What incited the passion? What stokes the flame?
Why do I, an otherwise reasonable, responsible adult person who isn't given to flights of fancy, spend my time and my money and my energy on a wildly impractical, giant, fragile flight animal?
I've always just assumed it was correlated with being a marginalized member of society, infatuated with mastering the power and nobility and elegance of horses. Or something.
Except see, anyone who spends more than a couple hours around horses knows that those reasons have precious little to do with reality. Nothing takes the shine off abstract ideas of "nobility" like a horse spooking at it's own fart.
They see through a pretender.
They speak a simple language that has no words, but holds all the meaning in the world.
If we let them, they will teach us.
That's not to assign magical qualities to a barnyard animal. Horses are biologically a prey animal. They stay alive by being aware of what passes around them, living in the moment, understanding the universal language of living creatures, and reacting appropriately.
In a world where most of us live in highly artificial environments and never need to interact with a another species unless we actively seek it out, horses bring a psychological grounding. No hiding behind a keyboard or burying our meaning in words--we speak a common language where every muscle twitch is a unique volume. It goes beyond mechanically demanding obedience in a series of schooling exercises.
Each horse is an individual and the dialect can vary from speaker to speaker, but the elements are the same. That's why books on horsemanship written thousands of years ago still carry weight today. Humans might be taller, horses more specially bred, but neither one has really changed.
Without uttering a syllable, a horse speaks truth about our deepest selves.
That clarity demands that we reflect on who we are.
The best of them teach us to be the best version of ourselves.
For me, that's why.