Equine Ambivalence

The other day I wrote a post that included a picture of a horse. Someone saw it and expressed a certain concern, wondering if it was happy.

It does have notes of eeyore about him. But I was ambivalent, I don’t want any creature to suffer but I really do not warm to horses. It did make me ponder why so many love Equus Caballus with such a passion and I don’t. I don’t get it.

Now I’m not playing some sort of evolution bingo here and deciding if I could remove one species what would it be. I’m happy for horses to run wild and free – just a long way from me.

I live in the UK. We don’t do mean critters really. Nothing that’s going to eat you and, unless you’re prone to anaphylactic shocks nothing to poison you to death through fangs or stings. If I wander the countryside there are big beasts which I can understand. Cows and the odd bull mostly but since I drink milk and like the odd steak I’m quite prepared to share my space with them. Ish.

But horses?

We don’t eat them like most other Europeans. We no longer need them for transport. So the fact I have to run their gauntlet when on a walk is, well, a bit of a bummer.

It’s not like I haven’t tried. Or spent time in close proximity. That’s maybe the problem. As a youngster in the New Forest they and their ancestral forebears, the ponies, were everywhere. As was their effluent.

2014-10-09 15.44.02

New Forest Pony: eeyore having a bad day

I cycle. A lot. Well I did.  And countless were the skids on freshly moistened horse dung. The smell, as mum scrapped some fresh ordure into a sack and popped it in the boot for use on her roses will remain one of five defining smells of my childhood alongside gripewater, toast, boiled handkerchiefs and beery breath.

I’ve been on their backs. In one excess of parental courage I even agreed to try horse riding with the Vet as a fourteen year old while we holidayed in Barbados. She was given  a cutesy bay called Apple or Angel or some such.

2009-05-11 21.39.34

Here she is, swimming in the Caribbean sea abroad the bareback of her sweet natured horse. The fact that I’m taking the picture tell you what I thought of the idea of a bareback swim

I was given the beast that even the Four Horsemen thought too frisky called Macho. It was like doing an animated weights programme where the weights fight back as I struggled to contain the beast’s urges. Having some smug stable lad tell me to ‘relax’ and ‘be less tense’ was as helpful as a set of Ikea instructions.

So lots of people love them. They get great pleasure spending time in the great outdoors astride these great mammals. I just can’t see it myself. Dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle, as I heard them described.

2009-05-13 21.23.06

The Lawyer pretends he’s happy but really? I mean REALLY?

Someone once suggested that you should try everything once except folk dancing and incest. I’d add horse riding to that list!

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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44 Responses to Equine Ambivalence

  1. I love horses……… providing they are riderless and in fields. I had the chance to ride one that belonged to a classmate. I was quite keen until I got close and realised just how big it was, yet as a child we would often pass a field with horses in it and give them apples.
    We had a couple of riders on the beach a few weeks ago and they stopped for coffee in the cafe on the prom. I was able to get close to fuss and it was nice to be nuzzled. The last time a NF pony came close was to try and eat me as I was wearing a greece fleece and he thought I was a walking munch!
    Maggie’s first introduction to a horse was on the sand at Weston Super Mare (no pun intended). She was only a puppy and not much bigger than its nose. The owner was terrific, and both horse and pup were inquisitive of each other. The horse snorted and nearly blew Maggie out of Hubby’s arms in surprise. She’s fine with them so it paid off.


  2. Well… As to your idea of evolution and such… there’s just a sort of class one requires in order to handle a mount, yes? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried folk dancing……….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. as a previous horse owner, I have to agree with you on your assessment. My daughter was a competitive rider and we had horses for about 20 years. They were all lovely and for the most part dumber than stumps. They did carry my daughter over harrowing jumps that were taller than her, so I always was grateful. Did I love them? No. Respect? A great deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I horse rode for years, Geoff, and have suffered many a fall. Maybe that is what is wrong with me [wink!]. My sister loves horses. I won’t share this post with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      They are the marmite of our large mammals. Still living in a country with hippos and water buffalo I guess you must see horses rather like I see goats.


  6. willowdot21 says:

    I am with you Geoff Horses and Cows scare me ridged💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. arlingwoman says:

    That horse was not unhappy. It was relaxed and looking with interest at something, its ears forward. In fact, all the horses in the pictures look pretty friendly. Like humans, their personalities vary and some are meaner than others. But I completely understand staying away from them. They’re huge, and prey animals, so a bit skittish. The ride in the ocean looked fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Who wonders if a horse if unhappy? Not me, that’s for sure. The only place I loved them was on Assateague Island off Maryland where they roam free.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well at least you tried horse riding, maybe volunteering at your local stables, mucking out will help you bond? 😂 horses are beautiful animals! 🐴

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Widdershins says:

    I’m perfectly happy looking at them from afar. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charli Mills says:

    But wait — doesn’t the UK have the Black Dog and Werewolves of London? I think you are safe enough with horses, even ones named Macho! I enjoy your equine aversion. They are lovely beasts, but they will try to dominate. Try a carrot!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. sscribner07 says:

    As the horse obsessed. It must run in our blood. The hard work, the expense, and having to do it regardless of illness and weather. They are sentient beings and in my opinion much more forgiving and accepting than other humans. Learning to communicate with them through their own language….body language. It’s not something everyone can understand nor is it something that can be put into words. It’s a feeling that resonates to the soul. I do appreciate that you have tried it at least!


  13. This is a great post, a really interesting read! i also write about horses, it would be great if you could check out my posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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