Recently I was engaged in an email conversation, with a group of colleagues, on the issue of the extensive cruelty exhibited by Federal agencies and our government, overall. The discussion was centered on the unimaginable suffering that our native wild horses are subjected to at the hands of the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headed up by Bob Abbey under the direction of 5th generation rancher, Ken Salazar the Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI). As the conversation progressed it became apparent that the bulk of the mindless cruelty, shown to our federally protected mustangs, is administered by and distributed through men. Hence, the question arose,
“Why is it that men consider equines to be such a threat?”
I found the question to be of great interest as both myself and my good friend Jerry Finch, President of Habitat for Horses, have been pondering this same issue for many years. Jerry and I have been in the horse rescue business for over a decade and we often wondered, as we looked around our ranks, where are all the guys?
Now my intent is not to insult nor do I wish to stereotype but if you will indulge me I would like to offer my observations from well over a half a century of living with and around my own gender. If there are any gentlemen out there who might recognize themselves in these words take heart as you may be able to make a significant shift that could reap you ample rewards in your current and future relationships be they equine in nature or with human females, they all subscribe to the same forms of acknowledgment.
Overall, and this is huge, the bulk of all men are insecure…full stop. That’s why we speak loud, push things around, believe that size matters, play with balls and call it a sport, start wars and subjugate women and animals. Ya can’t deny that boys.
Men like things that they can control such as cars (just point it to where you want it to go and it goes), boats, aircraft, guns, tools, dogs and all things that bend quickly and directly to the male whim. Men cannot nor ever will be able to adequately command or control cats, horses and/or women…ain’t gonna happen so the result is, often times, abuse and neglect. Even though I claim no formal education in psychiatry it doesn’t take more than a high school education and an in tune heart to figure that one out.
Female induced abuse and neglect upon an equine is very rare and is usually associated with some form of mental disorder and when was the last time you heard of a husband having the living crap beat out of him by his wife? Hard to conjure that image up isn’t it? (IMHO) Have you ever read about an innocent adolescent boy being raped by an older woman? That was the stuff that dreams were made of when I was a teenager but much to my chagrin I was never abused in such a manner.
The male insecurity is amplified when the woman in his life falls in love with a horse and here is where real sparks can begin to fly. Being inherently insecure the male is jealous of the fact that the human female he desires is sharing and spending love, time and attention on the horse that should be spent on him. He feels that she must not really have the care and concern for him that he wants or needs if she can show so much affection to another creature while he only stands in the wings. This insecurity is what has driven many equine related relationships into divorce court, we have all seen it a dozen times over.
There is also the Freudian sexual thing all wrapped up into that mess but that is more than we can go into, here. Again, it goes back to the bigger is better syndrome and the size thing.
Now men who love women who love horses have a couple of things in their saddle bags that their brothers do not; they are comfortable in their own skins and secure with their sexuality, hands down. If the woman of a horsemen loves a horse the man sees that women with an expanded heart and a depth of feeling that warms his insides. Looking out across the pasture and seeing my wife hugging on her horse lights me up because she cares so much about something so special and has room in her heart for not only me but other sentient creatures it just plain turns me on, it’s that simple.
Women who love animals are special spirits as they have the unique ability to carry their compassion outside the realm of human circles and can spread sunshine to all the other travelers on this spaceship we call Earth. And women who love horses are truly exceptional in the breadth, depth and conviction of their love as they not only have taken the leap from human ties but have bonded and partnered with a creature that is many times larger than her physical being.
Horsewomen have changed the face of the Equestrian world over the last 40 or so years. The days of using manly terms like “broke” have been replaced with gentled, partnered or bonded. There are a few guys out there working with horses but they have become smart enough to develop and promote like techniques knowing that their largest audience is the compassionate side of the human race.
But bullies be forewarned; all of the love and compassion that a woman shows a horse can quickly be turned into the hottest and most tenacious fire that you ever hope to see if you should be guilty of harming any equines within her realm of influence. This is something that abusers have known for a long time as you just do not want to cross a woman over being abusive to a horse and this is also a lesson that the BLM is learning at the very time of this writing. The most honest, sincere, committed and knowledgeable equine advocates on this planet are women; we accompanying males pale in comparison. There is something almost magical and supernatural about the ambiance of the women who are dedicated to the cause and commitment to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our American horse be they wild or domestic. For an enlightened male this is a tremendous blessing but for the slow to learn, it could spell their demise.
Maybe it’s genetically driven guilt for the sins that my brothers have rained down upon woman and horse alike or perhaps it’s a misplaced chromosome that bends me to their way of thinking but regardless of the subliminal driver there is one thing for certain; if there is ever any hope of putting ourselves back in touch with the planet around us, and the other inhabitants of this world, it will not be the males of our species but the female who will save us from our own eminent self-destruction. For within the spirit of the woman resides not only the hope for our future but the heart and the soul of the entire human race.
I am beyond pleased and proud to stand amongst the thousands of women who have made the commitment to protect the most benevolent of all animals on this planet.
I respectfully take off my hat and thank you for allowing me to share your grace; all of you special souls are my most heartfelt hero’s.