You’ve tried to explain why you love horses, but these people did it better.
There is something magical about horses. If you spend any amount of time with them this becomes quickly apparent, yet it’s a sensation that is often difficult to put into words.
What sets them apart from other animals? How are they so intuitive? Why do they touch our hearts so deeply?
Explaining the fundamental magic of horses is a large undertaking. Luckily, a number of talented writers through the centuries have taken on this same task, and while these quotes may not entirely do the horse justice, these writers may have gotten closer than anyone else ever has.
1. “When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.” – William Shakespeare
Trust Shakespeare to say it well. This famous line from “Henry V” is quoted often among horse people, probably because it is a perfect description of their majesty.
2. “God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses.” – R.B. Cunninghame Graham
For horse lovers, this quote rings true. Can we imagine a life without horses and the essential joy they bring? Probably not. Do we want to spend an eternity that way? Definitely not.
It’s hard enough missing one barn weekend when we have the flu.
3. “Then they worry, because no matter how brilliantly they perform their jobs, success comes down to the horses, and Thoroughbreds are anarchists at heart.” – Nan Mooney
All equestrians can identify with the unpredictable nature of horses Nan Mooney wrote about in the Thoroughbred racing book, “My Racing Heart.”
The horse life is a life of the highest highs and lowest lows; you never know which is coming next, and horses have a way of spoiling even the most carefully laid plans. Why do we love them again? Oh, right, the beauty.
4. “Look back at our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present day’s strength to its source;
And you’ll find that man’s pathway to glory
Is strewn with the bones of the horse.”
– Author Unknown
We owe horses a lot, and this quote is a tribute to all they have done for man since our partnership began over 3,000 years ago.
They have served as everything from transportation to fellow freedom fighters, and there’s little doubt that if we hadn’t found each other, civilization would look a lot different today.
5. “A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it…” – Author Unknown
There is a belief in the horse world that, at some point in their life, each rider will be blessed with that one special horse.
That doesn’t mean they won’t know others that teach or touch them in some way, but most riders can point to the one horse that did more than just change their life. As the quote says, that one lovely horse defined it.
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6. “It is the horse’s gift to connect us with Heaven and our own footsteps.” – Ronni Sweet
Horses are spiritual beings, perhaps more so than any other animal, and, as this quote describes, they have a unique ability to carry us where we want to be in our own spiritual lives if we let them.
7. “A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot.” – John Steinbeck
Another ode to horses and their special spiritual nature, this quote says what horse people are always thinking — we are stronger when we’re sitting upon their backs.
8. “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France
While not specific to horses, this quote describes how horse lovers feel about those who “just don’t understand.”
9. “Animals were once, for all of us, teachers. They instructed us in ways of being and perceiving that extended our imaginations, that were models for additional possibilities.” – Joan McIntyre
Again, this quote may not be directed solely at horses, but it rings true for our interactions with them.
If animals are teachers, horses are the masters, showing us how to be strong, quiet, brave, honest, and patient and reminding us of these things over and over when we forget.
10. “There are unknown worlds of knowledge in brutes; and whenever you mark a horse, or a dog, with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure he is an Aristotle or a Kant, tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries in man. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses. They see through us at a glance. And after all, what is a horse but a species of four-footed dumb man, in a leathern overall, who happens to live upon oats, and toils for his masters, half-requited or abused, like the biped hewers of wood and drawers of water? But there is a touch of divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should forever exempt him from indignities. As for those majestic, magisterial truck-horses of the docks, I would as soon think of striking a judge on the bench, as to lay violent hand upon their holy hides.” – Herman Melville
Horses as philosophers? It may sound far-fetched to the uninitiated, but those who build their lives around them are already running home to grab their pen and paper to take notes. Melville got it right.
11. “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” –Job 12: 7-8
This Bible verse doesn’t mention horses specifically (though there are a number of others that do) but it makes a very interesting point: that animals have things to teach us, and ways to get those messages across.
12. “For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” – Henry Beston
It’s probably safe to say that most horse lovers believe that “horses are better than people.”
It’s touted jokingly when they have just been disappointed by a fellow human, but there is a very real possibility that equestrians actually believe it, and this quote gets to the heart of why.
13. “Master said God had given men reason by which they could find out things for themselves, but he had given animals knowledge which did not depend on reason and which was much more prompt and perfect in its way, and by which they had often saved the lives of men. John had many stories to tell of dogs and horses and the wonderful things they had done. He thought people did not value their animals half enough, nor make friends with them as they ought to do.” – Anna Sewell
Any list of horse quotes would be remiss without an excerpt from what is perhaps the most beloved horse book of all time, Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty.”
The story’s narrator is a horse named Beauty, and he is spot on with his assessment of the special gifts horses possess.
14. “Somewhere…somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some Paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.”
– Stanley Harrison
Losing a horse is one of the hardest things a horseman can experience, and this quote has comforted many through their loss.
Who wouldn’t want to imagine their special friends living out their eternity in green pastures? It’s a beautiful thought.
15. “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan. The life of a horse, often half our own, seems endless until one day. That day has come and gone for me, and I am once again within a somewhat smaller circle.” – Irving Townsend
The only problem with horses is that they don’t live as long as people do. This beautiful quote pays homage to that fact, but also gives a nod to the fact that we choose this life anyway, sometimes over and over.
Because it’s worth it, every time.
16. “…for there is no other feeling in the world to compare with it if one loves a great horse. It gives a thrill that nothing else ever can. It cannot be put into words, because words cannot express it.” – Samuel Riddle
To love a great horse is to touch something beyond words. Samuel Riddle would know, as he owned a number of them, including the great Man o’ War and Triple Crown winner War Admiral.
17. “In the end, we don’t know what horses can do. We only know that when, over the past thousands of years, we have asked something more of them, at least some of them have readily supplied it.” – Jane Smiley
From wild horses to cowboys riding horses to equestrians riding dressage, there is something about horses and horse sense that is just incredible.
There is a lot we know about horses, but perhaps the best thing about them is that there is so much we don’t know. And yet, when we ask something new of them, they keep rising to the occasion, again and again.
That may be the most magical thing of all.
What’s your favorite horse quote? Tell us in the comments below.
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