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Horses of the World

Roland Blum


The horse, along with the dog, has accompanied man through evolution. Horses began as prey and were then domesticated
to be ridden, used to pull vehicles and agricultural equipment. Thus, horses have been part of human life from huntergatherer period to nomadic times and then from the settled farmers to the industrial age. Horses have evolved in all climates around the world. Their different uses and the different mentalities of their breeders are what have characterized the different breeds around the world including the different builds and temperaments. Horses are quick and strong but very gentle and sensitive and have hence always exemplified the special bond that people can have with animals. Still in the modern world of today, horses have various roles; they have been used as weapons, engines and are still considered a status symbol in some places. The Mongolian Empire, or the expanding settlements in Australia and the Americas would not have been imaginable without the use of horses. Despite the years of domestication that horses have undergone they have never lost their social behaviour, nor their flight instinct. Different types of ‘riding culture’ have developed through the various conditions
that horses were ridden in, for example the cowboys developed a different style of horsemanship to the Bedouins or the riders of the Spanish Riding School. However, one might argue that these have more similarities than differences when analysing their philosophies on handling horses. Good horsemen only differ in nuances.

Through my role as a cameraman and filmmaker I have had the privilege of visiting more than a hundred countries over the last
decades. I was infected with the ‘horse bug’ at an early age and through my travels I experienced a large variety of different types
of people working with different horses for different reasons and in different styles. This gave me the chance to always follow
and learn more about my passion. The success of the film, ‘School of Horsemanship’ was the catalyst for the series of films, ‘Horses of the World,’ and deepened my friendship with Egon von Neindorff. Since then we have developed over a dozen films covering different topics. Whether a donkey, zebra or Przewalskihorse, these equine creatures are all related to our riding-horses and are very similar in
their behaviour. Even the rodeo cowboys are sportsmen that consider their horses as partners. During the time I spent filming
‘Riding as a Therapy,’ I was able to witness some incredible bonds and communication between people and horses. During the
months I spent in the Mongolian deserts, where people’s livelihoods still depend very much on horses, I was fortunate enough to
have some most memorable experiences of how close the relationship can be between man and horse. The memories I have
gathered from the ménage of the Circus Knie, to different breeders’ paddocks, to the Icelandic horses, very much show that working with horses is much more than just a mere activity. Horses and people are part of a culture.

                                           Roland Blum