Horses and us
Horses are not in our life by chance. They are part of a design of the universe, of nature, that connects us to them, despite our differences and similarities
Horses have always been part of our lives, and then they are familiar to us.
We find horses in stables, we can approach them, pet them and learn how to ride them; we see them free in paddocks and we can approach and touch them, we see them on television during sporting events or in documentaries dedicated to them. They are featured in movies, advertising, logos (who has never seen the prancing horse symbol of the Ferrari, the famous car?). We also see them in paintings and in sculptures that adorn city streets. We can easily interact with horses, they are docile with children, generous and sensitive. Finally, they come in different 'sizes', which make them suitable for tall and short people. Ponies, medium height horses, tall horses, 'cold-' and 'hot-blooded' horses... Like us, no horses are alike. Each horse has its own personality, its character, its history, and its presence can leave an indelible mark on our lives. Their presence is a constant, even if it comes in various and different shapes.
Those who live with horses, whether they are pets, companions to ride on, or racing horses, are at ease in their company and act with absolute naturalness and confidence, forgetting that not everyone is lucky enough to know them and have a horse in their daily lives; at first glance, these people may, therefore, be frightened of their size, as well as impressed by their extraordinary beauty and surprising nature. In practice, they might gape!
In 1995 Nicholas Evans wrote a book that quickly became a best-seller, from which the eponymous film was taken: 'The Horse Whisperer'. The book has so far sold over 15 million copies. Tom Booker, the cowboy hero of the story together with Annie, can 'whisper' to horses, a skill that comes from a rare sensitivity that enables him to understand and train the most indomitable horses. This rare sensitivity and depth of spirit, also enable him to penetrate into the human soul. When the book came out, it was interpreted as a good story, but many could not understand how this cowboy could communicate with horses, to the point that many considered the situations in the film unreal. Actually, over the last 15 years, training techniques focused on the natural instinct of horses and on the ethological knowledge of their species - what we now call horsemanship - have become the basis of many schools that have spread throughout the world the riding principles based on ethology and communication with the horse.
Yet, despite that, despite the importance these wonderful creatures have always had in our lives, television programs, magazines, newspapers, and the web are full of stories of abuse and violence on horses. Indifference, whether due to mere ignorance or voluntary cruelty, seems to have become obvious. It seems that interacting with horses brings out the best or the worst in us human. Yet, the evolution of man is so tied to their existence that, without horses, our history would be totally different.
This consideration should invite reflection and awaken our consciousness whenever anger emerges in us when trying to impose our will on them, whenever we see a violent act and we turn the other way, whenever we leave our old horses to their fate after they devotedly accompanied us for years, whenever we leave them locked in for days, whenever we ride them badly, whenever...