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Excuse me, horses are what?

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On Wednesday June 8, an article was published on Jalopnik, a daily automobile news and gossip site, titled "Horses Are Pointless."
Naturally, this peaked my interest as a horse person, so I clicked and read.
The author, who should have stuck to writing about cars, proceeds to "let you know what the experience is like, from someone who's been around the block a few times with the idiotic beasts."
He then goes on to discuss how horses smell "like rancid crap," how it is impossible to gain control of "an animal that can easily throw you off its back and stomp you to a bloody, screaming death," and how "it's an animal that is so easily spooked by the outside world that it wears blinders so that it doesn't get startled by things like falling twigs, sharp gusts of wind," and so on.
After that the author then says "The intelligence of the average horse ranks somewhere between a dying potted plant and a 10-year-old bag of rock salt."
I've got a horse that can open a locked stall door to get a full feed bucket that would resent that statement.
He then gives a short how to on the operating of the "top-heavy behemoth." He says to "pull the reigns,” note, he used the wrong variation of the word, it should be reins, "attached to its head in the direction you want to go, then kick it in the ribs when you want it to go faster and pull back when you want it to stop."
After an adjective and hate fueled rant he concludes by saying, "If horses disappeared tomorrow, the world would be no different. They wouldn't be missed, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong."
Well, take my cowboy hat and call me wrong!
Apparently, this author feels after his few supervised trail rides on dead broke horses, he's now an expert on all things equine.
Allow me to set the record straight.
Despite me not at all being an expert, I have been around horses half of my life and have experience training horses. Which, I repeat, does NOT make me an expert, just a tad bit more knowledgeable than our anti-equine friend on Jalopnik.
First, I would like to address the smell. While smell is a completely subjective sense, I don't think I have ever met someone who hated the smell of a horse that much. I wouldn't exactly want the smell made into a candle but it's not that bad. Think of is as “earthy.”
In regards to the author's claims of the "behemoth" being impossible to control, I think he's the out of control one. It's not about complete control it's about communicating to your animal what you want it to do and them understanding. Which brings me to his operating instructions.
That is not at all how it works. Yes, you do use the reins and your legs but it is all about pressure and release. Horses naturally move away from pressure, so when you apply pressure to the reins or the sides of the horse it naturally moves away into the direction you're pointing it. If pressure is applied in the wrong way or there are multiple different places of pressure it can be confusing to the horse. This can cause miscommunication, which in turn, causes the instructions to not be carried out as smoothly or at all like the rider had hoped.
Horses don't often wear blinders either. Blinders are most often used on horses that are racing or pulling wagons or carriages. Certainly some horses are easily spooked by things we think are silly but we often forget that horses see and hear things very differently than us.
Horses have dichromatic vision, which means they see less colors than we do because they only have two cones types in their retina while humans, who are trichromatic, have three types of cones. Horses see in shades and not as many different colors as we do.
Hearing is arguably the horse's most keen sense. They have 10 muscles specifically to move their ears 180 degrees. They can also hear above and below a human's range of hearing.
When a horse hears a noise, they turn their ear(s) to hear it and then establish whether or not it's a threat and whether or not to run.
They have almost perfected the fight or flight instinct. For example, if a tree branch cracks and falls down behind a horse, they aren't going to take the time to stop, and turn around to see what happened, especially if there is a rider on them pointing them where they should go. They're going to spook. But you know what, if I hear a noise but can't see it, I am going to spook, too!
Animals of all species rely on instinct and have for millions of years. Often times people will call animals dumb because they seem scared or sometimes not very smart, when in actuality it's just instinctual. A horse runs from a noise because its instincts tell it an unidentified noise is danger. A herd of sheep will follow one sheep because they know they are safer in numbers. Pigs don't wallow in the dirt because they are dirty, they do it be cause they know it protects them from the sun.
This author's hatred and obvious dislike for horses is uneducated. While he in entitled to his opinion, it is a crudely formed one.
He claims, "If horses disappeared tomorrow, the world would be no different." Well, I am sure the people who use horses to work the cattle that feed grumpy people like you would disagree.
Or the parents whose special needs children use horses as therapy animals would disagree.
Or the girl who has low self-esteem and feels good about herself after a good horseback riding lesson once a week would disagree.
Or the lady who has raised her horse from a bottle, I'm sure she would disagree.
Horses may not be the most productive member of our animal society, like cattle or hogs, but they've grown in the hearts and minds of the American people. From Budweiser to the Derby, the world wouldn't be the same without horses.