Our friends, the horses

Changes in the uses of the horse have changed this animal's condition in our society. In practising riding as a sport and recreational activity, the relationship between man and horse has changed. In competition, respect for the animal is required (for example, no more than three whips can be used to correct the horse) and, more importantly, a close bond is expected between the rider and his or her mount. The term "couple" has since entered into the equestrian vocabulary. The horse is therefore a living being, endowed with a character, personality and soul. Again, the jargon of the equestrian community illustrates a humanisation of the animal that makes an equal. One speaks of its mouth, nose, legs and feet and not a snout, muzzle or paws.

For the ethnologist Jean-Pierre Digard, the horse currently stands on the border between domestic animal and pet.

Indeed, horses have gained in the care afforded to them. For instance, it is no longer acceptable to send club horses to slaughter before their time. Retirement homes or horse associations have popped up everywhere in France. It is no longer simply about respecting one's horse, but loving it. For the horse is no longer a tool for work, but a friend, a confidant. Indeed, some people have a horse that stays with them in a corner of their yard. The animal becomes a family member in its own right. Sunday lunch activities include bringing its carrots, for example. For the ethnologist Jean-Pierre Digard, the horse currently stands on the border between domestic animal and pet.

< >