The Happy Unemployment of Horses

From Peter Sloterdick’s Selected Exaggerations, loc 1411-1416

Incidentally, there are almost as many horses today as there were in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, but they have all been reassigned. They are almost all leisure horses, hardly any workhorses nowadays. Isn’t it an odd comment on today’s society that only horses have achieved emancipation? Humans are still work animals just as they always were, even if they are miserable jobless people, but the horses standing in German paddocks today are all horses of pleasure, post-historic horses. Children stroke them and adults admire them, and we feel very sorry for the last workhorses we see now and then at the circus and at racecourses. Some are used in psychotherapy for children with behavioural problems, but they are treated well and respectfully. All the other European horses have managed to do what humans still dream of –horses are the only ones for whom historical philosophy’s dream of a good end to history has become reality. They are the happy unemployed that evolution seemed to be moving towards. For them, the realm of freedom has been reached, they stand in their paddock, are fed, have completely forgotten the old drudgery and live out their natural mobility.

2 Comments

  1. I fully agree. I love horses and over time have come to feel it is wrong to treat them as modes of transport or slaves. Now I am a slave to and for my two beautiful thoroughbred mares. I work silly hours for the NHS so they can happily graze in a field with free access to open stables. Dental care once a year. I trim their hooves myself. They don’t have a worry in the world. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Seeing them so calm and contented makes me happy too. Their wild spirits invigorate. Ride them? Never. Respect them? Akways

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