I Am Horse

I am horse.

I hear you talking about me and making plans for my future and yet you never ask me what I want or if I agree.

I see you with your bridles and saddles and bits and iron shoes that you put on me but I do not see you try them on your own soft body and soft mouth and soft feet that are not so different than mine.

I smell your chemicals and pesticides and wonder how it is that you drink the same air without seeming to notice.

I taste the fresh grass and prefer it to the taste of dried hay and the taste of grain but you prefer things that can be measured.

I feel you on my back.

Do you know me?

I am equus ferus caballus.

You may know me by other names such as stud, feral, bloodstock, livestock, broodmare or recipient mare.

Perhaps you saw me when I ran my feet off in one of your races.  I was not the one wearing the pretty hat.

You decide that six months is long enough for me to have my babies at my side, and then you ignore my cries, saying “She will settle down.”

In Florida you have stolen me from my home and butchered me in your filthy backyard abattoirs to sell for meat.

I follow you because it is better to trust.

Do you trust me?

I am horse.

My head is held fast in cross ties so you can plait my mane, shave my whiskers and wrap my legs.

You tell your friends that keeping me tied up for hours in a standing stall where there is no room to turn or lie down is good for me because I can be close to my friends and it keeps me clean.

Your veterinarian (not my healer) injects alcohol into the base of my tail to paralyze the nerves and stop my tail from swishing because everyone knows the judges do not like a rebellious horse.

You fasten chains around my feet so I am forced by the pain to step tall and flashy.

I think I am beautiful the way I was born.

Do you admire me?

I am mustang, mestengo, mesteño.

I roam miles and climb high into the range to seek forage and water, and to avoid predation and you.

You seek me in stands of trees and drive me out with your helicopters.

I live in bands that are bound by blood.

You divide me from my mates and my children and remove me from the land I know to live in pens with no trees, no running water, nothing to do.

I look at you from inside the pens and wonder.

Do you hate me?

I am horse.

Millions of my ancestors were captured and slaughtered to feed chickens, pigs, dogs and cats.

There are 100 million of us “equids” alive in the world today;  tens of millions work “like horses” pulling your carts and wagons, and will die in our traces.

You call me “brother” and say it is sacred to kill me and eat my body.

I am not a plant to be “harvested” or a “crop” to be gathered.

I have a right to live as much as anybody else.

Do you respect me?

We are Xanthus and Balius.

We will keep you safe this time, we will bring you safely back.

But the day is fast approaching, and we are not to blame, but fate.

It was not because we were slow or because we were lazy.

We could run with the wind.

For you, however, there is destiny; to be killed in war by God, by the hand of man.

Do you hear us?

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