“I think one who knows how to govern the empire should not do so”
– Chuang Tzu, c.300-400BC-
Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels over the praries. Such is the real nature of horses. Palatial dwellings are of no use to them.
One day Poh Loh appeared saying, “I understand the management of horses”.
So he branded them, and clipped them, and paired their hoofs, and put halters on them, tying up their heads and shackling their feet, and keeping them in stables, with the result that two or three in every ten died. Then he kept the hungry and thristy, trotting them and galloping them, and grooming them and trimming them, with the misery of tasselled bridle before, and the fear of the knotted whip behind, until more than half of them were dead.
The potter says, “I can do what I want with clay. If I want it round I use compasses; rectangular, a square.”
The carpenter says, “I can do what I will with wood. If I want it curved I use an arc; if straight, a line.”
But on what grounds can we think that the natures of clay and wood desire this application of compasses and square, of arc and line? Nevertheless, every age extols Poh Loh for his skill in managing horses, and potters and carpenters for their skill with clay and wood …
Horses live on dry land, eat grass and drink water. When pleased, they rub their necks together. When angry, they turn round and kick up their heels at each other. Thus far only do their natural dispositions carry them. But bridled and bitted, with a plate of metal on their foreheads, they learn to cast vicious looks, to turn the head to bite, to resist, to get the bit out of the mouth or the bridle into it. And thus their natures become depraved – the fault of Poh Loh.
Chuang Tzu, c. 300 -400BC, translated by Herbert Giles
Horses’ Hooves tranlated by Lin Yutang
Legge, James (1891). The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Taoism, Part I. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New York: Dover Publications
Giles, Herbert Allen (1926). Chuang Tzǔ: Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer. New York: AMS Press
You can easily share pages or posts by clicking the plug-ins below. Comments are a great way to share your thoughts. Gracias!
Quick-link to some of our posts:
- [Equus Ethogram Project] – Affiliative behavior in Equus caballus – Intro
- The Spectrum of Behavior
- [FSW Pottokas] Introducción al estudio de la etología con caballos –Victor Ros y Lucy Rees
- [FSW Pottokas] Introduction to ethology and horses – Victor Ros & Lucy Rees
- A review of horsemanship in early literature:Hints on Horsemanship, to a Nephew and Niece
- A review of horsemanship in early literature: “The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild and Vicious Horses”
- Absolute limits to population growth V – introducing variation
- Lichen licking in feral Pottokas
- Equus Ethogram Project
- [FSW] Recomendación para equipaje
- PILOPHAGIA – hair-bivory in horses
- [FSW Pottokas] Introduction to ethology and horses – Lucy Rees & Victor Ros
- [FSW Pottokas] Introducción al estudio de la etología con caballos – Lucy Rees & Victor Ros
- Lucy Rees en Equilibre 2013
- On eagles and horses
- Altanero and the fly catcher
- Caging horses
- Koniks at Oostvaardersplassen
- Absolute limits to population growth I – detecting hyperbole
- Feral horses
- Jenofonte – On horsemanship (Castellano)
- Clever horses – Part II
- Clever horses | Part III
- Group specific behavior as a basis for equine culture – Part 1
- The art of over-simplifying an over-simplification!
- Tarpan, A “Heck” of a story.
- Sufi Story – Blind Men & Elephant
- Los caballos tienen cascos. Chuang Tzu
- Horses have hoofs. Chuang Tzu
- Horse behavior: generalisations from observations of one population?