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Have we killed Spirit?

Have we killed Spirit?

Postby Chevalblanc » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:17 pm

I like this article, all about how we have "killed" Spirit. That's the stallion from the animated film Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron, by the way, for those of you who didn't have a daughter obsessed with it.....

https://unjournalequestre.wordpress.com ... ue-spirit/

I love the language in this, especially near the beginning which is mostly taken directly from a book about a certain short, hairy-footed creature that lived in a hole :wink:

For those of you who don't speak French, here's my attempt at a translation:

We’ve killed Spirit

This post, written by a non-rider who suffers my equestrian stories on a daily basis, is committed, without a doubt, as is this blog. As well as a criticism of what has become normal in the horse world, he is calling for people to question this normality, no matter who we are, where we come from or what we do with our horses.

In a stable there lived a horse. Not a nasty, dirty, wet stable, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, it was a luxury stable, and that means comfort.
This horse was a noble descendant of Pegasus. He carried his head high and proud, his mane was full on his well-defined neck, his hocks were well-muscled and his coat was the colour of……..well what colour is your horse?
In the long row of immaculate boxes we find the highest quality straw and not a dropping in sight. No heavy farmyard odours either, instead we breathe in the pleasant smell of cleaning products. And in these lovely 3 metre by 4 metre spaces are superb horses straight out of the pages of a magazine, impeccably shod, shining coats, expertly plaited manes and plumed tails. These noble creatures, impassive, watch the strange brooms of the bustling grooms with a haughty eye (or is that dull-eyed, who knows?) But the horse we’re interested in is not among them. Today he is with his rider. Outside. Well, in the indoor school. Outside it’s dusty and there are too many distractions. It isn’t an appropriate environment for a horse of such standing.
His rider (could be male or female, but it’s not important for our story, let’s say she’s female) loves this horse. If he’s descended from the Prince of Horses then she too is of the line of Bellerophon who knew how to tame him. She too would give her kingdom for her horse. She’s about your age. Her passion for horses was born when she played with her little plastic toy horses and was captivated in front of the telly watching the powerful and noble Spirit gallop, with his fierce gaze and indomitable spirit. But in the eyes of her horse, we find nothing but resignation……..
But decked out in his shiny leather tack he shows us his proud paces. Yes, he has this narrow strap that’s painfully tight around his nose, but…..it’s like the warhorses from the middle ages, he has all the trappings, bandages round his legs, brushing boots over those, overreach boots protecting his hooves. On his back, a veritable throne, (not of iron this one) rubber pad, sheepskin pad, saddle blanket and of course a superb saddle, very comfortable for the rider……finishing touch, draw reins, Pelham bit and noseband that give him the head carriage so admired by the judges.
Spurs glitter, reins tighten, and it’s time for some schooling. Our rider always says practise makes perfect. So every day she makes her companion practise the exercises that all good sports horses need to master.
Circle, volte, demi volte. Nostrils pinched and brow furrowed, our athlete bravely obeys (if our horse knew the story of Sisyphus, he would be able to sympathise). A hearty slap on the neck is his reward. Then on to lengthened strides on the diagonal, transitions and shoulder in. The effort causes him to whisk his tail and grind his teeth, but he has to continue, no choice. If he trips, slows down or stops, metal heels caress his flanks. But be not afraid, o noble horse, in a few years you will no longer feel this pain, you will no longer feel the bite of leather, you will no longer feel the pressure of the bit or the weight of the rider. In truth you won’t feel anything at all. And then you’re back in your box again, that wasn’t so hard, was it and of course your rider loves you so much you know! She’s not trying to hurt you! So don’t be ungrateful, don’t fight, endure, and make the most of your straw lined prison and your beautiful gaoler.

Spirit is dead.
Helen

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Re: Have we killed Spirit?

Postby Trudi » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:00 pm

That is so moving, thanks for translating Helen- saved my poor brain!
I often wonder at some of the things mentioned when I'm judging or assessing- spurs, tight reins, bang bang with the legs and all for what? So that a human can pat themselves on the back and say they love horses- confuses the hell out of me :sad:
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Re: Have we killed Spirit?

Postby spottygiraffe » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:24 am

Helen what a beautiful translation -you really did it justice and I would never have understood the nuances if you hadn't taken the time to do this. Thank you. I think it's one I'll re-read time and time again because I too found it very moving.

Trudi wrote:I often wonder at some of the things mentioned when I'm judging or assessing- spurs, tight reins, bang bang with the legs and all for what? So that a human can pat themselves on the back and say they love horses- confuses the hell out of me

It must be so frustrating but the best thing for you to do is exactly what you are doing already -leading by example and showing people the light side. Planting an acorn can grow into an oak tree. Times are changing, but far too slowly.
Sarah x

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Re: Have we killed Spirit?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:06 pm

:thumbup: for the translation Helen! I then went over to the blog and got lost reading the other articles there :lol: (as the link doesn't open in a new window, i often do this and then forget or don't have time to come back here to comment). Interesting that these reflections come from a non-rider; if an outsider can see it, why can't so many horse people :banghead: The point being made, or the message, is rather sad. Of course it is a generalisation and of course there are lots of good horse people and happy horses out there. But still far too many people who won't even consider that a horse has emotions and and isn't just a machine for human benefit, or that the could possibly get more from their horses if they had even a slightly different approach. I don't know about killing Spirit, sometimes it seems we never got past Black Beauty...
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Re: Have we killed Spirit?

Postby Tess and Organza » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:09 pm

Great translation! :thumbup: but this subject, oooh dont get me started!!!
littlewhitehorse wrote: sometimes it seems we never got past Black Beauty..


I like that Sheila!
I'm really encouraged by the general movement towards better more natural horse care and natural animal care in general,it's great that people will make noise and work diligently to educate and change; there are of course still many examples to the contrary that make me weep, but it is I hope a chaotic point of the evolution of our human relationship to animals, and hopefully will keep changing for the better. It only stands to reason, because society has changed so enormously, what we use animals for, what we find acceptable and non acceptable, just need to keep educating!
Personally I know I'm extreme, explained to Ganzi where the school will be, and added "do you think that might be ok for you, now and again?" she walked off farting so I think she understood....and she made sure I did :-D Methinks I will have to be awfully creative :wink:
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Re: Have we killed Spirit?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:08 pm

Tess and Organza wrote:explained to Ganzi where the school will be, and added "do you think that might be ok for you, now and again?" she walked off farting so I think she understood....and she made sure I did :-D Methinks I will have to be awfully creative :wink:


:lol: :lol:
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