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Academic Research

Horses and Religion - The Equine Connection

From ancient Scythians to modern Scientologists the horse has influenced religious events for 12,000 years.

The march of humanity, springing as it does from an infinite multitude of individual wills, is continuous. As each generation of humanity struggles to cope with the transient nature of our existence and the uncertainty of our future, doubts stir and fearful possibilities emerge that reveal a frightening and eternal unknown.

In an effort to understand the incomprehensible, religious beliefs became deeply implanted convictions which often dispersed contradictory messages. Some focused on external practice and ceremony, while others encouraged the search for the sublime.

Thus the endless variety of the human mind encouraged the creation of a cornucopia of religious practices, all of which link earthly happenings to heavenly influences. Each offered the true path through life. Each in turn exerted various degrees of influence on historical events. Many faded away. A few continue to endure.

What appears to have been overlooked is the role the horse played in the development of humanity’s collective religious experience. Throughout history the horse has provided a pleasant and comforting presence in diverse religions. This extraordinary animal has been deemed sacred, has carried gods, has foretold the future, has invoked the spirits and been described in numerous holy texts.

In an effort to encourage an understanding of the horse’s influence on humanity’s search for spirituality, the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation has published a study containing more than sixty visual examples of horse-religious affiliation.

Ranging from Africa to Zoroaster, the study explains how divinities, messiahs, prophets, priests, pharaohs and peasants all shared one common thread throughout the flow of time – their uninterrupted love of the horse.

"Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Hopkins, Hidalgo, and Hollywood," by Elizabeth Roetman.  This paper is a brief discussion involving the author's original research, and is adapted from her Thesis presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for her degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology. 

Chariots discovered in Bulgaria reveal Ancient SecretsThrilling discoveries in Bulgaria have disclosed two well-preserved chariots, as well as clues about the horses that drew them into battle. The noted Bulgarian archaeologist, Veselin Ignatov, first shared news of his findings with The Guild’s friends at Archaeology magazine. That well-written article led to The Guild making direct contact with Professor Ignatov, who in turn asked the LRGAF to broadcast news regarding his country’s urgent need to protect these priceless equestrian treasures from looters.

Gill Suttle writes about a fascinating Travellers' Conference at University of KentKent University’s new Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century enjoyed a twenty-first century baptism over the 25th - 26th May 2007, when more than sixty people from all walks of life assembled to celebrate their varying interests in the Middle East and Arab Horses.

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