Why we're here

We are taking a stand against horse slaughter returning to the US and are striving to stop the transportation of horses to other countries for slaughter. Some of us are working in those other countries as well.

We are taking this stance as Pagans and Heathens, at a time when it seems some have decided that eating slaughtered horse meat in ritual is somehow cool, edgy and "ancestral." Therefore we want to show that that minority does not represent all of the Pagan and Heathen communities. Many of us worship Horse Deities, many of us are horse people who may see our horses as sacred charges who we care for to honor these Deities. Not by killing but by striving to give them good lives.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why should horses have a special status?

In sparing match I had with a fellow Heathen, I had stated that horses were “companion” animals to which that person stated that was a point frustrated them because it assumes all other animals are road kill. This is a comment I have seen over and over, also the “what is the difference between a horse, an elk, a cow, a dog..... etc. None. They are all animals and can all be a food source...”

I don’t believe that the love of horses means all other animals are road kill, however I do believe that horses have a special status in human culture; it’s just that most humans have forgotten what they owe horses.
I’d like to list out a few things that through the grace of the gods or just the make-up of horses have caused them to be our partners in building civilization.

I should probably save warfare to last, but this is what inspired this article for me. As a child I my dad had a couple movies that I was amazed by and scared by. One was Gallipoli and the other was the Light Horseman. Of the two my father liked the Light Horseman better, or I remember seeing that one the most.
This particular movie was centered on the Australian 4th and 12th Light Horse Brigades and the “last successful” cavalry charge that occurred on October 31, 1917 WWI at the battle of Beersheba. Of course they put in the exciting conclusion of the mounted soldiers riding down on the Turkish artillery. I always found this terrifying, because I sure would not have wanted to be the Turks in this instance.

One would think that this was the last time that horses were used in modern warfare, and one would be wrong. Horses were used in WWII when the Germans were unable to create any motorized transport because its factories were needed to produce tanks and aircraft they used around 2.75 million horses, a few more than were used in World War I. Though these horses were not used in combat there were merely used to transport equipment.
The only remaining operationally-ready, fully horse-mounted regular regiment in the world, today, is the Indian Army's 61st Cavalry. Of course horses are used today by the Police Department and search and rescue.

 “The horse, with beauty unsurpassed, strength immeasurable and grace unlike any other, still remains humble enough to carry a man upon his back.”  ~Amber Senti
Something I would think few would know about is a “Pit Pony,” this is an equine (I’ve seen photos of ponies, horses and mules) that were used in mining. I’m sure the size of the mine had a lot to do with the size of equine used. This seems not to have been very common in the U.S., but more prevalent in Britain. The last mine in the U.S. that equines were used in was closed in 1971.


Picture used from Museum Wales site.

 Sometimes these equines were housed underground, and even lowered down shafts to be moved to where they were needed. They, of course, would be used to haul the mine product from where it was collected to where it needed to be delivered, and then loaded on a wagon or in later years, trucks.  
(Pit Pony story here)
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” ~Winston Churchill

 My mother had Encephalomyelitis when she was eight, this was during WWII. As a result the doctors told her parents that she would always be a runt and a weakling, so her parents sent her to horse camp. Ideally this was to toughen her up, it did the trick! This was also during the Polio era when parents would send their children to horse camp for Therapeutic Riding (thought I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t called that then!) .
Mom would tell me how kids would show up with braces and crutches and go home walking after spending a month riding horses. I don’t know how true that story is, but it’s one that I have grown up hearing.

I recently posted an article in the “Sacred HorseFacebook group about how Therapists were using horses to help people overcome anxiety, depression, grief and low self-esteem. Full article here.
There are even Guide horses for the blind! These are miniature horses, however, according to the Guide Horse.org website, “The Guide Horse Foundation was founded in 1999 as an experimental program to access the abilities of miniature horses as assistance animals. There is a critical shortage of guide animals for the blind and guide horses are an appropriate assistance animal for thousands of visually impaired people in the USA. ”

One little fella, Cuddles, even found his way on Oprah

 Picture found here.
These are a few of the things that horses have done for/with humans. We owe them quite a bit, least of which to be treated humanely and not be cruelly slaughtered! 80% of Americans seem to agree, but just go about their business as cogs in the corporate wheel and don’t see what some greedy assholes are doing to our ancient allies!


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