A study was released this year from Sussex University in England which showed that horses can recognize human emotions. To any person who lives with horses or has had a horse for a considerable amount of time likely would exclaim "duh" upon seeing this news crop up in the headlines. Of course they can! Most everyone has a story of coming out to the barn after a hard day and getting a snuggle or a whinny from their horse.
The reason for this is *Spoiler alert* in large part due to the fact that equine and human have been working together for thousands of years. Over that period of time our horses have learned what our faces, body language and tones mean. Just as we have learned that pinned back ears and snarling muzzles are trouble, they two can recognize a scowl and prepare.
Humans and horses have existed as a partnership for thousands of years. Across the globe, from China to Chicago there is now and has been: horse culture. Every place is a little different or a lot different but the motives and the feelings are probably pretty universal across the globe. There is something inside of horse people that just connects with this other species. Lord knows human beings have tried to replace equines as work machines and to remove them from our lives but despite, trains, bicycles, cars and mopeds there is no replacement for a horse.
For me it's the feeling. Simply being around my horses, especially if it happens to be quiet makes me feel very complete. I own 5 horses, and they are all very different animals, with distinct personalities. Some are more independent than others. Some more confident. Some kinder but all good and pure souls. Horses simply are who they are when they are with you. They are genuinely themselves and for this I am usually always grateful.
I like the first breath I take when I sit down in a saddle on my horse. The moment of connection. The exhale that says "okay, now we're gonna do something together." The first thing I do when I sit down on the saddle is to thank my mount "good boy" because gratitude for the experience is a daily occurrence.
We humans and they horses we are tied together, truly bonded. Somewhere along the line there was a horse and a human someplace. They looked at each other in the eye and they made an unspoken pact "I will take care of you" they both said in their own way. And from there I think, al the rest of it must have began.
Every day, literally every single day I am excited to see my horses. I have been riding horses for over 30 years and I still every day get excited to ride. I dream about riding. I feel the riding in my body when I watch students move. I do not dream of my car, and no matter how badly I may want a Vespa I'll still never love it so much as I do any horse I've ever owned.
The connection that can be cultivated between one human and one horse is incredible. Man and horse, we elevate each other to something greater than we would be on our own.