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Riding on Horses’ Wings

Reimagining Today’s Horse for Tomorrow’s World

Janet Bubar Rich

The bond between humans and horses is deep. For humans, horses provide freedom. Riding on horses and horse-drawn chariots or carts has allowed humans to go farther and faster than they could on their own. Horses (now high-horsepower cars) are our wings. As a result, their images show up in our dreams and our personal and cultural stories as symbols not only of freedom, but of power, swiftness, nobility, and beauty. Equine images empower us to ride on inner journeys, explore the mysteries of the soul, and carry the human spirit forward. In bringing to life the horse tales of many cultures throughout the ages, Riding on Horses’ Wings is as whimsical and magical as it is inspiring. From the white-winged Pegasus and part-human Centaurs in ancient Greek myths, Epona in ancient Celtic lore, the eight-legged Sleipnir in Nordic tales, and Kanthaka in Buddhist lore, to the many horses in Native American mythologies and today’s literary and fine arts, movies, YouTube videos, and beyond, horses touch our hearts and elevate our imaginations. In this book, Janet Bubar Rich taps into our love of horses and horse tales, inspiring us all to take life by the reins, make the changes needed to improve our lives, and create sustainable futures for horses, humans, and other species on earth, our home.


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I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh it was. My very heart leapt with the sound. —Nathaniel Hawthorne To the horses romping in the fields near my home, thank you for bring- ing me back to the natural world. Your beauty ever-majestic and your frolicking ever-engaging give this work meaning. In humility, I thank you. To the storytellers, mythmakers, artists, poets, authors, play- wrights, filmmakers, composers, and others across time and place who bring us transcendental blue horses, winged horses, and prisms and glasses through which to see horses and ourselves from many angles as we befriend horses and ride them to the sandcastles of our dreams, thank you for expanding our vision, sensibilities, and soulful journeys. With appreciation, I would like to acknowledge and extend my thanks to the following for their contributions: xvi riding on horses’ wings • To those whose writings about horses, horse tales, and equine images have informed this work; • To Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, and professors and friends at Pacifica Graduate Institute, for demonstrating integrity and soulfulness in their work and lives in ways that have influenced my thinking and this work; • To my publisher, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., with special thanks to Michelle Salyga, Acquisitions Editor; Stephen Mazur, Editorial Assistant; and Jackie Pavlovic, Production Supervisor; • To photographer Debbie Walton, for the back cover photo; • To Catherine Ann Jones, author of The Way of Story and Heal Your Self with Writing, for reading my manuscript midstream and of- fering helpful comments;...

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