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 who 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 only 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, and making sure everyone was healthy and happy. 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 possible thing I could 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. As much as I deeply respect the work veterinarians do, 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 McGill University, in Montreal, in their philosophy program. And here I am now, some 10 years later, wanting to talk to you about horses in this very special way which philosophy taught me.
I decided to create 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.