On 1st August, 2010, Geoff Matthews presented a topic ‘Horses Birthday Today’ and linked our long association of all types of horses in this country with our life as Unitarians. In his address, he talked of the history of horses in Australia, areas of life we see them such as showjumping, children’s love of them, equestrian, rodeo, the special love for Clydesdales, the thoroughbred racing industry and his experiences with riding for the disabled in the US.
In his outline of the history of horses in Australia, he referred to information from the Horses Australia website- ‘Horses have been part of Australia’s history and are almost a cultural icon. From the wild brumbies to the legendary Phar Lap, Australia’s horses have the power to stir the soul and capture the imagination.’
And it’s easy to see why. The horse is a creature of grace, power and beauty that has been prized throughout history for its intelligence, speed and strength. From their velvety muzzles to the tips of their flowing tails, horses have been loyal companions in peace and war.
Horses first came to Australia in the pioneer days and have been used for business and pleasure ever since. Some broke loose and became brumbies, the legendary tough wild horses that have formed part of Australian legends such as the Man from Snowy River from Banjo Paterson’s thrilling epic poem.
(Geoff read the poem in his address). Horses carried settlers throughout Australia as they founded the important towns, rounded up cattle on Outback stations and thrilled millions in great races like the Melbourne Cup.
And today you’ll find many horses throughout Australia, whether as a glamorous thoroughbred racehorse or as a jackeroo’s trusty mount. And plenty are loved as companion animals and pleasure horses too.
Love horses? At Horses Australia, we do too. Bay, chestnut, black, grey, dun or palomino; Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian or Shetland pony – we love them all!’
In closing, he linked our history and love for horses as a significant part of our lives, and that as Unitarians we are well aware that in this world it is not just about Humans, but our connection with the environment and nature, of which horses are a part.
He also left us with three different quotes
‘The child who ran weeping to you with a cut finger is now brought home, smiling gamely, with a broken collar bone and incredible contusions – ‘it wasn’t Jezebel’s fault, Dad.’
‘Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self esteem. They provide peace and tranquillity to troubled souls – they give us hope!’
‘A horse is the projection of people’s dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.’