One thing people may or may not know about me: I luuuuuurrrrve horses. Sorry not sorry, I do. And while some of us have had very varied experiences with them, I would like to share something that tends more towards the wondrous grace and amazing beauty of this magnificent animal.
Okay, okay, that’s not the subject of this post, but seeing as Halloween season is approaching fast, here’s more info via HyperAllergic on the Mari Lwyd phenomenon. (Very pagan, and I love to see these spooky traditions still maintained today.)
So, in short, I am both happy and sad: I recently discovered a new documentary series on HORSES! on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ha) website.
Here’s the trailer:
And oh my gosh, it’s horses, and wild scenery, and people, and dramatic music and slo-mos, and wow! I thought it was a four-part, but it’s a three-part mini-series (part one, part two, part three). Why so sad? Because the videos are only available in Canada (as anyone not in Canada might have already discovered by clicking those links). The CBC does have a youtube channel, but it’s been no more helpful, because from what I can tell, this hasn’t been posted yet (or maybe it’s because I haven’t subscribed).
The article that led me to this find is here, unfortunately for some reason I cannot find the actual article on my computer so you have to settle for the mobile version.
Our ancestors settled every corner of the planet on foot. But when we harnessed horsepower — roughly 6,000 years ago — the human story changed forever. For clever-but-slow Homo sapiens, the strength and speed of horses was a perfect complement. Horses transported us, pulled our loads, plowed out fields, herded our livestock, and carried us into battle (or sped us away from danger). In ways no other animal could, horses were our constant and irreplaceable companion.
In the age of machines, we still talk about “horsepower.” But horses have lost their central place in human life; we now keep them as pets and companions.
But while their importance in the human world is fading, there are some horse cultures that survive today. In Equus: Story of the Horse, we meet some of them.
The documentary visits Kazakh nomads, the Yakuts of Northern Siberia, the Blackfoot of the Western Plains, and the Bedouin. Some of those horses (the northern ones) are seriously cute.
In honour of all horses who inspire us (in one way or another), here’s a fusion of Mongolian throat singing and traditional Latvian folk music. It is quite something. Don’t forget to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, too!
I just got lost for two hours watching horse whispering and traditional horse/rider training videos. What an eye opener on how to deal with animals, from two different views. Understanding the horse enough to whisper “It’s OK, I understand you, enough to make you feel good and not afraid, and be my friend” to the other way of “I control you, and do this right now”.
Quite an eye opener.
C was a whisperer with dog/coyote/wolf crosses. We once babysat two dog/wolf crosses for a week when the owner had to go for a week away for job requirements. She had to train me, more than them. She just KNEW, how to communicate with them, and make them feel at home.
20 years later, we adopted a dog/coyote cross, and I got banged on the head again, for treating Dolly like a dog, not a coyote, Yeah, I’m a major cupcake. I learned though, and we grew Dolly until she was 16 years old, and she was happy the whole time. She was just a prime member of our Pack.
I’m no whisperer at all (cats whisper me!), but I deeply admire those who are -- I know people who can talk to dogs, just like that, like C, and can approach even the most aggressive animals. It’s amazing to see.
And I love watching it happen with horses, because of their relative size. And they come with sharp edges! But they can be taught to do graceful things, and to work with people. Seeing the results of good training and co-operation between a human and a horse is amazing.
I think any kind of animal whispering is a little bit magic.
I love horses too, of course, otherwise I would not braid horsehair. That looks like an excellent series.
I’ve watched some amazing horse people work horses. I’ve seen Dominique Barbier get on a horse he has never even seen before and all at once you would swear that horse was a highly trained high school horse that he’d been working with for years… and Ray Hunt was absolutely incredible to watch work a horse. It was like he just thought, and the horse would do as he wished. That connection with horses is a really special thing.
The Nature of Things is always worth watching. Another good program from the CBC is “Land and Sea”. My cousin was on that show.
Marcus Ranum says
I spent about a year observing and playing with my horse, P-nut. We got to the point where were were going jogging in the woods together, in step, (you cannot imagine the funny gait that a Percheron needs to keep pace with a little human!) I learned so much about the psychology of prey animals from him. I also came to be in awe of their senses, if not their brains. One time ‘nut and I were running down the trail and he stopped, snorted, and blasted off in a different direction. I couldn’t keep up and yelled so he slowed to his jogging gait and then stopped; he had found a wild apple tree! So we had to stop while he ate yummy apples. I learned that horses don’t like a lead-rope because humans use metal clips that bang as they jog. P-nut would carry his lead-rope coiled in his mouth, until I took it off and threw it away.
I never could figure out how to explain to him that periodically bucking me off was a lethal threat. A near broken neck really wrecked our relationship and made me conclude horses were not made to be transportation, and P-nut agrees.
Well, you seem to have worked things out just fine with P-nut! :D To everyone’s mutual benefit.
I like horses very much, but only from afar. I never rode a horse and I do not intend to even attempt it. Ever.
But they are beatufiful.They were among the first animals that I have tried to draw as a kid.
That first picture is great. And creepy.
Horses are lovely so long as you’re upwind of their stables.
Rob Grigjanis says
My dad loved horses. He grew up on a farm south of Daugavpils, and he’d tell me stories about their old and wise cart horse. The one that stuck out was about a ride through woods in winter. At some point, the horse (wish I remembered his name) just came to a stop. Dad asked his dad why the horse had stopped, and the reply was “wolves”. Clever fellow knew that moving was exactly what predators want.