The horse-man (not woman) is both metaphor and lived relationship, illuminating the Western dominator ecocultural identity that actively denies animal sentience and physical autonomy. In Chapter 5 of the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity, Bridgeman explores how the horse-man relationship has played a central symbolic and literal role throughout Western civilization, with the horse’s body serving as a site both of representation and acting-out of the domination of gendered selves and othered animals according to the chain-of-being hierarchy originating with Plato. The relationship has remained core to the dominator identity for thousands of years, including during waves of colonization and recent assertions of white racial supremacy. By critically examining the relationships rendered by the horse-man metaphor, Bridgeman advocates for the practice of a loving ecocultural identity that replaces domination with respect within human relations with other species.
Keywords: domination, domestication, husbandry, pastoralism, patriarchy, hierarchy, Western prehistory, Minoans, Golden Age, universal language, Indo-europeans, Greece, Athens, Parthenon, phallocracy, Plato, Chain-of-being hierarchy, Animals, horses, horse-man, autonomy, misothery, sentience, slavery, United States, partnership society, animal sentience, animal, Chain-of-being hierarchy