What is it about horses?

Yesterday our kids went to a birthday party at a horse farm, where they got to groom and ride horses and ponies.

My daughter grooming a horse named Henry. She insisted on wearing a ballet outfit.

The kids did such a good job brushing the horses that most of them almost fell asleep.

They rode the horses in circles in an arena for quite a while. On occasion the horses were instructed to go a bit faster, and it was a hoot to watch the semi-terrified-but-thrilled looks on the kids faces as their backsides bounced significantly up and down on the saddle as they sped up.

Henry woke up in time to give my daughter a tour.

As I watched the kids ride around and around (and around and around…), I noticed each one had a huge smile and were enjoying themselves immensely.

(I also noticed I had a slight twinge of envy, having never rode a horse myself.)

I couldn’t resist giving some of the horses a rub on the nose or a pet on the side. And to just stare at them for a while.

What the heck is it about horses?!

The attraction is different than that to dogs, cats, or other domesticated critters. It’s deeper down in the gut, more fundamental. More primitive. Or maybe more mystical, like there’s a part of my brain that’s still 5 years old and expects the horse to sprout a horn and/or wings and transform into My Little Pony. 

Or maybe there’s a cultural archetype burned into the female psyche of a princess and her loyal steed (I admit I’m rusty with my Jungian psychology…). That as soon as she mounts the horse she is no longer [insert name here] but is now Princess [insert a much more flowery name here]: Ruler of Lands and Fairest of them All. Forever and Ever.

Who knows. I’ll try to ride a horse one day and let you know if I channel my inner princess.

A horse named Honey. She was a bit grumpy but I liked her.
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