horse pictures - what can go wrong

At liberty with the two black ones. I am aware of the verdigris, by the way.












Thanks to Facebook and social media we can easily share the trivialities of our lives with just one or two clicks. So it comes we scroll over a ton of pictures and video snippets each day, for some we click the like-button, some we even share and others leave us wondering. Or make us grin. The latter are the topic of today's post. Those pictures and videos that somehow show that the human who made them public missed some vital details

My personal all-time favorite are the pseudo-harmony-horsey-pictures. The human wants to show how close he is to his horse, how strong the bond is they share. He huddles up against the horse's neck and smiles happily into the camera. At second glance you will notice that the horse's lower neck is strained - because the horse stares alarmed and tense right out of the picture and has no attention at all for his owner's display of affection.

If I get it right, pictures are set up like this on purpose. The photographer's assistants make some noise around the horse to make him prick his ears and stand with some tension (which supposedly looks better than a sleepy, relaxed horse). In my eyes, this somehow collides with the original intention of the shot: I mean, you want to illustrate harmony, even unity. But that is not what comes across if human and horse focus in completely different things

But it becomes even worse. Not only do some horses gape distractedly out of the picture. Some are so stimulated by the environment that the white shows in their eyes. Looking at this sort of a picture, I am almost afraid the human cuddling with the fearful horse will be run or pushed over by it any second. 



The black one in the background decided to leave the party. So I played
with the other one who was quite happy about it. All pictures: Marko

This scenario also exists in the world of horse videos. The trainer usually wants to show something and talks to the audience. In the meantime, his bored horse is looking for distraction. It nudges the trainer, pushes him with his head or nibbles on his sleeve. The human is fully concentrated on the knowledge he wants to convey, and the horse is systematically undermining his competence. As he is demonstrating that he has not learned to just stand still next to the human and wait (if you want a better example, watch this video of Warwick Schiller's). Which altogether shows quite plainly how important it is to focus on the horse and the moment. Also it emphasizes the value of defending one's personal space and not letting the horse crowd us all the time (and not crowd the horse neither of course). 

Maybe I am a callous and heartless person. But I don't necessarily have to wrap myself in the horse's neck or get a hold of his head to persuade people that I am close to my horse. I mean, I like the muzzle of a horse. It's warm and soft. But I think that our horses would be pleased if we just from time to time refrained from touching them and keep our hands off them. If we have the need to cuddle - well there are some fellow humans out there happy to be our victims. A horse is a horse. Not necessarily a pet. 

If you look at my blog, you'll hardly find pictures showing me and horses. Most of the time my project horse is the only model. The first reason why: I am simply unphotogenic. Plus: I don't want to have to discuss about the pictures (which can be hard to avoid these days). Plus: Usually the horse is more than enough to illustrate the point I want to make

PS: Looking for pictures to illustrate this article I found that the ones my boyfriend took while I was working at liberty with the two black ones were perfect. Not just one or two but almost everyone. The horses are attentive on almost every shot. I now have the theory that another horse makes work more interesting for the first horse. 

PPS: I like the pictures as the horses' focus corresponds with mine - which is actually what I wanted to transmit. Other aspects of the pictures are less optimal, of course. Exposure, background and contrast could need some fixing. 

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