All across the universe…

19 Aug


There are two kinds of people in the world:

              people who have horses—and  horsemen.

One reality is that there are more of the first and less of the second. Economics, loss of land use, rural becoming suburb becoming urban.

An entire industry (or two or three) has grown up to ‘explain’ horses to people because horses have moved away from being part of the mainstream to something rather more exotic.

Yes, horse sport seems to have grown, from the tightly-knit, insular rather elite and closed world it used to inhabit to something larger. But no one seems to know any more what a horse is.

A horse is not a pet, not a dog, never going to make funny cat videos. (Yes, there have been some interesting attempts).

 Horses have one foot in the wild, one foot in our dreams. Horsemen spend their lives gaining control of those four feet and in doing so, figuring out who and what a human being is. That is how closely entwined  we are. (OK, the other two feet belong to the horse, a sentient being, and those feet go  where the will sends them. The question is always—whose will? )

Dressage, the foundation of training for any use of the horse in sport,  is about judging that dream—that a human’s  will can indeed control this huge, sentient being and present a fantasy of dancing. Of partnership.  Huge debates rage  as to who, exactly, presents the true picture of that partnership.

It’s rather like pornography—“I know it when I see it” remains the standard.

We ride horses because they let us, said Dr. Reiner Klimke.

Who knows why they let us?

Saddles are shaped to take advantage of their long ligaments and nerve endings that grow from ears to tail, all around their barrels. Bridles are fashioned to let us shape and control the energy and power that comes from their bodies.

This weekend is the European Championships. Luck, fate, and reality have combined to make a backdrop of huge drama.  A top breeder of sport horses has come face to face with the reality that his horses have been starved and abused—even with photos and videos showing huge hay bales in the background as a skeletal horse lies in the foreground, dying,  in front of our horror.

The odds on which teams, let alone which individual combinations (partners, remember?) will prevail keeps changing as regretful headlines announce another pair have dropped out of competition.

All I know is that this weekend, there will be tears in my eyes—catharsis– as my favorites try their hearts out, send ambition to the breaking point,

Personal bests for all this weekend!

And when this weekend is over, personal bests for all the horses everywhere that are misunderstood, abused,  tortured, starved, dehydrated, butchered…


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