Dogs may be humankind’s best friend, but horses have secret powers all their own.
I have been thinking a lot about horses ever since writing about the remarkable healing capacity of horsemanship for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I have been thinking about the movies and novels in which a horse saves some poor broken soul; and I have been thinking about the people I have known whose lives have been transformed by horses. And of course, I have been thinking about Halo and Omega – the mischievous pony and giant elegant mare of my childhood – and the invaluable lessons they taught me. How do horses work their magic on us mere mortals?
Several commenters on the PTSD story offered a great quote attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, which made me wonder what others had to say on the topic. While we know that there are plenty of physical and emotional benefits related to spending time with horses, there is also something else that’s hard to define; an intangible quality in horses – and their relationship to us – that is exquisite and beautiful. What is it about horses? The following quotes offer some insight.
1. There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. – Winston Churchill (uhm, or someone)
2. When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. – William Shakespeare
3. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses. – Herman Melville
4. A horse can lend its rider the speed and strength he or she lacks - but the rider who is wise remembers it is no more than a loan. – Pam Brown
5. I have seen things so beautiful they have brought tears to my eyes. Yet none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty of a horse running free. – Author Unknown
6. In riding a horse, we borrow freedom. – Helen Thompson
7. Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls. They give us hope! – Toni Robinson
8. The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. – Author Unknown
9. Horses lend us the wings we lack. – Pam Brown
10. When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have. – Winston Churchill
11. We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse should allow another, and far more feeble animal, to ride upon its back. – Peter Gray
12. In the end, we don’t know what horses can do. We only know that when, over the past thousands of years, we have asked something more of them, at least some of them have readily supplied it. – Jane Smiley
13. Whoever said a horse was dumb, was dumb. – Will Rogers