnificence that is the horse. When they gallop at liberty they look as if they are dancing to music in their heads or playing with the wind. Do we simply appreciate the beauty and grace all horses seem to exhibit? Or is it something deeper? The question always remains, why are some born with the horse gene that loves horses intrinsically and unconditionally? Where does it come from? Could it be a primeval characteristic left over from our ancient past? Is it learned or perhaps taught in our youth? Or does the horse somehow speak to something so deep within us we will never understand? Wherever it comes from, those who possess the gene know that, even if science has yet to locate it, it exists in our hearts and minds. If you were unlucky enough to be born without this horse gene, don’t despair; many have been able to acquire it one way or another.
Those of us who are born with or who have acquired the horse gene are at times distraught when we see horses exhibiting out-of-the-ordinary behaviors. This leads us to ask critical questions about the nature of some professed horse gene carriers. Can a person born with the horse gene ever fully comprehend why some riders would find it acceptable to blatantly mistreat a horse? Watching many of the disciplines at the WEG, I have come to the conclusion that not all the horses are mistreated but there are many more who are certainly not living a quality equine life.
Perhaps we all must ask ourselves the most important question of all: Why do I ride? And once we have honestly examined our motivations, each and every rider in competition must ask: Should I continue if I find it necessary to climb to the top on the back of a mistreated horse? Sadly, for too many the answer is: Why shouldn’t I?
Do we find their beauty and power so captivating that we must appropriate it for ourselves and compel them to do our bidding because, on some level, we feel inadequate in our personal lives? It boggles the mind that a rider who professes to love horses and wants to make riding their life’s goal would exploit the horse, subject it to abuse of one kind or another, and still be rewarded for their disdain for and affront to the horses’ beautiful nature.
Having been born with the horse gene, I find the ill treatment of these magnificent animals disturbing to say the least. Unfortunately, in this day and age, there seems to be no way to stop the insults the horses must endure everyday of their lives. My hope is that perhaps with some education the younger generation of riders coming up through the ranks will be less selfish and arrogant than so many of our competitive riders today and feel compelled instead to advocate for the horse. Only then will these extraordinary animals finally be treated with the respect and dignity they so deserve.
Until next time
Quote for Today
... the horse has been, of all animals, man's most constant companion in work and leisure. - From Horses