America and horses

Symbolism-for-beginners_1260_999_80Nell Boeschenstein at The Morning News:

For as long as humans and horses have coexisted, humans have looked at horses and seen in them that ineffable quality we associate with the things we have lumped into a broad box labeled “Beautiful Things,” along with mountain ranges, the night sky, flowers in bloom, and the female form. The human-horse relationship is so much more intimate than the human-cow or human-chicken or human-sheep relationship. These are animals we ride, and when riding them we have been both mistaken for and mythologized as one and the same being. I don’t need to belabor how little man might have accomplished and how much more slowly he would have done it without the horse. The way we feel about the horse is more like how we feel about dogs than how we feel about stock animals.

Yet as urban dog and cat ownership skyrocketed in the United States between 1920 and 1940, so did meat-processing plants supplying demand for pet food with horsemeat. About 200 such meat plants opened during those decades, even as horses were publicly beloved on a scale we can hardly imagine from today’s perspective. There were the YA novels, yes. There was also Seabiscuit running across headlines and between 1930 and 1948, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, and Citation won the Triple Crown in an impressive string, a feat only one American Thoroughbred had managed before. Only four have managed it since; the last one, Affirmed, was in 1978.

more here.