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Benefits of Horses (Part #2): The Lit Forge by John Royce

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 20, 2013 10:07


Mankind developed slowly, and then all at once. Anatomically modern humans first appeared some 200,000 years ago [1] ... yet the world’s first known civilization of Sumer didn’t begin until 5000 to 6000 years ago. [2]

Those experienced in humans may not be shocked the brutes didn’t play to potential way back when. It’s possible to see lessened glory in a species prone to such epic stagnation, but division-of-labor and retention of knowledge are surely advanced concepts that took eons to learn. (They are not so perfectly practiced even today!)

Horsemanship began with Civilization ... or vice versa

Whatever the reason for the delay of civilization, a great change took place at the time of its birth: the advent of horsemanship. The quirky, panicky and potentially dangerous animal somehow became more than prey in the eyes of early civilized man. Much empathy is exercised in handling horses—since the skill is also required to sustain civilization, perhaps this is why they began together. Empathy is a civilized art.

Horsemanship is more than a foundational skill: in all times it has flourished or decayed according to the state of society. In all times, also, horses have returned investment in their care and potential. People and horses are partners in the joint venture project of civilization and we rise and fall together.

Still Alive and Growing

The value of horses in our motorized society is often underestimated, but the horse has always been more than horsepower. Since first painted on prehistoric cave walls the animal has inspired our better journeys, a gift that can never become obsolete.

Today horsemanship is alive and expanding, and continues to advance. An important NEW value of horses is to keep alive a founding force in civilization. As a seminal art that continues to mirror society, horsemanship is a valuable legacy to preserve for future generations. This can be done! Horses are not necessities in daily life today—but horsemanship has taken many engaging new forms in recreation, sport and therapy.

Amazingly, horsemanship thrives even in our modern technological age. As long as we have horses, we are keeping one of the founding fires of civilization lit.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomically_modern_humans

[2] http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/civilization/?ar_a=1

(c) John Royce


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Benefits of Horses

Benefits of Horses series (part #1) by John Royce

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 28, 2013 08:56

Watching Horses is part of being Human

To say mankind evolved watching horses is simply reporting evidence. Incredibly the sight of horses is older to humanity than the use of fire or tools. Horse-watching predates walking upright.

According to science, the horse developed into its current form much earlier than humans did. The oldest known evidence of equus—the genus of all existing equines—comes from Idaho, USA, and is dated to about 3.5 million years old.

Photo credit:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HyracotheriumVasacciensisLikeHorse.JPG


In comparison, humans are new kids on the block. Recognizable equus herds were present as early human-prototypes evolved ... human ancestors like australopithecus, who lived about 4 to 2 million years ago, were still losing their body hair and learning to walk upright at a time when fully-formed horses were already galloping across the plains.

Evidence reveals that the sight/sound/smell of horses is instilled in the most primal part of us, yet what this means to the realm of consciousness is less clear. We do know the earliest discovered prehistoric artwork concerns horses. Paleolithic caves are filled with equine figures and carvings that give testament to the awareness and importance of the animal to primitive man.

Science has only recently verified what horsemen have long claimed: horses are integral to human experience. However science does not answer what this means to present-day humanity. Charts cannot plot the horse’s deep link to our psyche. Does it ground us, does it balance us psychically to watch horses in action? The answer may be outside our empirical senses; it may be found quite simply in our hearts.

If today’s horse-lovers claim horses are important to the human spirit, it may be unwise to scoff. We should remember there are things poets knew ... before scientists proved it.

(c) John Royce


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