by Linda Benson
What is it about horses that stirs us so deeply in our souls? Is it their beauty and grace, coupled with power and sensitivity? Or some intrinsic connection humans have with horses, after so many thousands of years of being together?
While horses have benefited mankind throughout modern history for transportation, warfare, hunting, and farming, today's horses are mainly used for recreation. No other animal, though, wild or domestic, seems to evoke the feeling of power, strength, and vulnerability that we feel in our relationship with horses.
Perhaps this is why horses have been successfully used in prison programs for rehabilitation of inmates, and to lower the rate of recidivism. And in therapeutic programs nationwide to help treat returning soldiers who suffer from PTSD as well as combat injuries.
For those of us who ride horses, there is just nothing like the empowering special connection you feel when you develop a relationship with the animal who responds to your every cue, and seems to understand what you want and are thinking.
But horses have the power to inspire us even from the armchair. Just watching horses gallop or frolic, whether they be jumping, racing, in movies, or even in advertising can stir us in unimaginable ways. Not to mention the joy we get reading about horses.
So even as society is rapidly changing, and our relationship with horses changes also - it amazes me how deeply horses can still inspire us, touch us, and make us feel.
What is it about horses, anyway?