Of Horse

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Just the Food Lady
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Just the Food Lady

Whilst out on a recent ride through the glorious English countryside, I heard a fellow rider say, “I don’t pertain to have any special bond with my horse, they know I’m just the food lady. It’s simple.”

But is it that simple? Can it really be?

I have always imagined horses to be to be these deep, mystical creatures who work on an entirely different physical, spiritual and emotional plane to us mere humans. Could I have gotten it all wrong? Are they really just shallow, appetite-controlled animals who know where the grass is greener and the food is fast and readily available? Surely not. But what if?

My personal argument for my love of horses has always been their no-b.s. approach to people. It’s quite straightforward. If they don’t like you, you know about it. They are far stronger and faster than we could ever hope to be. Therefore, if they don’t like us, they have a whole host of ways to show us, be it kicks, rears, bucks, biting, or just running off and keeping their distance. There are no false pretenses with animals; they don’t understand lying or have the ability to stir gossip. They get no need to be two-faced - although I imagine that to be near-on impossible as they are horses and not humans but you understand my point - they are what they are and that’s it.

On the other hand, there is a part of me that always hoped I had this special, inexplicable bond with these majestic creatures. That a part of my soul was somehow connected to them, or maybe could be someday. The idea of being 'just the food lady' rattles me more than I am comfortable to admit. I don’t want to be the food lady! I want my horses to like and appreciate my company; I am being overly anthropomorphic here I know. I want us to enjoy our time together, learning and growing and shaping each others' lives, without the only reason for it being that I might have a treat or some food lined up as a post-human time desert. I like to consider my little ponies as willing participants to the time we spend together, gaining a little insight into one another with each contact we have.

But if we really are just the food ladies, well, what now? And what if you aren’t the bringer of feed to the occasion? Are you likely to have less of a perceived bond with these hunger-oriented animals? I recognize that in the wild the basic instincts are to survive, eat, and reproduce, but surely the modern day horse is domesticated enough after all these years to have moved beyond just these natural demands. Have they evolved as we have over the years? To not want to simply exist anymore? But to yearn for fulfillment, joy, experiences, and love as we do?

To me, they will always be mythical creatures, like modern day unicorns, that I will never fully understand, but that I will always love, regardless of the label I or others put on me.

Food lady indeed.


Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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