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Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: Kathleen Eickwort - 22 April 2002
Have any of you read J Allen Boone's classic Kinship with all Life? There is a sequel, "Adventures in Kinship with All Life," published by Tree of Life publications. It has a chapter in it on horseback riding, particularly as practiced bareback by Native Americans and Bedouins who live with and understand their horses. He says, "As we vocally interview each rider and silently interview each horse..we come upon many more illuminating facts having to do with the science and art of right relations. One of the important truths to come out of this is the fact that each of those two-leggers and four-leggers is doing his best to live in accord with the golden rule. Each is actually "doing unto the other" as he would like the other to "do unto him." I commend this chapter 17 of this book to you...Boone is very thoughtful.
As a Christian, and a member of the clergy, I do have a problem with trying to be "more ethical" than Jesus. He did ride on a donkey (an unbroken one too, who was apparently calmed even in the midst of a shouting crowd by the peace emanating from His spirit and body), and who is described in Revelation not only as the Lamb, but as the Word riding on a white horse, in heaven.
Horses are natural athletes and do require exercise for their well-being. Of course I do not condone any kind of cruelty in training, care or riding. Anna Sewell, who wrote Black Beauty shows up on my family tree, and like myself, suffered from chronic illness. I think this made her more sensitive to animal suffering.
Peace and all good,
(Rev.) Kathleen Eickwort, SBC
Sisters of Brigit and Clare
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