Webinar – To Speak Horse in the Himalayas and Argentina by Yancen Diemberger


To speak horse in the Himalayas and Argentina: to what an extent does communication between humans and horses depend on a “language”, and how does it differ in different cultural contexts? By Yancen Diemberger

Yancen’s research and webinar description:

In my undergraduate research in Tibetan Studies I came across a Tibetan manuscript which describes horse breeding and medicine (an illustrated compilation tentatively dated to the 18th century, which includes texts from as early as the 9th century). In Tibetan, the horse is classified as a “sentient being” and is referred to as having a “principle of consciousness” similar to humans. I subsequently developed a PhD research project in anthrozoology that aims to explore how the different cultural dynamics within which the horse is embedded reflects on practical horsemanship.

I believe that within the human-horse relationship there is a dynamic dialogue grounded in a communicative framework that needs to be put in place contextually. I explore local “horsemanships” in two different fieldwork sites on opposite sides of the globe, and the way these methods influence communication between horses and humans. The crosscultural element will not only allow me to compare a wide range of approaches to horsemanship (with human-horse “language” changing alongside the human cultural context), but it will also provide a deeper understanding of embodied knowledge, practices, and skills involved in human-horse connections. More generally I see my exploration within the framework of “multispecies multiethnography” in the context of a wider rethinking of human-animal relationships.

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