On becoming horse; on becoming human

Debbie Busby - Animal Behaviour Clinics


A study published in the journal Social Anthropology suggests that riders and horses can together enter into a unique state of interspecies “co-being”, where human and horse evolves to “fit” better with each other, both physically and mentally.

Anita Maurstad, PhD, a professor at Norway’s University of Tromsø and Dona Davis, PhD and Sarah Cowles BA of the University of South Dakota conducted open-ended interviews with 60 riders in a variety of disciplines in Norway and the mid-west USA to explore their relationship with their horses – why they ride and how this influenced their identity and their family life.  They identified three major themes: embodied moments of mutuality, engagements of two agentive individuals, and mutual domestication through being together.  Through a process conceptualised as co-being, horse and human meet, attune and change as a result of their meeting, existing as one unique, combined notion within the nature-culture of the…

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