Conceptual Model of Horses on the Landscape: A Spatial Examination of the Horse Spectrum

Authors: William Gribb*, University Of Wyoming
Topics: Cultural Geography, Animal Geographies, Economic Geography
Keywords: Cultural Landscape, Horses, Economics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The horse is the symbol of strength, endurance, aesthetic beauty, friend and workmate to humans. This study examines the activity types and distribution of the horse on the American landscape. The spectrum of the horse’s symbiotic relationship with humans ranges from the reverence bestowed on horse petroglyphs to the horse as a breeding machine for economic gain. The American historic record of the horse is displayed on rock images across the United States, but is concentrated in the western portions of the country. The symbolic reverence to the horse is translated to a more organized real reverence through the Wild Horse Management Areas initiated by the Wild Horse and Burro Preservation Act of 1987. The human perception of the horse as a pet can be seen in the number of riding stables and horse shows displaying their beauty and form. A more pragmatic interpretation of the horse is as a workmate on ranches and farms. Another representation of the horse is as a partner in staged competitions and as a partner and competitor at rodeos. Racing events enlist the horse as a machine competing against other machines to display their power for monetary gain. Finally, the breeding farms are designed to produce the ultimate horse for pure profit. Each element of the spectrum has a different distribution across the United States, however, some aspects of the spectrum are concentrated in urban areas, while others are in rural America.

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