chapter  10
17 Pages

Moving (with)in affect

Horses, people, and tolerance
ByLynda Birke, Jo Hockenhull

This chapter draws on various studies of human-animal relationships in particular, studies of humans and horses. It specifically focuses on horses and how our understandings of these animals/ behaviour play out in affective relations with them. Within human-animal studies literature, there has been considerable emphasis on mutuality between us and other animals. Relationships between us and companion animals necessarily involve learning to understand the behaviour of the other, if only partially. For companion animals, those important relationships often include humans. The idea of animals as 'helpers' is widespread in our culture, occurring in many contexts, from representations of lab animals, portrayed in advertisements as 'helping' medical progress, to 'helpful' animals in cartoons and folk stories, to stories of animals who go out of their way to assist their human. The twin tropes of 'wild animal within', who might be held in check, and 'helper/friend', who can work alongside, undoubtedly configure our affective relations with companion animals.