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Liz O'Connell

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The Pure Essence of a Horse

Posted: 03/28/2012 12:52 pm

"This is how we who are horses, know ourselves."
Horse You See, by Red Ant Films, Albequerque, New Mexico
Clip used with permission of PBS.org


Sometimes there are people who forget that horses, our willing partners throughout the development of civilization, are sentient beings. Horses feel and avoid pain. They form hierarchical communities within any grouping -- be it on the range or in a paddock. They interact with humans in an uncanny, beseeching manner.

Humans like having horses around. I certainly do. We like watching them. We like partnering with them when riding or driving. We like hanging out with them, grooming them and oftentimes being groomed by them.

The ongoing headlines about mayhem being perpetrated upon horses, whether being illegally manipulated to run in a race or being used up and discarded at the slaughter auctions in Amish country, are sickening. Thankfully, there are thousands of people across the country who step in, protect and rescue horses, and who advocate for enforcement of the protective rules already in place that some regulators choose to ignore and who initiate those rules and laws where there are gaps.

Rescuing and ensuring the safety of horses is like a game of whack-a-mole -- one crisis taken care of, two more pop up. Talking with people involved in horse rescue, there is an underlying sense of frustration and powerlessness; that whatever is accomplished, those on the dark-side, intent upon abusing, neglecting and/or harming horses, will not be stopped. The dark-side people are predators, and if they weren't abusing horses, they'd find another outlet for their anti-social, repellent behaviors.

This all would seem impossible and pointless, if not for one thing -- the horse -- because of its nature and tolerance of human behavior, we keep trying.

When a film like Horse You See comes along, it is renewing. Through simple, elegant dialog, Ross the horse, shares his take on being a horse. Narrated in Navajo with English subtitles, Ross takes us on a guided tour of his being and concludes with a song he sings when happy. Ross is a poet.

Ross' song from Horse You See, written by Johhny Henry:

I am a beautiful horse

When I walk beauty surrounds me
When I run beauty surrounds me

You can hear my neighs
You can hear my hooves
There is beauty all around me

Beauty follows me as I walk
I walk on a path of beauty
Beauty is above me
With every step there is beauty
From my voice, there is beauty

This makes me so happy
Because of this the human race
Admires our herd, and ...
...would really like to belong to us.

Beauty towards me.
In beauty it is said.

Thank you.

Red Ant Films' Horse You See is featured in the 2012 PBS Online Film Festival. Previously, it won Best Children's Film at the Talking Circle Indigenous Film Festival, Hawaii in 2009. It is my favorite horse film, ever!