An American church is promising gay men they will be cured of their homosexuality if they stroke horses.
The Cowboy Church of Virginia, led by chief pastor Raymond Bell, believes homosexuality and other ‘addictions’ can be cured by Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
Horse therapy, in the right hands, can be used to help overcome fears, develop communication skills, and is generally beneficial to mental health.
President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly over foreign policy here Monday night, with the president arguing assertively that Romney has lacked the consistency or clarity of vision to lead the country while the Republican nominee charged that Obama has been weak and ineffective in the face of growing turmoil in the world.
The two candidates differed most sharply over the president’s handling of the uprisings in the Middle East, his efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and his treatment of Israel. But often they seemed to find common ground on some of the policies the administration is pursuing.
With the debates over, the two candidates and their campaigns now begin a two-week sprint to Election Day. The campaigns will be focused on a relative handful of states with two objectives: winning over the few remaining undecided voters with a last barrage of television ads and intensifying efforts to get their identified supporters to the polls — either during early voting periods or on Nov. 6.
The focus of the last of their three debates was supposed to be foreign policy, but both Romney and Obama used their time to talk about the issues most important to voters: jobs, the economy and the budget. They talked about the auto bailout, school class sizes and Romney’s tax plan. At several points, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who served as moderator, tried to bring them back to foreign affairs and national security, but sometimes to no avail.
I was a girl on a horse.
Before we got our horse, my twin sister and I would have given our kingdom (or anyhow, one of our dolls) for a horse. Oh, for a horse.
Her name was Virginia. She was a large sorrel mare, a draft horse. She’d reached a certain point in her career, the point of refusing to work. The neighbors on the neighboring farm saddled with this stubborn old good-for-nothing gave her to us. (This took place during the 1950s, the Age of the Tractor, but these neighbors worked their horses.)
Virginia was strong, powerful, and beautiful. She cost us zilch to feed. (One horse added to 100 cows costs nothing.) She came with her tack. Was she happy to be ours? Of a summer evening, we’d call to her—grazing out in the pasture—and she would lift her head and point her ears in our direction and nicker.
Once when I was 12, Virginia and I were cantering down an old logging road. Virginia suddenly came to a full halt. I almost flew over her head. Five feet in front of us stood a stag with huge antlers—a white-tailed deer. He was stopped in his tracks, head held high. The standoff persisted for motionless minutes until—thinking horse and stag might fight—I shooed the stag away.
What is a horse? Kingdom: Animal. Phylum: Chordate. Class: Mammal. Order: Perissodactyl—an ungulate, a hoofed mammal, with an odd number of toes. Yes, that hoof is a single toe (evolved from three fused toes), and yes, the hoof the farrier trims is a toenail. Perissodactyls are distinct from even-toed ungulates such as cattle and deer. Family: Equidae. Genus and species: Equus caballus. All breeds of horses and ponies, whether domesticated or wild, belong to the same species.
With the New Year release of Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse Gervase Phillips explores the true story of the horses and mules that served the British army during the First World War.
Pack horses carrying ammunition in Flanders, from ‘The Horse and the War’ by Captain Lionel Edwards, published by Country Life in 1918.
Michael Morpurgo’s popular novel War Horse (1982) has rightly been referred to as ‘the Black Beauty of the Great War’. Like Anna Sewell’s classic of 1877, the story unfolds from the perspective of the horse, a device that allows the author to explore the world of those voiceless but sentient creatures and invites us to reflect upon both the misery they have suffered at our hands and the compelling call of compassion that can transcend the boundaries of ‘human’ and ‘animal’. Morpurgo’s tale of the Devon horse Joey, serving on the killing fields of the Western Front and followed there by Albert, the young farm boy from whom he had been separated in 1914, has already made the leap successfully to the stage. Now Joey gallops onto the big screen, courtesy of the greatest wizard of modern cinema, Steven Spielberg. The movie version of War Horse is released in British cinemas this month. With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War approaching in 2014, the film is a timely reminder of the service of horses and mules during that conflict and a call to historians to follow in the wake of novelists and do justice to the true story of equine sacrifice in Flanders’ field.
It is likely that the film will be criticised as ‘sentimental’, especially given the involvement of Spielberg, whose ability to tug heartstrings is familiar to everyone who has seen his 1982 hit ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. Furthermore the emphasis on taking the viewpoint of the horse, alongside the central premise of a friendship between that beast and a human, might be dismissed by some as an anthropomorphic conceit unworthy of serious academic attention. We should accept neither charge. ‘Sentimentality’ towards animals is, in itself, a fascinating and significant historical phenomenon. Black Beauty was indicative of a broad change in attitudes towards animals in Victorian society, reflecting the idea that they were not merely ‘soulless automatons’, but had a manifest capacity for suffering that demanded an ethical response from humans. Thus in one of the most respected textbooks of the time, Sir F. W. Fitzwygram’s Horses and Stables (1901), the author explicitly posited the notion of ‘an animal soul’ and commented:
It is impossible for a man of average sensibility to observe closely and to note the painful expression and the intelligence of these creatures … to witness their sufferings [and] the brutal treatment which they too often meet from ignorant and cruel men; it is impossible for him to see these things without sorrow, without endeavouring to alleviate their agony …
Sentiment was evident, too, in the horrified reaction of the British public to the suffering of horses during the Second Boer War. At the conclusion of the conflict in 1902 the Remount Department had supplied 520,000 horses and 150,000 mules to Imperial forces in South Africa. These were carelessly transported, poorly acclimatised, starved, overworked and overloaded. Unsurprisingly 350,000 of the horses and 50,000 of the mules perished. The British public would brook no repetition of this callousness. During the First World War the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would oversee many aspects of the army’s treatment of horses and provide voluntary ambulances, with trained staff, to assist the Army Veterinary Corps in France. ‘Sentimentality’ was, and is, an appropriate response to animal suffering.