Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: No wonder cave men painted horses

Their size was the first thing that impressed me

There are few creatures on the planet that are as regal and graceful as a horse.

I have had very little contact with them in my life, other than watching old westerns on television, but an encounter with a small group of horses last week left me almost speechless as I had the opportunity to be up close to some of these most magnificent of creatures.

I was paying a visit to Rebecca Sanesh, who operates Duncan’s Humanity for Horses Rescue organization, at the centre’s 40-acre farm.

The non-profit Humanity for Horses is in the business of buying horses bound for slaughter from auctions and finding caring foster homes for them.

Sanesh and her group of volunteers have rescued more than 380 horses since she began the operation, and a few of them are currently being cared for at the Duncan farm.

Sanesh, who works full time as well as taking care of the horses, was to meet me there but I had arrived a little early, which gave me an opportunity to try and interact with a few of the horses that were behind fences in a field behind the barn.

Their size was the first thing that impressed me as I sauntered up to the fence and began beckoning them to come closer.

It was instantly clear to me why these were among the first animals that people, tens of thousands of years ago, began painting on the walls of their caves.

The muscles on their powerful legs and shoulders rippled as they moved towards me and the sense of raw power and strength that the animals emanated was almost palpable.

The group of about five of them that came over stopped about five feet in front of me and just watched me warily and I continued to encourage them to come closer.

I remembered watching a documentary recently about the intelligence of horses and remembered learning that horses are very sensitive to people’s facial expressions to determine if they are under threat.

I gave them my brightest smile and kept my hands high in the air to show that I had nothing with me to harm them as I continued talking to them in a quiet and friendly manner.

After a few minutes, the biggest of the horses, an eight-year-old named Willow, finally decided that I appeared safe enough to approach and she came close enough for me to gently pat her head.

The others quickly followed and I was soon going from horse to horse patting them and they responded by gently nudging my hand.

I wondered who, in the distant part, first came up with the idea of getting on a horse’s back and riding it off into the sunset.

They are very large and powerful animals, and I bet whoever that person was likely took a few spills in the process.

I regret that the only riding I have ever done in my life was on cows on a dairy farm where I worked when I was a kid.

Riding a horse, on the other hand, seems like a whole different experience than that.

I found the visit to the farm invigorating and it became clear to me why Sanesh, who has spent her life around horses, would sacrifice so much of herself to ensure their well being.

But it’s expensive work and Sanesh is looking for some financial help through a GoFundMe page so she can continue her horse-saving operations.

Her Feed The Rescue Horses 2019 campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/feed-the-rescue-horses-2019.

It’s money for a good cause.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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