REFLECTIONS ON EQUINE WELFARE AND HORSE-HUMAN CO-EXISTENCE

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…and on relationship building in general.

I hear, meet, speak to, more and more people who choose to fully remove themselves from almost any kind of interaction with horses (not so much other animals), and any kind of equine assisted interventions (EAI). Because they feel that the way we humans typically (and traditionally) are interacting, have been interacting – with horses, does not feel good to them, does not sit well with them.

I have struggled with this for years. To me it looks like plain avoidance. Instead of being, staying in a difficult relationship, that can be hard to navigate, but rewarding, many choose to give up, to remove themselves. And decides that humans are, in general “bad” for/to horses (and I often the reasoning is that unaware, highly emotional “clients” would be the worst humans for a horse to be around). But there are several different parts to this – from what I have seen and heard. Some of it has to do with convictions that us humans are not allowed to request anything from a horse. As they have not chosen to be here, with us. While I understand that argument, I also do not believe in one-sided relationships. In relationships, requests go both ways. As responses do.

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INTERNATIONAL HORSE PEOPLE 500 AD…

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In Eurasia, during the 5th century large migrations of people (and their domesticated non-human animals) took place. It was an unstable time politically – with e.g. the downfall of the Roman Empire.

Yesterday I visited an exhibition at the Lund University Historical Museum, called “The Sösdala horsemen – and the equestrian elite of fifth century Europe”.

In Sösdala (and adjacent villages), in today’s southern Sweden, in 1929 and 1961 people digging for gravel and sand found a couple of thoroughly “slaughtered” horse equipment (saddles and tacks), close to a field of graves, a so called stone ship setting at Vätteryd’s burial ground. Some of these graves and these “slaughtered” horse equipment are consistent in time with each other, between 350-450 AD.

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