Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 4(6), pp. 459 - 465
DOI: 10.13189/sa.2016.040604
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The "First" Horse

Barbara Ghiringhelli *
Department of Classical Studies, Humanities and Geography, Faculty of Arts, Tourism and Markets, IULM University, Italy


From an anthropological perspective, this research aims to shed light on the relationship between the human and the horse, but specifically on the relationship between an owner (first time horse owner) and his/her horse. It will also delve into how that relationship is affected by cultural aspects with respect to origin as well as the level of competency held by the owner/rider. What specific intercourses can exist to create a better bond between human and horse? What the ideas of our informants about horses' individuality and horses' mental capacities? And about what kind of relationships that are possible between human and horse? My research is conceived as an ethnographic study presenting an analysis of narrative data collected in twenty-five open-ended interviews with horse people (all owners/riders) who participate in different equestrian sports in two specific provinces of Italy – Umbria and Lombardia. What has emerged is the underestimation of the importance of the physical and mental characteristics of the horse at the beginning of the relationship. Elements that emerge as important factors can influence the positivity or negativity of the relationship. A greater consciousness of the subjectivity of the horse is needed in horse-buying process to better interact and develop a positive relationship with horses. Over time, owners/riders acquired a sense that horses are partners, subjects with minds and agency of their own.

Anthropology, Horse-human Relationships, Multispecies Ethnography, Mutual Becoming, Intersubjectivity

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Barbara Ghiringhelli , "The "First" Horse," Sociology and Anthropology, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 459 - 465, 2016. DOI: 10.13189/sa.2016.040604.

(b). APA Format:
Barbara Ghiringhelli (2016). The "First" Horse. Sociology and Anthropology, 4(6), 459 - 465. DOI: 10.13189/sa.2016.040604.