When children play with dolls, they give voices to the bundles of cloth and plastic. They create stories, with lives full of worries and cares. They interact with the toys and play with them for hours.
I’m not talking about baby talk or varying the tones in our voices to elicit a response, that is a different discussion. I’m talking about the stories we tell each other and the horses about why something is happening, about what is going on.
Today, through YouTube and countless channels of self-published media we have a chance to peek at the private and public lives of millions of people who work with horses. When we do so, we can listen to many words being inserted into the soundtrack of a horse’s life. Here is a sampling of words from popular trainers as seen on YouTube.
“He knows better than to do that.”
“She’s being disrespectful.”
“He doesn’t want to be supple.”
“She’s going to try and trick you.”
“She’ll argue with you, argue with you and then when you give her a little reprimand and make her respond then she overreacts and acts like the world is going to come to an end.”
The curious thing is we tend to believe these stories. How many of these words do you agree with? Do you believe the horse was guilty of these accusations? How can we get closer to understanding what another being is trying to communicate?
When we can look at a horse and acknowledge her as a complete mystery, we gain access to a different perspective, an experience of life through another’s eyes. We become the students, learning from a race that has walked this earth far longer than we have.
Listen today to the words you speak for a horse, or a stranger at another table, a man in a car, or a dog. Listen to the words others speak to explain horse behavior, to nail down the mystery. You might be lead to a glimpse of the new world, beyond the safety of thinking we speak for horses, to the place where real horses speak and humans feel.
Excerpt from the book, “The Path of the Horse” by Stormy May.