I live almost anywhere on earth that a mammal can exist, from the swamps and bogs, though the great plains to the mountains. While I am both swift and strong, my life is governed by the fear/flight instinct of survival, as I am a prey animal. The only humans who could possibly understand what it is like to be a prey animal are soldiers caught behind enemy lines with no weapons to protect themselves or someone who has broken free from an attacker in a strange neighborhood and is hiding from them.
I trust nothing until it has been absolutely proven to both myself and others in my herd that it cannot hurt me. Though I compete with the others in my herd for food and my standing in the herd, they give me great comfort and security. They are my early warning security system that helps protect me from danger. I literally trust their reliability and reactions to possible danger with my life. To leave the herd is unthinkable as, on my own, I would lose their security and be vulnerable to the attack of predators.
I abhor small places that restrict my movement and prevent me from escaping danger. I also have a great of fear being caught in vines and brambles and being stuck in mud, as I know that any type of restriction is a death sentence for a horse.
I learn what is good and what is bad in life from my Mother and the others in the herd. I also learn from my own experiences and am a creature of habit, who much prefers to use methods and things that are proven to be not dangerous to horses. Though I am curious of all things, I am also skeptical and suspicious of anything new or different. I know that the slightest change in my environment could possibly mean instant death.
Upon rare occasion, I may find another horse to my liking. If I do, we will hang out together, groom each other, play together and even share our food together. We do not share the level of compassion, trust and understanding we develop for each other with others in the herd.
My vision, hearing, sight and especially my sense of smell are better then a human’s in many ways. Yet when I try to warn you of danger when we are riding, you punish me.
When we first meet, I come to you suspicious of your intentions, for you look, act and smell like a predator. But I come to you in the innocent purity of my species and I would never do you bodily harm except to protect my young, or the others in my herd.
In that first meeting, I come to you rich with the desire to aid the endeavors of man, as the Creator of All Things ordained it to be. Since that beginning, our spirits have been intertwined, predestined to a harmonious fellowship.
Yet from the first, you restrict me, threaten me, and force me to do things completely against my nature. We understand neither your intentions nor your language and find this frightening. When we do not react exactly as you want us to, you punish us. Some of us resist and fight back, only to be punished more severely. Others quickly surrender in fear of that greater punishment. You put us in small, dark caves that move and take us to strange, dangerous places, expecting us to be happy about leaving the security of our herd and familiar surroundings, yet you give us no reason to trust you. Some of you bring us things that are tasty and rub on us in strange ways, thinking this is some offering of friendship. But the seeds have been sown, and the deeds have been done, for the fate of our entire relationship has already been written in your actions. For none of us will ever forget that first impression you made on us, and how you treated us. We could not forget even if we wanted to, for once a fearful thing has been imprinted on our mind, it can never be erased.
We do not know why you do this. Why do you ignore the opportunity the Creator has given us?
Is it possible that after all these thousands of years, you have not our ways and thinking?
Does your species not know that friendship is always much stronger then servitude?
I do not know the answer to these things. I cannot look into the heart and mind of a human. I can only judge them by their actions.
So far, those actions do not speak well of your species…