Following Gulliver’s crew mutinying , he is abandoned to arrive at an area of land where, eventually, he meets a horse that speaks Houyhnhnm; translated to mean the perfection of nature. This horse is the ruler of a race of creatures with human at their base, who were given the name The Yahoos.
Living amongst the horses Gulliver quickly learns to admire them sufficiently to want to emulate their lifestyle. Unfortunately the horses realise that Gulliver, although having reason, is himself fundamentally a Yahoo, and therefore a danger to their society; consequently he is expelled. Upon his arrival home he can no longer live amongst his ‘Yahoos’ and recluses to the stables to talk with his horses.
No doubt those who’ve studied Swift’s work in depth will have some insight to all of this but for us the basic idea of a peaceful society, based upon reason and having no word for lie, such as the Houyhnhnms’, is very welcome.
The work at Hawthorn Heavy Horses illustrates that the humble horse is not so humble; both Matt and Claudia Waller never doubted their horses abilities. Combined with their colleagues they manage to not only make peoples’ days special; using their carriage options but also work the land in environmentally sensitive areas.
Holly and George, both Suffolk Punches, have been reintroduced to The Hylands Estate as working horses, for the benefit of the environment and as an opportunity for the wider community; with opportunities to interact and be enjoyed.
As delicate ecosystems need our attentions and SSSI’s need protection, appreciation for the benefits of using horses for land management rely on the skills of such horse handlers. There is no reason, for example, that horses couldn’t assist as a serious alternative to vehicles, especially in rural areas, for local tasks such as rubbish and recycling collection.
Horse handling is a welcome revival in a world that seems to promote disconnection, although is becoming increasingly environmentally sensitive, therefore, as horses are animals which communicate and are sensitive to their environment, Matt and Claudia’s work with horses shouldn’t be underestimated.
Connecting humanity and mammals that can teach us much, stands to reason; it can only be beneficial.
And for those of you who might be superstitious that these are our 13th innovative thinkers, don’t worry, they’ve probably got a few lucky horseshoes kicking around.
(Image credit: Farlane)