EQUINE JOURNEYS … by Hossein Amirsadeghi

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Mare and foal grazing in Dartmoor National Park in Devon which contains the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the UK suggesting a once strong resident p 750x440 - EQUINE JOURNEYS ... by Hossein Amirsadeghi

Mare and foal grazing in Dartmoor National Park in Devon which contains the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the UK suggesting a once strong resident p 150x100 - EQUINE JOURNEYS ... by Hossein AmirsadeghiHuman history has been trail-blazed on the back of the horse, humanity’s most important companion in the animal kingdom. The route of ideas and the movement of peoples across civilisations are predicated on the horse – it’s simple really. Where once battles were won and empires lost because of the quality of horses, today’s horse is no longer of industrial or agricultural benefit to human beings. It has evolved in other directions, however, transformed for sport at the public level, and for personal indulgence in search of excellence at the private one.

Sir Mark Prescott reviewing the performance of his horses on Warren Hill in early morning spring mist. 300x200 - EQUINE JOURNEYS ... by Hossein Amirsadeghi
Sir Mark Prescott reviewing the performance of his horses on Warren Hill in early morning spring mist.

Language and culture have spread on horseback too. Art, literature and poetry have glorified in the horse. The freedom embodied in riding at speed, the skills and challenges of horsemanship, the tenacity involved in training a wild horse, have contributed to myth and legend in all societies. While the horse may have been domesticated, tamed and corralled, humanity has fashioned some of its own more fanciful characteristics on the equine’s noble and loyal personality and freedom.

Sir Humphry Wakefield and his Friesian called Barack O’Bouncer bred at his own stables in the gardens of Chillingham Castle 200x300 - EQUINE JOURNEYS ... by Hossein AmirsadeghiLegend, myth, literature, poetry and art have symbolically elevated Equus caballus beyond mere figurative or narrative representation. Forget the aesthetic pleasure surrounding the vision of a prize stallion, the flutter of emotions engendered by a day spent at the races or indulging humanity’s penchant for gambling, from which has arisen today’s multi-billion-pound racing empires.

 

Leave aside the fifty million or hundred million, guineas people pay for thoroughbreds in the case of the horse world and drive through England’s green and pleasant land during spring, summer, autumn and even winter. Dare to not be stopped in your tracks by the sight of horses grazing in a field beneath crimson sunsets; glimpsed over the crest of a hill shadowed by the mighty summer sun; encountered of an afternoon with a hacker riding down some lonely country lane mottled with splashes of white light filtering through beech, birch, lime, chestnut or majestic English oaks. Winter presents horses draped in blankets grazing in the sullen cold, drawn to the human presence each time you happen to stop for a chat. Watch a champion eventer take a death-defying leap over a high fence while riding through rough countryside. See a young woman jump over the moon at Badminton, or glimpse a jockey preening in outrageously colourful attire, having won a race on one or other of the sixty courses scattered across Britain, from Perth in Scotland to Newton Abbot in Devon. Any of these experiences inspire passion to spare. They all inspired me during my 9,000-mile journey making Equine Journeys.

Jessie Drea at her family home and horse farm near Haywards Heath 200x300 - EQUINE JOURNEYS ... by Hossein Amirsadeghi
Jessie Drea at her family home and horse farm near Haywards Heath

Every journey has both a beginning and an ending. Yet my adventures in exploring creativity’s bounds while extending the reach of the enigmatic in visual and narrative form seem to know no beginnings or endings. Hence Equine Journeys: The British Horse World, a book dedicated to the beauty of Equus and Britain’s horse environment.

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