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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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When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk; he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it. —William Shakespeare (Henry V, Act III)1

Sitting amidst a herd of cars in the hot afternoon on our way into West L.A., I scratch my head in wonder: How did we get here? I know we arrived at this location by driving a short distance from our neighborhood. I mean: How did our civilization get to this point in which we each buy a car, gas it up, and drive (often one person per vehicle) straight into a traffic jam?

Suddenly it occurs to me: It all started with a horse and a human’s passion to ride. The distance from that moment in history to this did not take long. It simply required humankind’s imaginative technological advancements. Although traffic jams in urban environments across the world are getting worse, increasing the time consumed in getting to our destinations, we each continue to mount our high-horsepower vehicles with the same passion our forebears honored and rode their horses. ← xiii | xiv →

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