What is an Indigenous view of horses? It varies, of course, not only tribally but individually. So we can only explain something about how we in Tapestry see horses, and how they are present in our programs as a result.
To begin with, horses are proud members of their own Nation. They are not human beings, and they are not mimics or imitators or mirrors of human beings. That is to say horses are not human side-kicks or tools. They are our peers, in every sense of that word.
The Horse Nation has its own ways and values, just as do the various nations of human beings. Horses follow these ways, just as human beings follow human ways. We are all subjected to our instincts to some degree, both horses and humans. But we can all equally overcome these instincts with experience, practice, and motivation. For both horses and humans, the motivation that overcomes the instinct of fear is love. Horses put up with the abusive behaviors that so many humans unintentionally inflict upon them because they love humans and want to partner with us.
We do not train horses, but teach them. And they teach us the same way. Communication and learning are two-way between horses and human beings. Communication and learning do not flow only from the “greater” human being to the “lesser” horse, for one is not greater than the other, but merely different. Horses have their own wisdom, their own gifts of healing and teaching, and they share these with humans as much as we permit them to do so.
The horses of Tapestry’s Indigenous Horse Program, who work in Horse Ibachakali and Mindfulness with Mustangs, came to us to do the work they do. They want to help people find peace and healing. They want to carry people to their own spiritual center, which is the place from which peace and well-being can flow forever after. And, in return, they want the people who interact with them to be respectful, compassionate, and aware. They want to be partners, teachers, and healers — not symbols, not metaphors, and not clay avatars to be shaped in whatever way a human decides they should be shaped. They are not magical unicorns. They are not dumb brutes at the mercy of terrible instincts. They are strong, independent beings who must be respected for who they are.
They are Horse Nation — and proud of it!