Equestrian riding and old cowboys
September 11, 2013 – Jerry Finch
Land Rover UK is doing a set of videos on equestrian riding and sponsors a number of equestrian events in England. This video, number two in the series, really hit me because of the skill the rider has with her horse. While I know absolutely nothing about the equestrian discipline, I have long admired the coordination and skill that must come from both the many hours of training and the strong bond that develops between the horse and rider.
To an old cowboy who spent his youth riding fence lines and herding horses, trying to understand the difference between a “running walk” and a “stepping pace” is a little bit difficult, but what I do know is what happens when you and your horse become one. It might happen in the show ring for some, or it might happen when you’re trying to find the best spot for a camp after a long day on the trail. Suddenly you just know that it’s there. Your horse comes when you call, walks beside you as a friend and companion, and understands what you want and need – there is truly nothing like it.
A lot of my time is spent on the negative side of life. During the day I’m surrounded by the sick, wounded, starved and neglected horses we bring in through law enforcement. In the evenings I settle down before the computer and start working on either the horse slaughter issue or trying to have an effect on those who seek the destruction of our wild horses. During all of that I’m continually confronted with the fact that far too many people have never felt what horse people know as a reality. I always have hope that the gap between “friend and companion” and “livestock” is not so great that, if truly given the opportunity, most people would make the leap and see what we see in our horses.
Tonight a yearling filly, the subject of our latest seizure, is flat out on her side in the hospital, starved almost to death after spending her short life in a weed filled pasture. She has IV fluids hanging above her and a vet watching her every breath. She has never felt the hands of a child around her neck or the soft words of a caring owner, yet inside her is the same spirit as the horse in this video. That spirit is the same as that within the wild horse grazing peacefully in some distant hillside in Nevada, in a fancy stall in New Jersey and the horse packed tight in a truck headed for the border.
As you watch this video, know that the spirit of the horse breathes through each one of us.
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Habitat for Horses is always on the lookout for a few great people at our ranches. The work is unique, the animals are special and we want folks who both know and understand the special connection our animals need.