Natural Horse World

Embracing Equine Companionship

Your Horse is not a Commodity or Your Therapist by Marie Bay

I am your friend!

In a world where productivity and utility often dictate our choices, the concept of equine companionship without imposing a specific purpose may seem unfamiliar to some.

But why should every horse be subjected to a predefined role set by the desire to please us for entertainment purposes?

My horses don’t need to have a purpose other than being horses – majestic and beautiful creatures that deserve to be admired, loved, and respected for who they are and not for what they can do for my amusement.

The Unending Questions:

How many times have I been asked what I use my horse for? Countless times, and with each inquiry, I find myself grappling with the societal expectation of having a definitive answer. The disappointment and judgment in people’s faces, when I tell them that I don’t use my horse for anything beyond taking care of and enjoying their company, is disheartening.

I often wonder why the purpose of a horse has to be measured solely by their use and what they can provide me.

Imagine if I asked every dog or cat owner what the purpose of their beloved companions was. Surely, no one would bat an eye at the thought of a cat merely being a cat, or a dog simply being a dog.
Yet, when it comes to horses, it seems that society has conditioned us to believe that their value lies primarily in their functionality, whether it be riding, racing, or other competitive horrific endeavors.

Respecting the Horses’ Choices:

I’d rather hang out here and eat thanks!

Just because we can ride a horse doesn’t mean we should or have to. While I do enjoy a ride now and then, I also respect my horses when they communicate their disinterest or preference to remain in the paddock with their fellow equine friends.

Just like any other sentient being, horses have their feelings, preferences, and boundaries, and we must honor them as individuals to the best of our understanding not being able to speak their language.

Examples of when a horse clearly says no to you or to engage with you:

  • they walk off when you try to approach them,
  • they pin their ears or bite in your direction when you try to touch them or reach out to them,
  • they refuse to follow you or
  • they internalize and contain the pressure, shut down, and become almost lethal.

The Suffering of Competition Horses:

It is a sad reality that the riding industry is often dominated by competition horses. Many of these magnificent creatures endure a miserable life, constantly being bought and sold like commodities.

They may be pushed to their physical limits, resulting in an abundance of injuries that leave lasting scars, both visible and hidden.
The relentless pursuit of success in the competitive world can overshadow the fundamental essence of horses, reducing them to mere tools for human ambition and even worse amusement.

It is beyond my comprehension that we in the assumed educated world with almost unlimited access to knowledge and developments within behavioral science and understanding of our equine companions, still have horrific industries like horse racing, where you bet on horses’ lives while wearing a silly hat and drinking champagne!

How can this still be legal and how can any human being with any self-insight justify this public torture of horses and see this as “a fun day out”?

A Call for Change:

It is time for us to shift our perspective and embrace a more compassionate approach to our horses.
Let’s celebrate their existence for the sake of being, rather than their perceived usefulness. Let’s provide them with the care, love, and respect they deserve, free from the burden of constant performance demands.

Free from the burden to perform for us. Free from the burden of suffering for our entertainment and free and worthy to receive endless love and admiration from us.

By doing so, we not only improve the lives of individual horses but also foster a more harmonious and understanding relationship between humans and these incredible creatures.

Wise Teachers Beyond Amusement

Horses are far more than objects for our amusement or tools for our pleasure. They are sentient beings with a depth of intelligence and social awareness that goes beyond our comprehension.
In their presence, we have the incredible opportunity to learn from them and experience life through a different lens.

Horses possess a wisdom that transcends our spoken language.
Their ability to communicate through subtle gestures, expressions, with their facial hairs, the beat of their hooves, and body language is extraordinary.

By observing their cues, we can learn the art of listening without judgment and attune ourselves to the unspoken messages that surround us – and this will apply to our approach to interacting with other people as well.

Horses have an uncanny ability to live in the present moment. They don’t dwell on the past or fret about the future. Instead, they teach us the importance of grounding ourselves in the now.
Amidst our hectic lives, spending time with them allows us to savor each moment and find solace in the simplicity of the present.

Forming a genuine bond with a horse requires empathy, patience, and understanding. Horses can sense our intentions, fears, and insecurities. Horses can sense our heartbeat and read out movement, so they know if we approach them with a stressed-out mind or fear.

When we approach them with kindness and compassion, they respond with trust and affection. This process teaches us to navigate our relationships with more empathy, fostering connections based on mutual respect.

Horses embody honesty and authenticity. They are incapable of deceit or pretense, responding to us exactly as we are, with no judgment or bias.
In their presence, we are encouraged to shed the masks we wear in our human interactions and embrace our authentic selves.
By being true to ourselves, we create a space for genuine connections with both horses and fellow humans.

Horses serve as emotional mirrors, reflecting our emotions to us like a clear pool of water. They sense our anxiety and it affects their behavior, but they respond positively to calm and composed energy.
This mirroring effect reminds us of the impact our emotions have on the world around us. By learning to manage our emotions, we become better companions for our horses and the people we have in our lives.

Additionally, horses can play a vital role in stress reduction and relaxation. Their calming presence has the power to soothe our nerves and lower our stress levels.
As we engage in grooming, bonding, or simply being in their company, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and reducing stress.

This unique form of therapy has been shown to benefit individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other emotional challenges.

Through spending time with horses, we can learn to become more attuned to our emotions and develop emotional intelligence. They encourage us to be more aware of our feelings, as they may react differently to fear, excitement, sadness, or joy in our presence.
This heightened emotional awareness can positively impact our interactions with other humans, fostering better communication and empathy.

Embracing Equine Companionship:

Horses are not just companions or tools; they are wise teachers who offer us invaluable lessons if we are open to learning from them.

Beyond the confines of human-centric thinking, let us embrace the profound teachings they have to offer. As we cultivate a deeper understanding of their intelligence, social nature, and senses that transcend our own, we come to realize that these spectacular animals are not here solely for our amusement, but rather to be revered and cherished as the wise beings they are. 

Let us be grateful for the privilege of sharing this planet with horses and recognize the profound impact they can have on our lives if we allow them to be our guides in the journey of self-discovery and profound connection with the world around us.

Let’s reject the notion that their value is solely derived from their utility and instead appreciate them for who they are.

Let’s cherish the moments spent in their company, nurturing a bond that transcends the limitations of purpose. 

It is time to let horses be horses and embrace and honor the beauty and grace they bring into our lives, with the sole purpose of existing.

If you’d like to see more of Marie’s beautiful horses and how she keeps them on her track system, follow her on Instagram @paddock_paradise_tadmania

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