Creativity and Horses

If you have been following along, you know that last weekend was the Alabama Phoenix Festival. The bulk was standard Science Fiction convention: costumed guests, vendors, artist & authors alley, fan wanks on TV shows and movies, invited speakers. Dragon*Con writ small. However, the fellows behind APF have a mission to use the creative energy in fandom to inspire creativity in all areas of life. One way was to expand the festival to include such things as a LEGO display ( 🙂 ) and Dr. Osborn, the balloon artist. (Click thru to see Dr. O’s Balloons of Doom page. Full refund if you don’t find it gobsmacking.)

Since I spent three days prowling the convention for anything that could possibly combine fantasy/science fiction with horses, I also spent time pondering the intersection of creativity and horsemanship. Creativity and horses? Certainly: painting, photography, sculpture, books, poetry, even LEGO. Creativity and horsemanship? No. Allow me to restate that so I get in trouble for the right reasons.

Horsemanship is not a creative activity.

Working with horses may be fulfilling, empowering, magical, or whatever other New Age label you care to wield. But we are not creating anything new, as one does with a fistful of oils and a blank canvas (or tablet & light pen these days). Even “creative problem solving” is not as much creative as clever. Having a wide repertoire and knowing, guessing, figuring out which method to apply when. There are no new methods. At least not ones that work. Take away the snazzy marketing from the latest training guru and you find basic principles of horsemanship. If you don’t, run. As for the past, we can all point to horrible training examples in historic books on the subject. But that was the opinion of a small, literate minority who wrote books. Bench and field bifurcation is nothing new. Out in the barns and stables, illiterate, knowledgeable horsemen were quietly doing the correct thing, as they had been for thousands of years. And as the good ones still do. There is nothing new under the sun.

Horsemanship: Creative? Yeah or nay.

5 thoughts on “Creativity and Horses

  1. I have a boarder who outfits her horse in anything pink she can get her obsessive teenaged hands on. She Bedazzled the already-humiliating flymask with the hearts and lips on it, so now it sparkles in the dark (except I take it off him when it gets dark, because 12 hrs. of humiliation is enough for any gelding). She also has a pink chenille leadshank which is more suitable for wearing during a Pride Parade than for leading a horse.

    I have to say her efforts fall under the auspices of creativity, but I can’t really call it horsemanship per se.

  2. Horsemanship may not be creative but it is based on a creative act.

    Creating a bond between two living beings, horse and human, human and human, horse and horse, is an act of creativity. Before, there was nothing but the interest in having a bond. Or not, in some cases.

    After, there is a relationship which forms the basis of any horsemanship which might occur. Without the bond, horsemanship is impossible.

    The creative development of a one-on-one partnership is a life’s work in a marriage and one of the most rewarding creative processes I have known.


    As for new, when I knit, I follow a pattern with yarn like other yarn and needles like millions of other needles. And the object that is created is an object like millions of others. But that one is the first time that that one has existed. It is new.

    Marriage is not new. However, my marriage is like no other and has not been seen under the sun before my husband and I created it. It is new.

    As for clever, when you solve two problems with each other, that may be a clever solution but it is a creative solution.

  3. Hmmm, got me thinking here. Original reply was getting quite lengthy, turning it into a post on my blog. Will ping-back once I post it. Thanks for the food for thought.

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