Free the Horse, Free the Human

Pegasus, the great winged horse, sired by the sea-god Poseidon and foaled by Medusa (whose name means “guardian, protectress” and not “snake-headed lady”) was also descended from Gaia (“Mother Earth”) and Chaos–the god of darkness (pantheism), matter created by God (monotheism) or primordial matter, the beginning of time (scientism).  At any rate, it is said of Poseidon that:

Everywhere the winged horse struck his hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth.

So Poseidon drew water from the earth.  Also, because of his faithful service to Zeus (he carried Zeus’ thunderbolts), Pegasus was transformed into a constellation.  On the day when Zeus transformed him into a constellation, it is said that a single feather fell to the earth near the city of Tarsus, the birthplace of Saint Paul, now part of Turkey.

Another legend states that the winged horse Pegasus was lost and landed [at Tarsus], hurting his foot, and thus the city was named tar-sos (the sole of the foot).

Water and horses.  Horses and myth.  Horses and feet.  No foot, no horse.  My kingdom for a horse.  For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost.  For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.  For want of a horse, the rider was lost.  And there goes the kingdom.

The Bureau of Land Management would like the public to know the “BLM side” of the “wild horse problem” (really, wild horses and burros, but that’s for another day) that boils down to a claim that “there are too many for the land to support.”  How many are too many?  We may never know.  Too many for whatever purpose the BLM and current “stakeholders” of public land use decide is today’s priority for the land owned collectively by the American people.  Yesterday it was cattle, sometimes gold, silver, uranium or phosphorus, today it is energy–natural gas pipelines and solar plants.  Curiously, there are never “too few” wild horses and burros for the BLM, but always “too many.”

A charge often lobbed against those who would like to see “as many as possible” and even more horses and burros on public land than currently survive there against great odds, including the hellbent-ness of the people–going on generations–who want to see them gone, gone, gone, is the charge of “emotion.”  Those of us who are called “wild horse advocates” or “activists” by the BLM, by reporters and by people who would like to see the horses and burros gone, gone, gone is that we are “too emotional” on the issue.  Bob Abbey, director of the BLM (until he got tapped to head the disgraced Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department following the British Petroleum oil tragedy in the Gulf), summed it up this way:

A small but vocal group of wild horse advocates has sparked some very emotional responses to the Bureau of Land Mangement’s plan to remove excess wild horses from overpopulated herds on drought-stricken public rangelands.

You have to admire the way Abbey managed to tar the wild horse advocates as “vocal” and “very emotional,” the wild horses themselves as “excess,” their herds as “overpopulated” and the public range lands as “drought-stricken” with the same broad brush and without taking a breath.  This is the “mantra” (as writer R.T. Fitch described it in his June 17, 2010 post entitled “Wild Horse Advocates Call for Moratorium on Deadly BLM Round Ups“) of the BLM and friends (stockmen, hunters, Sierra Club, mining interests, big energy and others) who want to see the wild horses and burros gone (“managed to extinction”) or greatly diminished (less than sustainable numbers).  There are “too many” of them and not so many of us, but we are “vocal” and “spark emotional responses” (hmmm, very much like horses themselves).

In fact there is nothing sensible or impassive–and everything emotional, about the history of human hostility to wild horses.  The larger emotion that you see is rage and the lesser emotions are frustration and irritation.  Spend more than a few minutes with anyone who claims that rationality governs their “need” to haze, trap and cull wild horses and you will begin to sense the hot rage that lies just beneath the cool reasoning.  Rage against the stallions who resist capture.  Frustration with the foals who cannot keep up with the bands when the helicopters give chase, and irritation with the mares who “breed prolifically” in the wild.

It is as if the wild horses and burros, by their very existence and insistence on surviving and on keeping with their band members, expose the weakness of the humans who are set on controlling them and on managing the land that is wilderness after all (and don’t we humans hate to have our weakness revealed).

Please let the wild horses and burros be free, that they may serve Gaia as intended, and that we may free ourselves at the same time, of the centuries-old madness of trying and trying (and always failing) to bend nature to our human will.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Free the Horse, Free the Human”
  1. Morgan Griffith says:

    “Please let the wild horses and burros be free, that they may serve Gaia as intended, and that we may free ourselves at the same time, of the centuries-old madness of trying and trying (and always failing) to bend nature to our human will.” Beautifully stated.

  2. Craig Downer says:

    This is a superb piece that catches the utter hypocrisy of the wild horse enemies when they claim the horses don’t belong or that they are overpopulated, etc. What deep lies!

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