A Horse is a Horse

The Unbridled Spirit of a Wild Horse

Experiencing nature in its raw unspoiled state is exhilarating to say the least. There is no question that to witness a grizzly bear or bison or wolf in its natural habitat is exciting and awe inspiring. But there is one animal that holds the magic and wonder like no other — the unbridled experience of seeing a wild horse! Why? Because this is an animal that humans, so many eons ago, was able to take under their control.

Horse, Mr. Ed

Wilbur and Mr. Ed

Many of us have grown up with some experience of either being around a horse or watching them in our favorite western or TV show. Horses as tame and obedient as the family dog. For me it began with Roy Rogers and his beloved Trigger, and progressed to Wilbur (Post) and the famous Mr. Ed! Eventually, I found myself in the presence of real horses, but my first connection was thanks to TV. 

Which is the basis to my comparison of experiencing a wild horse. To see a wild horse in its natural habitat contradicts all that is known and familiar from a lifetime of experiences or preconceived notions of a horse.

The first time I ever experienced a wild horse was in the Red Desert of Wyoming.

Red Desert

A vast seemingly barren landscape barely able to support plant life let alone a wild animal. On a remote dusty Wyoming back road, as we crested a hill, there they were — a small herd of untouched, unbroken beauty. You could see the wild in their eyes as they cast them upon us. Their wild spirit was exhilarating! These horses roaming wild and free had never felt the touch of a human hand. Or carried the burden of transporting human or supplies upon their backs. Their sole purpose was survival, and with that purpose came an acute awareness and energy to everything around them.

Wild horses

As curiosity in the only colt of the herd peaked — acting as if it was seeing a human for the very first time — the surrounding mares quickly filled the void between innocent colt and unwelcome human. It was as if they were saying, “Oh, no you don’t! If you want to remain true to your spirit, don’t even think of befriending a human.” Can that memory from eons ago have been passed down from generation to generation to generation? I can’t help but wonder!

Experiencing the true wild nature of these horses brought me to tears for it was in that moment I understood what the term “to break a horse” meant. It means to break their spirit. Take away the essence of what they are and turn them into well-trained obedient servants.

Unlike a dog whose physical appearance has been altered from which they have evolved, a horse is a horse (of course, of course)! The only distinguishing feature between a wild horse and a tame horse is that wild spirit that can only be felt in a truly unbridled wild horse.

There is no doubt that human’s success is in part due to the relationship with the horse.

It is for that reason I commend those who have recognized this is a bond to be nurtured not forced. One can tame a horse while maintaining a small piece of that wild spirit that is innately their own.

Baby horse or coltSo the next time I see a horse grazing in a pasture, I will wish for that horse one thing. 

A reconnection to an unexpected moment of remembrance of that wild spirit that lies deep within its soul, and to once again feel freedom rustle through its mane as it gallops about in pure unbridled joy and spirit!

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4 Responses to A Horse is a Horse

  1. Patricia Zilinsky September 3, 2019 at 7:47 pm #

    Beautifully written Karen. How wonderful this world would be if every living soul was nurtured into reaching its highest potential, rather than being forced or broken into something less than it was born to be.

    • Karen B. Shea September 3, 2019 at 8:52 pm #

      So very true, Patricia! So very true.

  2. Terese Masur September 7, 2019 at 1:10 pm #

    Beautiful, wild and free! Great story!