I saw the movie "Avatar" this weekend in 3-D. It is an epic film made better by sporting those funny glasses. Things seemed to float right in front of your face and you almost get woozy from the rides on the backs of Banshee dragons. The premise...a paralyzed former Marine is sent into the forest in the body of an avatar to make friends with the Na'vi tribe. The information collected will help the government learn more about them so better able to fight, destroy, and steal their land. Think futuristic "Dances with Wolves." The Marine comes to admire the tribe, enjoys walking again, and manages to fall in love with the chief's daughter. Again, very reminiscent of Kevin Costner's role...the whole Lakota fascination, the near leg amputation, and his love affair with "Stands with a Fist." His loyalties are put to the test as the government is on the brink of invasion. The ending...well...I guess you will just have to go see it.
So what does this post have to do with horses? On the planet of Pandora, there are some equine like creatures called "Dire" and some "Banshee" (dragon) wrangling. But more importantly the characters in the movie have to build relationships with these creatures. They don't just hop on and ride away into the sunset. The Na'vi woman explains to the Marine that in order to ride a Dire, you have to connect with it. To become one, "every breath is your breath, every stride your stride." The Na'vi have a long braids that entwine with the Dire mane and it is what helps form the bond. Watching the first encounter with the Dire is good fun for people with horses. We can laugh as the Marine soon realizes it is a lot harder than it looks.
He eventually figures it out, but eventually the Marine wants to fly...he wants a Banshee. The Na'vi woman explains, "a Banshee has to pick you." He asks "how will I know I've been picked?" She says "it will try to kill you." Yep, another smile from the horse people. Reminds me of the day Maddy roared off the trailer, her first day in Oregon. She picked me alright:-). Fun aside, I like that the movie understood the deep bond between horse and human. You understood the empowerment, the freedom, and the grace that riding offers and that it is indeed a privilege to be allowed onto their backs. As the Marine comes to understand his bond with his animals and the forest, he grows and is compelled to be a better person. He is riding between worlds and there is something spiritual in that. Only horses can take us there and this movie understands that.
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