The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

True Story

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.  Although, really, there's no reason it shouldn't be believable.  It shows just how smart horses are, and how interested they are in participating.

Armed with a rubber curry comb, I had gone out to the paddock where the nurse-mare foals lived.  I started currying one of the babies, when along came another, demanding to know what was going on. I offered her the curry comb to inspect.  She took it in her mouth and proceeded to turn to the other foal and bang on his neck with the curry comb.  After a short while, she dropped it.  I picked it up and returned it to her, whereupon she resumed currying her friend. She dropped it again soon and after that was not interested in another attempt.

This happened a couple of years ago, but it has stayed with me like a talisman, reminding me that just as you wouldn't wish for your kindergartner to grow up and work on a production line, so we shouldn't limit the future of these dear, clever foals by our "traditional" ideas of what it means to be a horse.

Kris McCormack's most recent blog entry contains several wonderful examples of how much more there is to the Horse than he is generally given credit for.  It's a must-read!

I think cross-ties are the ultimate emblem of how we shackle the horse, both physically and mentally.  A horse in cross ties not only can't move, but he can't act. In the past, we have thought of the horse as one whose movements are potentially dangerous, relatively meaningless, and useless unless they are at our behest.  We have not thought of his movements as mindful actions. In cross ties, he can't run away - but neither can he, say, pick things up, scratch himself, see who's coming up behind him, relax by dropping his head, defend his human against stray bears, or meaningfully consent to what is going on.

I don't remember which of the foals curried her friend's neck - it might even have been Bridget - but whoever it was, I'm grateful to her for the glimpse she gave me into a world much wider than the one we horse people have been crammed into for so long.

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