Saturday, May 31, 2008
Horses in New York
I'm in the US for a couple of weeks to see my son graduate from Harvard Business School and just to visit with my daughter, another grad student at NYU, in New York. One of the items on the itinerary of this trip has been a trip to the American Natural History Museum on Central Park West to see their exhibition The Horse. A couple of months ago I received an email from one of the curators of the exhibit asking if they could use my photo, The Eighth Generation, the picture here of Mme. Wegdan el Barbary and her Arab mare Bagdada with Bagdada's filly. The filly is now a mare herself, since I took the photo in 2005. Unfortunately, we couldn't take any photographs inside the exhibition and they are not going to print a catalogue, so I will frame the photo for Dany when I get back.
The exhibit is delightful, including equine skeletons and physical information along with examples of saddles and bridles from history and different ethnic groups and information on the activities of horses and humans throughout history. Outside in the park surrounding the museum there are some fiberglass casts of life-sized horses that have been decorated by artists. It's a welcome break for me as I'm missing my equine and canine crew here in the Big Apple.
Being a big city, New York doesn't have that much space for horses, but they do have the carriage horses in the park. My daughter and I took about half an hour the other day opposite the Plaza Hotel to do a good inspection of them, as every so often we hear cries about the "abuse" of these horses. After extended conversations with the horses and much petting and hand nuzzling, I feel pretty confident to confirm that these horses are in no way abused. All that we saw bordered a bit on fat, as a matter of fact, with well-trimmed feet and properly fitting harnesses.
If some people think that having to pull a carriage through a shady park during the day is abuse, well, they should probably try standing around in a walk-in closet all day with nothing to do. The fact is that when the working conditions are reasonable, horses would prefer working to not working. It's much more interesting.
copyright 2008 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani