On “Feeling the Spark,” “Having Faith,” and Anthropomorphism with Horses

 

“At the outset of any new relationship, there is the joy of getting to know someone and of doing things together. A horse develops his interest partly because he likes to play or just hang out with us. With very shy horses, a glance is enough to tell me what I need to know: I get an idea of his nature and want to make contact even if it is not in the way I had originally planned. If there is a certain spark that tells me he wants to make contact, then I know I have enough love and patience to create the right working relationship and achieve a good conclusion—even if it takes years.

“It is precisely this preparedness to devote hundreds of hours of work over many years that is important. If you have not felt this divine spark and do not believe strongly enough in the journey to devote all the time and love that is required then it will only be boring—both for you and for the horse—but, if you have felt the spark and have faith, then it is my conviction that the horse will always do his utmost to work with you and win your love.

“When I have found myself just assessing a horse’s merits rationally, the relationship has always remained platonic. This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable basis for a good working relationship for some other people, but not for us. It would not be satisfactory either for us or for the horse. In order to be properly content, a horse must have a real attraction and be in the position to forge a firm bond.”

—Magali Delgado in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

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“Ethologists hold up their hands in horror at he concept of anthropomorphism, but I am convinced that you have to put yourself into the horse’s skin if you are to gain an understanding. This does not mean that you can assume the horse will react to every situation similarly to a human reaction. It is more a matter of being aware of the difficulties the horse experiences in communicating with a human and sometimes of the conflicting demands made upon him.

“What is evident and causes problems is that a horse has a developed sense of fairness and justice. We have to be fair in the analysis of a situation and in our actions that result from this. Some horses will rebel against what they perceive as unjust. They notice immediately if their own signals have not been received and decoded, but react wonderfully when they know they have. It is not a matter of giving in to their wishes but of acting justly and taking into account their interests, their comfort, and indeed ours at the same time!”

—Frédéric Pignon in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

Magali and Frédéric gained international fame when they toured North America and Europe as the founding stars of the hit show Cavalia, from 2003 to 2009. They are currently performing a new show in Europe, with a hand-picked cast of 50 horses and 30 performers. Check out EQUI:

 

 

Both BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE and GALLOP TO FREEDOM by Magali Delgado and Frédéric Pignon are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

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