Hello, I'm Maude, nice to meet you. And meet Bucky here above with me. He's the one responsible for all my thinking and philosophizing about horses. I'm a philosopher. I was born in Québec, Canada, in a horse family. Since generations my family raises, trains and races Standardbred horses. Like most of us in the family, I got the horse passion. Horses where the center, the periphery, the everything of my world throughout all my childhood and teenagehood. While I worked with a number of horses, in racing and many other disciplines, I ended up never really being interested in jumping better, doing quicker rollbacks or going a mile faster. That was never important to me.
Understanding horses and making sure they were doing well was what was driving me. Instead of competing, I wanted to take care of injured horses, or work with 'problem' horses. My ideal day at the stable was taking care of sore ligaments or back massages. Then I would take Bucky out for a walk with a book, sit in the shade, him eating, me reading. Once I finally got to own and train my own race horse (a beautiful, funny, tall, dark, brown trotter named Kentucky Bill V), I figured out a way where I could train him in the woods, instead of on the track, so that he could be happy and I too. I was definitely not the favorite student of riding instructors and trainers. All this fuss about performance just made no sense to me.
As you can imagine, I wanted to become a vet. From age 8 onwards I prepared for vet school. I wanted to go to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, the oldest veterinary school in Canada. I did every thing possible to be ready for vet school. From age 12 onwards, I followed horse vets around during the day, asking a million questions a minute (I thank all of them for their unbelievable patience). When I was 18, I started working on evenings and weekends in a vet clinic for the serious preparation. Becoming a vet was something like my destiny.
So then what happened? Why am I talking about philosophy here and not about horse health? Well there you have it, something was not right for me in the vet world. I wanted to take care of horses, as horses and for horses. Over the years, I realized that it made no sense to me how vets have to cope with human-caused injuries. So many horse health problems and injuries are simply the product of humans: out of ignorance, carelessness, naivety, greed, a form of blindness or, sadly, out of necessity. I deeply respect the work veterinarians do, but it was not the right place for me.
I was not asking myself health questions, so it turns out, but ethical and philosophical questions. I did not want to know if my horse was healthy, but if he was happy. At 20, I entered the philosophy program at McGill University, in Montreal. At 32, I completed my doctoral studies in ethics and philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Now, I want to talk to you about horses in this very special way which philosophy taught me.
I created Horse Intricacies following the many deep and stimulating conversations which I have had the chance to have over the years with people who also want to dig deeper and question their practices. I realized that the questions which made me go into philosophy instead of vet school were in the heart and mind of many other people. So I figured we need a place to bring these conversations to another level and broaden the audience. I hope it can speak to you also.