What is a horse?

What is the true nature of a horse?

I find myself often attempting to explain how a horse feels, uncorrupted by human attitudes and hands. It’s a feel most people can’t relate to , those first electric touches, the wind blowing your scarf around the back of your neck, the young horse like a baby deer, reaching out to make contact with your hand, before he zips away.

It’s like most people have never spent time in unspoiled nature, free of traffic noise, lights, trash left behind, trail markers. Who has felt unspoiled nature in all it’s terrible glory, and felt themselves give way to how small and inconsequential the human is? Who has felt complete surrender to a greater power, manifested in rocks and trees and dirt in the crevices of your face, and known, accepted happily, that you are nothing, and this is everything?

When a baby is born, we already have a name picked out, and clothes that say “daddy’s little slugger” or “daddy’s princess.” We have ideas of who they’ll be and how they’ll fit into the family and the world. How many a parent has sat in silent awe of the brilliance that is a brand new baby, completely shaken by the meaning of holding such raw power in their hands? Who is this little person, sent through your body? They are yours but they are their own completley.

Every day after that first day of birth, parents go to work molding their child, and labeling personality and behavior. But who is that child?
What is nature?

What is a horse?

Describing what a horse is to most people can feel like explaining why Central Park isn’t nature. You might enjoy being in it because it’s more nature than the high rise jungle that surrounds it. But it is still tarnished by human light, sound, their footprint is everywhere until it is twisted far away from its original form. You see a tree and can call it a tree, but it is no longer a tree, it is a slave to a human.

But what is a horse? Most folks have never met a horse. They’ve touched many, maybe even thousands, but they make quick work of weaving a safe blanket of description, strapping it on in the safety of a stall, behind fences and arenas and confined in tight spaces, in the safety of routine, so they don’t have to see a horse-

The true nature of the horse is like a desert canyon, windy, dry and brambled, and if you step back and really look, it takes the breath right out of your lungs with its power. You can’t name it, you can’t even hardly describe it. The act of simply giving it a name cheapens it. You can’t control it, you can learn it’s ways, learn to survive in the canyon by succumbing completely to its power, and then, in small mysterious ways, you shape it, like it shapes you.


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