The more time I spend with horses the more, the more I learn from the herd, the more I understand myself, the more I realize that horses/animals do not owe us their obedience – they do not owe us their bodies to ride upon – they do not owe us submission and control. They do not owe us their existence.
We take advantage of their generosity and gentle nature and treat them as though they owe us their bodies, minds, and spirit… as though we may take what is so fundamentally theirs and use it for our own pleasure. We treat their existence as though they are on this planet simply to serve our desires – simply to be used for our benefit.
We have looked at each other this way before – we have looked at fellow humans and enslaved them, used their bodies, taken their lives, and treated them as objects who’s only worth is found in their ability to serve the “powerful”. In some places, we still see other humans in this way.
However nowadays, most of us understand how wrong it is to treat another human as though their life is somehow lesser than another, and now, some of us are beginning to see that this line doesn’t end at human life – it extends to all life.
There is a natural balance to the circle of life – their is a natural balance in nature, but our actions betray this balance. Our actions disrespect life at the core.
The same way we look back at history with shock, disbelief, and shame when it comes to the normalcy of cruelty back in time, future generations will look back in astonishment at how we treat the animals in our lives. They will see the treatment, enslavement, and destruction of conscious animals such as the horse, and they will wonder how on earth humans could have thought it was okay.
Just as our ancestors did, not knowing any better, they justified the enslavement of “lesser” (in their eyes) “sub-humans” with tradition and profit – with idea like “it’s how it’s always been done” and “this is just the way the world works”.
I can’t help but draw connections to the excuses of the past and the justifications we all hear today when it comes to the treatment of animals. Whether it’s riding a horse against her will or discarding horses that cannot serve us, and are thus seen as “useless”, we have lost touch with the compassion and empathy it will take to save our species from isolation and destruction.
Thankfully, it seems more and more people are expanding their compassion and understanding to those who cannot speak up for themselves. More and more people are opening themselves up to the horse and witnessing who she really is – not a servant and not a toy. An equal who has much right to be here on this earth as humankind.
This gives me hope.