THE QUESTION OF THIS MONTH IS RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES! (Send yours to us for an answer)
Do horses love their owners?
BILL— Okay, after a number of fits and starts I am ready to take a swing at this one.
- a) a gold mine
- b) a two way street
- c) a battlefield
- d) in the eye of the beholder.
All the answers that apply to relationships between people allow us to see if both respondents come to the same conclusion. That might be one good indicator that love is involved. That measure is less readily available when we are talking people and their companion pets.
I don’t think we need to argue if your pet hermit crab loves you. Or your goldfish. But when we get to mammals, clearly something is going on. The caution flag that starts to wave centers on anthropomorphizing, the degree to which it’s valid to attribute human characteristics or behavior to (a god, animal, or object) as in people’s tendency to anthropomorphize their dogs.
Let’s stay with dogs for a moment. As I write this, in fact, Alan is draped across my lap. He put himself there and he seems quite blissful. I feed him, of course, so he is aware of that dependency, but he also accepts me as part of his “pack,” at times even as its leader. Is this love?
When it comes to our horses, we can ask the same questions. I often wonder what would happen if we were able to remove the barriers—stabling, pastures—which limit our constant close physical interaction with our horses (unlike with our dogs).
Some horses have a fairly superficial relationship with their owners. With others there is clearly a special chemistry… the way they look into your eyes and rest their head on your shoulder, the nicker which they have only for you, the way they move underneath you if they feel you losing your balance, the way they will try for you unlike for anyone else.
Some behavioralists will attribute all this to other than love, but they may not know anymore than we do. Never fall into the trap of “He loves me so he’ll never run away with me.” That’s probably a step too far. But whatever you call it, if your horse reciprocates the feelings you have for him, love is as good a word for it as any.
ALL THE PAST QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH–NOW 100 OF THEM– AND BILL’S ANSWERS AWAIT IF YOU CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE QOTM ARCHIVES.
BILL’s On-Line Store — STORECRAZY — is here to provide you with items that Dover and John Nunn can’t offer. Here’s a quick sample.
CLICK HERE to find many more items you won’t want to live without!
When all else fails, go to the mirror! But regardless, DO pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
Of Guts, Gumption, and Perspective
At the Grand Oaks show (Marion County, FL) a para rider in a freestyle test lost her balance and fell from her horse. The EMT was summoned as she lay on her back in the dirt. Apparently he was a new guy who had never worked a show before. Parking his emergency vehicle in the arena beside the fallen rider, he leaned over her to see how she was.
She looked up into his eyes and informed him, “I can’t feel my legs.” The EMT turned ashen, no doubt thinking “My God, I need more help here.” Until the victim giggled and added “But it’s OK, I never can!”
[A Note from Bill]
Let me introduce our Associate Editor, Hayden Finch. “Sidd” worked with us back in the ’80s when Susan and I edited A Tip of the Hat, the New England Dressage Association’s newsletter. Prior to beginning his career in journalism, Sidd scratched his competitive itch with a brief foray into professional baseball. In his first stint with us, Sidd penned this alternative biographical sketch of me for the Dallas Dressage Club newsletter publicizing a clinic I did for that group:
Bill’s bio courtesy of Sidd Finch
Bill Woods (not his real name) comes to the Dallas area several times a year. He and his wife, Onyx, are members of the Federal Dressage Witness Protection Program; thus, their true place of residence is unknown. Both train and compete most of the year in central Florida, often in disguise. Bill has been teaching in Texas since the mid ‘80s, having been brought here by Lisa Brown.They had met in New Hampshire some years before, drawn together by a mutual love of hybrid roses which they tended on summer afternoons at the institution.
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MORE HYPE ABOUT THE TROVE OF PAST BLOGS WHICH AWAIT YOU
If any of the following snippets pique your curiosity, you can find the story archived on this site. It’s DRESSAGE Unscrambled, with a twist—it’s free! More than two dozen dozen (more than 330) posts accessed by this click.
Remember Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich in the victory lap after their gold medal win at the ’84 LA Olympics? All those 76 one tempis in a row? Well, for old time’s sake, click here for the instant replay!
The Horse Protection Association of Florida needs your help!
HPAF receives no state or federal funding and exists only through donations. The amount of neglected horses and horses whose owners can no longer afford to feed them has exploded recently and your donations make it possible for HPAF to continue the work of protecting and saving horses.
“LINT IS A SHELL’S BEST FRIEND” CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHY
Quote of the Month
“We are all time travelers — just the really dull kind — ones plodding through the 4th dimension one pathetic second at a time.” (Robert Smith on NPR’s Talk of the Nation)
Quote of All Time
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang onto, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” Chögyam Trungpa
Click to view an important cultural icon: “Bambi Meets Godzilla”
LIFE GETTING YOU DOWN? THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS CLICK HERE FOR RELIEF OK, GO!
An audio treat for your dining and dancing pleasure? CLICK HERE
FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS — A FANCIFUL VIDEO MONTAGE TO LEONARD COHEN’S “DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE.” The tango sequence is from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman.
For the One Minute Version of everything you need to know about woodsdressage.com – CLICK HERE
Below: To imprint in your mind. Harmony in the person of Col. Kurt Albrecht von Ziegner. His mount unknown.
Carl Sagan speaks of The Pale Blue Dot. Please click below and watch this!
It’s another Monday!
If the last total eclipse of the sun worked for you (or if you were indoors at the movies), there’s a second showing. The date will be April 8, 2024. Visible in the US on a swath from Texas through parts of the Midwest to Buffalo. I am not going to miss it!
TUNY [photo], the French Bulldog , sadly crossed the rainbow bridge. Her position as the official Safety Coordinator of this website has been passed along to Alan, the new Frenchie puppy. He has been getting up to speed on the Manual. If as you’re reading, he issues the “Duck and Cover” instruction, please climb under your desk and assume the position until he issues her All Clear announcement.
While Alan [below] may appear to be very youthful for these responsibilities, he has assumed the mantle and hopes to grow old as he carries out his duties.