Seeing Horses as They are.
Kindness and open-minded curiosity are needed to cross boundaries and build bridges between species – and by the way not only species, but also between races, cultures, religions, nationalities, genders, etc.
I read an article on the ‘new’ science of animal emotions and the problem with anthropomorphism (the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities) (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/02/the-scientific-case-for-anthropomorphism.html).
The use of anthropomorphic language has traditionally been avoided and even ridiculed by the scientific community which indicated that any research project that suggested that animals might be thinking and feeling in the same way that humans do was showing a lack of objectivity. Luckily, the world is changing in this regard thanks to scientists like Frans de Waal, Carl Safina, Marc Beckoff, etc.
I also believe that it is not right to say that animals are ‘just like us’. But equally, we cannot deny them their feelings, emotions and awareness. And everyone who has lived closely with an animal and build relationships with them will know that.
I see an even bigger problem in anthropocentrism: the belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet in the sense that they are considered to have a moral status or value higher than that of all other organisms, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocentrism); which is deeply embedded in our modern culture and society. There have been societies and cultures that had a far healthier relationship and connection to nonhuman life forms than we do and we could learn a lot from them if we gave up our supposedly superior status which would benefit not only other species but also ourselves as the feeling and thinking and sentient human beings we are.
When do we start to see animals (and the natural world) again for who they are? When will we be humble enough to acknowledge and respect all their capacities and abilities?
I believe this is truly needed as the basis to build the authentic and satisfying connections and relationships with our horses so many of us are striving and looking for, to see the horses for who they are, not humans in horse form, but sentient beings with their own set of awareness, emotions and social needs and behaviours and understandings.