Saturday, June 11, 2011

Being war horses -- against horses' nature

The last post dealt with one person’s views on War Horse. The “Lincoln Center Theater Review,” about the play, the book and the time in which they're set, includes a piece by professional horse trainer Monty Roberts. He writes about the nature of horses (as part of his answer to the question “Why do we love horses?”).

The following passages are quoted from Roberts’s article.

* Horses are flight animals. They do not stalk, kill, or devour the flesh of any other animal in order to exist. They are herbivores. They graze on large areas where they can see for great distances in every direction. They do not possess anatomical tools designed for violence toward other species. They live in a virtually nonviolent environment, wish to exist in a tranquil state, and mean no harm to others. Horses have but two goals in life: to survive and to reproduce.
(After humans saw horses as the means of moving their belongings, and then their bodies, from one location to another, the war horse was born.)

* While most soldiers loved their horses, they typically prioritized the lives of other humans and their own well-being ahead of the horses that brought there and assisted them in their war. Through all of that, remember that it was never the horses’ war. These wonderful animals would never know the meaning of war or understand the intent of any human to inflict harm on another.

* Horses want no part of war or any of the pain, the sound, or the smell of it. They are truly animals with a deep disdain for violence. And yet they came along with us and I believe they constantly wondered what in the world we were thinking about, but they did their job without question.

* The saddest chapter in any war was when the horses were left in trenches when the soldiers were shipped home. The horses did not get a hero’s reception back in the old hometown.

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