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Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: Neville Fowler - 25 Feb 2002
Did not our Lord and Saviour once ride on a donkey?
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
Fools! For I also had my hour,
One far fierce hour and sweet;
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.
G. K. Chesterton.
I might have the punctuation a bit wrong - I quote from memory.
We had four donkeys for a long time. They are beautiful creatures - horses ears are so ridiculously small by comparison. The bray is a bit unmusical it is true, but when they are happy they don't often do that. They do it a lot if they are lonely or distressed.
One of the first major influences on me was that wonderful story 'Black Beauty', by Anna Sewell. I don't mean the spoiled and plagiarised versions that have been made into kids films and cartoons - we never had such rubbish when I was a child 50+ years ago (here comes the old man again - all together - ahhhh!). We had the book. And it touched me so much and made me love horses and other creatures and hate cruelty. But I don't think Anna would ever have suggested that horses should never be ridden, carefully and kindly, by a loving owner.
I do not think man and the animals were meant to live in such isolation from each other as some seem to think. They were meant for relationship. God brought the animals to Adam to be named - remember? We name our babies, don't give them numbers! That is because we love them and expect to have a long or permanent relationship with them. We name pets for much the same reason. When 20 cows was a large herd we named the cows and knew their characters and temperaments - now they have 100s and 1000s and they just have numbers - on an ear tag and in the computer.
In the new earth we will relate to the animals. The horses might be quite happy for us to ride on them even. They will not need cruel bits and uncomfortable harness.
I am opposed to horse racing, steeple chasing, hunting with horses and hounds, all cruel exploitation for so called sport, which is mainly to do with mammon.
To go so far as to say all riding is wrong (sin?) seems way out to me.
Did our Lord sin to ride the ass?
Let's try to keep sane, shall we?!
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