Killer Horses Author Addresses Cryptomundo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 13th, 2011

Deadly Equines

The author of the book has written directly to readers at Cryptomundo who commented on our first posting. Here is the response:

Hi, CuChullaine O’Reilly, author of ‘Deadly Equines’ here.

Let me begin by addressing the publication date.

In fact the book was not published on April 1st. It did not appear until several months later, as important last minute evidence delayed the release. This included discovering that in 1939 a German expedition to Tibet filmed horses being fed blood, evidence from the Lord Chamberlain of Bhutan that horses belonging to the king of country ate yak meat and tiger’s fat, and an offer by Kazakh tribesmen to sell a meat-eating horse to a modern explorer. So whereas it would be fun to think that Flicka had pulled an April’s Fool joke on the staid horse world, the truth is a bit less exciting.

“This makes me think of the Greek myth of the Mares of Diomedes..”

That is an excellent point! The Mares of Diomedes are indeed explained in the book. Like the other examples of dangerous equines, they demonstrate that our forefathers were keenly aware of the fact that equines could chose to enact the most incredible acts of savegery. For example, the Man Eater of Lucknow terrorized and killed the citizens of that city. While the French mare, Lisette, ripped the face off one Russian soldier and disemboweled another. What the book explains is that it is only since the advent of the motorized age, that wide spread equestrian amnesia has largely erased knowledge of this part of the equine behaviour from our collective consciousness.

“Horses can be dangerous, but meat-eaters?”

When the book was published the known list of meat which horses had known to have consumed included: Antelope, Beef, Birds, Chicken, Fish, Goat, Hamster, Horse, Human, Moose, Offal, Onager, Polar Bear, Rabbits, Seal, Sheep, Whale,Yak. Since then the list has grown. And we have just been informed of a horseman who a few hours ago offered his horse half a kilo of raw ground mince. The horse eagerly ate it. Thus evidence strongly suggests that horses are omnivores, not herbivores as is commonly taught today.

“…”this sounds very far-fetched and sensationalist to me.”

I was recently interviewed for an hour by Rick Lamb, host of America’s most respected equine radio show. He began by urging his listerners to “keep an open mind.” He concluded by stating that the evidence “recants our modern definition of horses.” Thus there was no need for sensationalism, nor would I engage in such a tactic. In fact, as I explain in the beginning of the book, it was only because of evidence linked to children’s deaths that I reluctantly decided to go public with the research.

“Alexander the Great had a horse that was known to be a killer..”

The book explains how one version of the legend has been largely suppressed because it depicts Bucephelus as being an eager man-eater.

“Lippizaner stallions…..fed meat to make them more aggressive..”

The book explains how various cultures fed meat to horses so as to make them more powerful. Nineteenth century European explorers crossing Tibet rode equines who were “eager meat eaters.”

Nor should I neglect to mention that when humans and horses had to travel together across hostile, grass free environments, men learned that horses could survive on meat. One of the most astonishing examples was when the British army created a special meat ration, which Sir Ernest Shackleton fed to his horses while trying to reach the South Pole in 1911.

““Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes and Steve McQueen … provide ….evidence”. Intereting line-up, and last time I checked, one of them was a fictional character..”

These people/characters were mentioned so as to demonstrate how previous generations of writers knew about the existence of savage, meat eating horses. I didn’t mention Kafka, but he too wrote about them.

“the horse in that paddock would aggressively follow my truck as I drove past with his ears pinned back..”

A similar story has been sent to the Long Riders’ Guild from New Zealand. And that illustrates an important point about this ongoing investigation. Unsolicitated evidence continues to arrive from all quarters of the world. And one story links to an similar episode thousands of miles away.

What has surprised us since the book’s release is the unexpected and uninterrupted stream of unsolicited evidence which has been sent to the Guild from riders around the world.

For example, in the last 72 hours we have received news about horses in Arabia who consume raw camel meat, horses in Louisiana who devour live crayfish, the BBC filmed horses eating fish on the beach of an English island, and Mariwari horses in India enjoy consuming goat’s head soup.

And the idea that horses are prey animals, who fear conflict, flee from man and are terrified of carnivores is also in need of immediate re-evaluation.

The “Deadly Equines” book was only a couple of hours old when the Guild received the first powerful positive evidence. The British Long Rider, Penny Turner, forwarded film footage of a Indian horse turning on its attacker and attempting to grab him by the throat.

Then soon after the book’s release, we learned of a seven-year-old New Zealand girl who was seized by the throat and thrown violently through the air. She survived, as did the American horse trainer visiting Egypt, where a horse tried to tear out his throat. A lady in Holland was not so lucky, as the horse ripped open her jugular. Yet the most disturbing case occurred in Oklahoma, where a four-year-old child was playing in his family’s front yard. The horse jumped a fence, and having missed the child’s throat, tore off his right arm and killed him in front of his horrified parents.

Therefore, the idea that horses are prey animals, who fear conflict, flee from man and are terrified of carnivores is also in need of immediate re-evaluation.

When Jane Goodall announced in 1961 that chimps ate meat, that discovery did not impact many people’s daily lives. However, I am sure you can appreciate the significance of the discovery that horses are omnivores who are capable of perpetrating acts of incredible violence.

There is a great deal of additional evidence and information available on the Deadly Equines page at the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation website.

In the meantime, I will be happy to answer any questions regarding the project and its findings.CuChullaine

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

17 Responses to “Killer Horses Author Addresses Cryptomundo”

  1. coelacanth1938 responds:

    I’m going to have to buy this book just to see what Steve McQueen’s experience was.

    /Steve McQueen is cool.

  2. RWRidley responds:

    I don’t know why this sounds so far-fetched. Most animals will eat anything to survive. For example, there are a couple of videos like this one online showing a deer eating birds.

  3. coelacanth1938 responds:

    I believe you. But it’s like a family secret that’s been chained up in the basement and now that it’s gotten loose, you’re amazed at how big it’s gotten.

  4. Long Riders responds:

    The book, “Deadly Equines” opens with a quote from Professor Stephen Jay Gould. He said, “The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.”

    Let us keep that thought in mind when we consider the word “omnivore,” which the dictionary defines as “an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin.”

    An animal that eats food of both plant and animal origin?

    With that thought in mind, imagine my surprise when a critic, who admits she hasn’t read the book, criticized the project on Facebook, insisting that horses were herbivores.

    When I responded by citing historical evidence, she discounted it as being unreliable. When I replied that immediately after reading the book, a reader fed his horse a pound of raw ground beef, she continued to deny that horses were omnivores.

    In the face of the nearly two dozen types of protein connected evidence, she suggested that because a team of scientists had not conducted experiments into equine biology, 4,000 years of eyewitness equine evidence must be dismissed.

    This draws me to point out that there does not appear to be any debate about deer being capable of similar dietary deviance. On August 20, 1998 David Boyd reported the following story in the Casper Star Tribune, “Herbivores busted preying on bird’s nests.”

    So if deer can eat birds, why is it upsetting people to think that horses can eat beef, yak, polar bear, whale, birds, and human children, just to name a few confirmed examples?

    Perhaps it may be connected to the fact that whereas people are quick to defend what their parents and grandparents believed, the evidence connected to “Deadly Equines” lies just beyond the edge of generational wisdom, i.e. four generations back. Therefore, not having any family or personal knowledge of this once widely known type of equine action, they are loath to admit that their current definition might be in error.

    But while we ponder that, at least we can all agree that yes, Steve McQueen was incredibly cool.

  5. wolfatrest responds:

    I am always amazed at people’s response to something that contradicts what they think, even if they have no actual evidence to back up their “feelings”. I would be willing to bet that many of the people that are shocked and appalled at this information have never actually owned a horse and a large number have probably never even spent much if any time around horses.

  6. choppedlow responds:

    Great! Now I’m going to have to be afraid of horses!

  7. Carumba responds:

    This book is a public service. I remember cowboy stories that talked about “crazy mean” horses. We can’t generalize their behaviors or why they do what they do. Just be cautious. Even deer attack people. I live in a forested area full of deer and obviously bears (clear sandy tracks on my deck this past summer), and I am seriously taking the hint that anything could happen. I don’t even go the rather long walk to my mailbox without some protection. However, these are wild animals; the people whose work or pet horses attack them really are unfortunate and obviously surprised badly. I think possible illness, mood swings, etc. are prevalent in all species to contribute to an attack. As for horses eating meat, I think I saw movies of horses hoisting a bottle of beer in their mouths if given to them. Then the real fun must begin, Drunk Horse Kills Bartender.

  8. Logan5 responds:

    Having worked as a medic at Equestrian events, I can assure you that horses are more than capable of attacking humans. I would like to point out that almost without exception, people who have not spent time around horses have a very natural fear of them the first few times that they are around them. It is only people who spend time with horses who lose this fear. Perhaps this fear is a natural ancestral memory, ingrained into our collective conscience (or maybe we are just naturally afraid of really big animals!).

    Horse people are very staunch in their love of these animals, sometimes taking better care of their “Horse Children” than of themselves. It does not surprise me that they would deny this or any other information that they would consider “derogatory”.

    I know that I am not a bit surprised to find out that horses can be vicious animals. They are usually the largest animals around, and that would HAVE to give them some kind of natural feeling of (physical) superiority over all of the smaller life forms around them.

  9. flame821 responds:

    Omnivorous grazing animal is how I’ve seen horses cataloged. And it seems that most animals with a good amount of intelligence NEED protein for development of their brains.

    I think Mr. O’Reilly is quite correct in his assumption that the people who argue the most regarding horses eating meat are the ones who have not lived with them. While I have never had the misfortune to see a horse do anything worse than throw or attempt to stomp a would be rider, I have come across horses who I would NEVER go near due to their temperaments. Horses are huge, powerful animals and you need to respect them and if you’re riding one, you need to be able to trust them too.

    I have never seen or heard of horses actively hunting other animals (in the way deer will seek out nests and fledglings) are there any reports of such witnessed behavior being reported to Mr. O’Reilly? Aside from the horse jumping the fence and attacking that child (which could involve a number of factors outside of simple hunting)

  10. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Just an idea…
    Could it be that humans have been holding back horses evolution-wise? Several kinds of carnivores have become herbivores and herbivores have become carnivores. But that takes an age or two.
    Maybe horses were supposed to have become at least omnivores by now, except that we got in the way?

  11. Long Riders responds:

    Let me begin by thanking everyone for the tremendous display of curiosity, patience and understanding which this forum has provided. I believe it says a great deal about the situation when a forum dedicated to investigating biological mysteries welcomes a conversation about meat-eating and murderous horses, yet leading equestrian publications maintain an ostrich like refusal to even admit that horses may be omnivores. As someone said on another forum, in regard to censoring the truth, “People use freedom of speech to attack freedom of speech.” Thankfully this forum does not fall prey to that policy.

    Please allow me to respond to some of the many excellent points which have been recently raised.

    “……now that it’s gotten loose, you’re amazed at how big it’s gotten.”

    As I explain in the book, the discovery that horses are omnivores who are capable of enacting acts of deliberate savagery against humans may have an unexpected impact on a surprisingly large portion of humanity. Authors, artists, film makers, parents, neighbours, doctors, lawyers, insurance brokers and governments will have to re-examine the subject of horses in relation to their individual and collective concerns.

    “I am always amazed at people’s response to something that contradicts what they think, even if they have no actual evidence to back up their “feelings”.”

    Sceptics, who are content with their version of the equine past, will argue that because the majority are united in their belief, a single voice of objection may be ignored. These are the people who will choose to retain a tenacious loyalty to a modern myth which denies the existence of horses which are capable of killing other animals and humans. Likewise, they will scoff at the idea that horses can consume protein. As Cassandra proved long ago, a great many people will prefer wil­ful blindness rather than accept the arrival of uncomfortable new facts which upset their personal belief systems.

    “Great! Now I’m going to have to be afraid of horses!”

    Horses terrified our ancestors and they are still capable of frightening and killing us today.

    “This book is a public service.”

    I don’t pretend to have all the answers regarding deadly horses. All I have done is open a previously undetected door. What you find within the book is up to you.

    “Perhaps this fear is a natural ancestral memory, ingrained into our collective conscience…”

    The majority of modern mankind is taught from infancy to conform to social authority, to agree with the echo chamber of popular opinion, to belong rather than question. It feels seductive to be safe. It is distressing to contradict one’s previous equest­­­rian beliefs. Most of us are bound to the wheel of intellectual convention.

    Nevertheless, it does no good to turn a blind eye towards the existence of murderous horses, for the warning signs of its continued existence are in plain sight, if one but looks.

    “I have never seen or heard of horses actively hunting other animals…”

    In 2002 the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation became aware of a disturbing report which originated in the United States. Accord­ing to that country’s leading equine veterinarian publication, The Horse, readers had recently reported cases of horses killing smaller animals and in some cases devouring their prey.

    Gruesome details emerged when one horrified reader wrote to the magazine editor. The reader described how he and a friend had wit­nessed what they called a “bizarre and frightening” episode wherein a horse grabbed a goat, shook it to death, and began devouring it.

    To add to their revulsion, a few minutes later the two startled witnesses observed three other horses approach the dead goat. They too begin consuming the flesh and drinking its blood.

    “They all grabbed some part of the goat with their teeth and literally tore it into pieces with all the tugging and pulling. The one who had killed the goat had the biggest part of what was left…. Soon, two little colts less than three months old came over to what was left of the goat and they took some bites and just stood there chewing and eating…. My friend and I were absolutely stunned over what we had just witnessed.”

    In one of the three original letters addressed to the editors of The Horse magazine, this same bewildered eyewitness posed a question.

    “The events we saw are still a mystery. Neither of us is willing to believe that this is the first time in history that something like this has ever happened with horses. There must be other people who have seen, read stories about, or know of similar events, and I am personally interested in knowing if anyone associated with your magazine has ever had any knowledge of anything like this happening in the past. We would feel better if we knew other people had witnessed something like this.”

    The horse owners were understandably upset and the editors eventually announced that they had no clue as to what might have motivated this bizarre equine behaviour.

    “Deadly Equines” is the first attempt to document this part of the equine world.

    “Maybe horses were supposed to have become at least omnivores by now, except that we got in the way?”

    Two anatomy professors at New York College of Osteopathic Medi­cine (NYCOM) at the New York Institute of Technology examined the teeth of 6500 fossil horses. The teeth spanned a period of 55 million years, representing 222 different populations of more than 70 extinct horse species. According to one of these scientists, Dr Nikos Solounias, “Living horses are anything but typical examples of the dietary ecology of this once great group of mammals.”

    Additionally, researchers have now concluded that large mammals, includ­ing ancient horses, also altered their diets as their climate changed. Both of these new findings contradict a common assumption that species maintain a dietary niche. By studying the carbon and oxygen isotopes incorporated into mammalian tooth enamel, scientists are attempting to determine the diets of fossil horses.

  12. Tarzanboyy responds:

    If the authors assertion is simply that these cases exist and do occasionally occur then I don’t see what should be so controversial. The truth is, animals are individuals and there is no hard and fast rule about what an animal will do when the situation demands it. Though I think there has to be a distinction made between learned behavior and natural behavior. While I haven’t read the book (it seems very interesting, by the way), it seems to me many of the examples (I haven’t investigated all of them) are of humans conditioning horses to eat meat. My sister in law grew up with horses and said that her horse would eat anything from her hand. Including a hotdog and fishstick. Not normal horse fare to be sure. That said, and I’m sure Mr. O’Reilly would agree that horses are not evolved carnivores, or even omnivores. As their dentition suggests, they have evolved to be grazers. That’s not to say again, that this is a hard and fast rule as horses are individuals like humans, but they don’t have the claws or teeth of a predator. While technically, the definition of omnivore may fit horses in these individual cases, when someone thinks of an omnivore, they often think of things like pigs which have evolved to be generalists, unlike horses which have evolved to be grazers. As a species, horses are herbivores and examples of meat eating are rightly considered aberrations. I’m not disputing these accounts by any means, but like with the red deer on the isle of man, these are specific circumstances and don’t describe normal behavior. Red deer also, as a species are herbivores. There’s even a story of a grief stricken elephant in India, after losing her calf killing and consuming a human. Again, elephants are herbivores under normal circumstances. That said, I think the comparison with the behavior of chimps might be a bit of a stretch. Chimps habitually hunt and kill smaller animals and have the biological equipment for killing small prey. They are omnivores as a species, without question. Cases of predatory chimps are not uncommon. It’s considered natural behavior.
    Cases of predation and scavenging by horses, while they’ve obviously occurred as attested to by some well documented accounts, are not common nor do they constitute normal behavior by equines, a family of animals biologically designed to be grazers/browsers. I’m not sure if it’s the assertion of the author that horses habitually hunt, kill and eat other animals and that this is a common, natural behavior. If that’s the case, then I have to disagree. Of course, this is my opinion and I’m not a professional biologist, just another dillettante.

  13. Zenyatta responds:

    I’ve worked around horses my entire life, and while I’m certain they are capable of eating meat, either to survive when more “normal” food stuff is scarce or as a personal preferance of the individual animal (yes, some horses do drink beer, and Dr. Pepper, and things like that), I would hesitate to connect that to horses killing things in order to eat them.

    In regards to the attacks the author mentions at the end of this post–horses can and do kill people, but I have never read a modern attack of a horse killing someone with the motive of eating them. Stallions can be incredibly violent animals and they do kill people, but it is not to eat them. The thing about horses that makes them so dangerous is they fight you like you are a horse, which obviously the human body cannot withstand. Stallions, when fighting, aim to injure each other’s limbs and finally grab the rival by the throat and choke him to death. Horse teeth can tear skin, but I would not go so far as to say that cases where horses have killed humans by grabbing their throats means the horses wanted to eat them. The horses just wanted to kill them, and did it the way they would kill a rival animal.

    Horses have always been dangerous and violent and capable of acts that seem evil to humans. There are “problem horses”, horses that want to kill people. The racehorses Halo and Hastings come to mind; both had to be retired from racing because they were more interesting in mauling their rivals than racing them, and both killed people at the respective stud farms they were sent to after being retired. They lived out their lives in muzzles. Violent man-killers are not anything new to the horse world.

    My only problem with all of this is the quick connection between some horses eating meat that is presented to them and some horses killing people. That does not equal lots of horses killing people in order to eat them. It has probably happened, but I would not say it is common, definitely more rare than both horses eating meat and horses kiling people, and I would not say it calls for a “revolution” of any kind of thinking, because if the horse person you’re talking to doesn’t know that problem horses exist who attack and kill people, they’re not much of a horse person.

  14. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Any reports of mini-horses eating meat or showing predatory behaviors?

  15. ubik responds:

    I think its possible some people are reacting negatively to the sensationalist marketing of this book rather than the assertions within.

    Personally, I thought this was another of those silly zombie novels where they pretend Jane Austen was writing about the undead or whatever. So, when I saw a review of it on another site I just snorted derisively and got on with my day.
    I’m glad I saw it on this site, because I now understand that its nonfiction.

    I agree with Zenyatta, and I would add that these stories will do little to change the classification of horses. I grew up hearing many stories of horses attacking family members and trying to bite and kick kids. Very common, but at no time did anyone place human values and judgements on this behavior. No one said the horses were murderous and that’s the problem I have with this writer’s presentation, but I will give it a try over Christmas break.

  16. Long Riders responds:

    Dear Friends,
    Thank you again for having taken the time to raise such interesting points about the on-going Deadly Equines project.

    “it seems many of the examples are of humans conditioning horses to eat meat.”

    Yes, but certainly not all. Nor has there been any attempt to try and imply that dietary deviance and equine aggression is anything but an anomaly. Yet despite an abundance of evidence, traditionalists continue to maintain that horses are incapable of omnivorious actions. As the list of protein/meat/flesh/offal consumed by equines continues to grow, the idea that horses are herbivores will be increasingly difficult to defend.

    “I’m sure Mr. O’Reilly would agree that horses are not evolved carnivores….”

    I have never stated nor implied that horses are carnivores.

    “…..or even omnivores.”

    The dictionary defines an omnivore as, “An animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin.” In the last few days the Long Riders’ Guild has received messages from horse owners who wrote to state that their animals consumed barbecue goat (bones and all), scavenged crabs off the beach, bit baby lambs and then consumed the blood, not to mention eagerly devouring enough different types of human cuisine to fill a cookbook.

    This evidence raises an interesting linguistic point. The dictionary doesn’t say “part time omnivore.” It states that some animals have the capability to consume “food of both plant and animal origin.” Thus, based upon the existence of Dragon Lady, the barbecue loving mare who resides in the American state of Nevada, I think many people would tend to agree with me. Horses are capable of omnivorous behaviour and are not the strictly herbivorous creatures we have been led to believe.

    “There’s even a story of a grief stricken elephant in India, after losing her calf killing and consuming a human.”

    One book about animal dietary deviance is quite enough for me, thank you.

    “I’m not sure if it’s the assertion of the author that horses habitually hunt, kill and eat other animals and that this is a common, natural behaviour.”

    No, the book only states that horses are capable of omnivorous actions and have enacted acts of savagery which far exceed today’s definition of these animals as “prey animals and herbivores.”

    “I would hesitate to connect that to horses killing things in order to eat them.”

    Nor are you the only person who has had their current definition of horses shaken. I too have had a tremendously difficult time dealing with a great deal of the evidence which has been uncovered. Case in point are the children who have either been slain, or nearly killed, by horses who seized them by the throat. Yet to return to the idea of a horse hunter, the book opens with an eyewitness account of a well-fed horse making the decision to kill and consume a goat in front of shocked eyewitnesses. As a Swedish horseman stated, such cases, rare though they may be, indicate that horses may be “predators by choice,” as and when it suits them. That isn’t to say we have to enjoy this grisly evidence. But we can’t afford to turn a blind to its existence.

    “I would not go so far as to say that cases where horses have killed humans by grabbing their throats means the horses wanted to eat them.”

    No, the book deals with two threads of equine action – diet and aggression. And your observations about how horses fight each other is extremely interesting and may shed light on the cases where horses have seized humans by the throat.

    But based upon historical evidence, it appears that when equines slay humans, and wish to consume them, they rip open the abdomen and consume the intestines. The book contains a horrifying 16th century woodcut which clearly depicts a horse consuming a deceased man in this manner. Plus, the frightening French mare, Lisette, also killed and consumed a Russian officer like this.

    Here again, all of these points are covered in the book, and at no time do I attempt to pretend that I “know it all.” Quite the contrary, though I have been deeply involved with horses for nearly forty years, on four continents, this search has led me into the darkest corners of the equine universe and shaken everything I previously believed in.

    “Violent man-killers are not anything new to the horse world.”

    While the Long Riders’ Guild has received a tremendous amount of new evidence, we have also received numerous messages which match what you have just stated, i.e., “This is nothing new. I’ve always known horses are dangerous.” Yet the book explains that while there are of course still people, such as yourself, who retain this knowledge, the majority of mankind no longer appreciates how dangerous horses are.

    Thus, the average human being’s daily knowledge of equine nature has diminished to an alarming extent. It has been replaced by a Disneyesque version of events where there is no dark side to nature. This is particularly true in Anglophone countries, where the appearance of books and films now commonly depicts horses in romantic terms such as Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope.

    “Any reports of mini-horses eating meat or showing predatory behaviours?”

    Earlier this morning the Guild was informed of a Shetland pony who eagerly consumed a family ham and was known to enjoy “Frito chilli pies at rodeos,” as well as hamburgers and chicken soup.

    “No one said the horses were murderous and that’s the problem I have with this writer’s presentation…”

    Every writer struggles to use language accurately, or at least I do. Therefore I used the word “murder” to describe the actions of the infamous Man Killer of Lucknow, who intentional stalked the citizens of that city and tore them to pieces. The horse was in no danger, but chose to hunt and kill any human he laid eyes on. Nor do I believe it would be inaccurate to describe as murder how a mare killed the uncle of one of the academic experts who previewed the book prior to its publication. This was a talented horsemen, who though warned of the horse’s violent behaviour, nevertheless ventured into a closed stall alone. The result was his death.

    “I thought this was another of those silly zombie novels where they pretend Jane Austen was writing about the undead…”

    Sadly, there is enough gruesome historical evidence on offer to appease even the most jaded Jane Austen fan.

    I would like to conclude by quoting Galileo, who said, “I believe there is no greater hatred in the world than the hatred of ignorance for knowledge.” While none of us have resolved the mystery of the horse, it is thanks to stimulating conversations such as these that a vital new international dialogue about these incredible animals is underway. Thank you.

  17. Desertdweller responds:

    This information is surprising, but not really shocking. Anyone who has grown up on a farm knows that any animal as large or larger than a human is capable of killing a human if it really wants to. Ornery boar hogs, sows with piglets, bulls (especially dairy bulls) are all capable of killing you if they are having a bad day. Why should horses be any different?

    A horse is a big animal that can kill you by accident. All instances I know of people being injured by horses have involved accidents (the horse stumbles and falls, landing on its rider).

    I think the shock value in this book lies in the fact that people who spend a lot of time with horses are comfortable in their presence. The idea that a horse may suddenly turn on them is unsettling. The thought that a horse may actually kill and eat you is really creepy.

    Yet those same people will think nothing of keeping pet dogs that could, if they really wanted to, do the same thing. This is a rare and unfortunate thing when it happens, but it does happen. The psychology of dogs works against this happening, as the dog sees its owner as its pack leader. The fact that dogs are socialized to their human families prevents them from challenging the head of the family for the leadership position.

    I have no idea how horses relate to humans. But I’d bet the number of humans killed by dogs in any given year exceeds the number killed intentionally by horses.

    Just the fact that horses allow themselves to be “broken” and ridden by humans shows that the horse is willing to concede control to humans.

    If horses are omnivores (or wannabe carnivores), then they are poorly evolved for the role. Lack of incisors or paws and claws for holding prey, and eyes set in the sides instead of the front of the head all indicate a prey animal, not a hunter. Instinctive herd behavior also argues against a role as a hunter.

    I think omnivorous and carnivorous behavior by horses amounts to errant behavior.

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