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Vega, J.W. (2014). Trauma and Sympathy in Buck. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(6):1305-1320.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(6):1305-1320

Film Essay

Trauma and Sympathy in Buck

Jason A. Wheeler Vega

Horses and people have long had a special relationship. From the caves of Chauvet and Lascaux to the Great Plains of North America, from cart horse to polo pony, from Equus (1973, Shaffer) to Warhorse (2011, Morpurgo/Stafford), for at least 30,000 years horses have been admired, tamed, worked, and loved by human beings. Still-popular names like Philip and Philippa (‘friend of horses’) remind us of how important horses have been for the flourishing of humans. Other beautiful names from Hellenic culture - Hippocrates (‘strong horse,’ the father of western medicine), Xanthippe (‘yellow horse’, the wife of Socrates), Melanippe (‘black horse’), Hipparchus (‘horse tamer’ or ‘horse master’) - have passed out of common usage. In both North and South America the expansion of farming and commerce proceeded to the rhythm of horses' hooves. The cultures of gaucho and cowboy are still important to many, although they are becoming transformed into memory, story, and myth. Among all the animals that humans have harnessed if any have earned the epithet ‘noble’ it is the horse, for its intelligence, sensitivity, grace, and sheer usefulness. People love horses. People also love stories of heroic overcoming. What better than a true story that combines both? A story of an American cowboy and horse tamer whose life was saved by horses, and whose vocation became to save and enrich the lives of thousands of horses and riders.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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