Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Horses are pretty sure that they are going to be eaten by wolves—every single day. It’s what they are. It’s how they think. Pretending that horses are big dogs or cuddly kittens doesn’t change horses into big dogs or cuddly kittens. Horses are horses are horses.

I know that seems obvious but, these days, you’d be surprised. People have gotten a little muddled when it comes to animals of all species, including their own. Dogs are like easy babies and real babies are a punishment.

Horses, on the other hand, are twelve hundred pound prey animals that worry about wolves and Mickey Mouse balloons—until they learn to surrender to someone “bigger,” “stronger,” and/or more “dominant.”

It’s psychology: horse not human.

Mommy horses discipline rowdy babies by chasing them until they are whipped: sides heaving, sweat slicked, and submissive. When a horse is ready to “submit” to a more dominant horse it will drop its head, turn toward the “boss” and lick its lips. A horse that submits is saying, “You are in charge. I trust you to watch for wolves, get me to fresh water, and protect me from Mickey Mouse balloon goblins.” 

It’s magical: horse not warlock.

In the wild, young horses aren’t allowed to be out of control, selfish fools. Out of control, selfish, fool horses are dangerous to the herd. They distract the grownup horses from watching out for wolves and killer balloons. It isn’t allowed. I like horses. They make sense.

People, who think they know about horses from watching Disney movies, find the concept of round penning mindless and mean. It’s the human equivalent of time-out for teenager horses where humans push a horse around and around in an enclosed circle until he’s paying attention, ready to surrender, ready to join the herd, ready to become a valuable member of society.

It isn’t mean. It works, because horses are sensible—also humble. 

In human society, selfish, fool, twerp, offspring put the entire herd at risk by distracting everyone from the real troubles of the human herd: the work of growing the herd, the necessity of educating the next generation not to be out of control and selfish, and the endless need to watch out for the prowling wolves ready to eat us all—not to mention those crazy balloon goblins.

When we treat animals like animals they can teach us a lot about the right way to live and be happy.

It’s simple: herd not twerp.

Linda (Mount Up) Zern 
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