Bringing Up Life with Horses

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Smith, S. J. (2018). Bringing up life with horses. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 18(2), 11 pp. DOI: 10.1080/20797222.2018.1499266

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A key phrase in working with horses, “bringing up life” is taken in its literal sense of moving expressively and energetically in order to animate the movements of the horses. The phrase also points to both what the radical phenomenologist Michel Henry referred to as the auto-affectivity of life and the vital powers of an essential hetero-affectivity. “Bringing up life” is the kinetic, kinaesthetic, affective expression of this fundamental impression that life is shared with other animate beings and that it is all the more powerfully felt for being so. Working with horses – in spite of all the human conceits that groundwork, liberty training, and the riding disciplines hold – can thus reveal what it means to “bring up life” as more than a topic of very practical interest and specific phenomenological description. Through the impressional investigation of this expression we may well begin to feel our way toward more life-affirming, life-enhancing interactions with others of our own and many other animal kinds.

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