Honest History secretary David Stephens was invited to write an article for AEU Educator, the magazine of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union. The article is online and in the hard copy version (page 25 in both versions). It introduces Honest History and the resources available on our website.
4 October 2014
Update 17 October: the article was reprinted in PS News.
This comment came from Cynthia Harris on 11 October and we added the comment function to this post especially to include it along with our reply also dated 11 October. Cynthia’s comment relates to the article in AEU Educator linked above.
Dear Honest History people,
I just read your article in “AEU Educator”, p.25, and am in full agreement with your aims. However, as someone keen on history I also have to “nit pick” (sorry!), and the caption under the image of the “sulking” horse makes me uneasy. As a lifelong horse lover and lifelong learner about horses, I am happy to see that horses are no longer categorized as being “naughty” by knowledgeable people, and there is an awareness that a horse always has reasons, valid to him, for his actions. They don’t deliberately choose to do things that they think will annoy us. The horse in the image is clearly stressed – and so would I be, if snubbed up to a post so tightly that anyone’s first action should be to loosen the reins from the post. His mouth is open, probably because of pressure from the bit, and his position indicates that he might find it hard to get up even if he wanted to without more freedom for his head. If, saddled and bridled, he has sat down, it seems people have ignored his previous attempts to communicate that something is wrong: sitting down is the equivalent of a human shouting. In short, this horse is either confused, afraid, or in at least discomfort or at worst pain.
As someone who wants to be honest about history, I am aware that many (though not all) of these horses were not treated with much knowledge or understanding, and that today most of us (thank heavens) don’t think of our horses as slaves. Ideas have changed, so that we now wince when we read “He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur” in one of our most iconic poems; but I would like to acknowledge that the poor horse in the photo is a victim, not a naughty animal.
Thank you for bearing with my rant, but I like to try and set the record straight where possible, and want to champion those without a voice.
You are right, of course. We were so chuffed about the picture of Banjo that we ignored the horse. There is a link to the AEU Educator article at https://honesthistory.net.au/wp/honest-history-in-teachers-union-magazine/ and, if you agree, I will add an Open for Comment thing to that and put your comment in. Thanks for this. You may like to browse the site more widely, sign up for RSS feed, go on mailing list for monthly roundup.