Today I did something I’ve been avoiding for as long as I can remember. I went to Central Park and confronted the horses. These are the horses that are lined up and made to pull loaded carriages of those who pay for the romanticized experience of “old New York”. Tourists flock to be taken on a ride through the park or anywhere else they want to go and are willing to pay for. I hate this. These horses are abused and made to work in less than stellar conditions against their will. Today, in New York City, the temperature was around 90 degrees. I had no idea when I awoke that this would be how I would spend my morning.
A Belgian photographer contacted me a little over a month ago because he is working on a documentary portrait series of mystical New York. I was excited to receive his email asking me to be part of something extremely up my alley. After looking at his work and seeing he used an old camera from 1962 (not digital!), I looked forward to being a subject of his art. He interviewed me and expressed enormous interest in what I do and my intuitive process. It is always refreshing when a person shows interest and is not in a rush to talk about themselves. This is a man committed to the truth, and travels all around the globe in a quest to match his vision with his creativity.
He had come over to my apartment weeks ago and taken several photos, but they were unsatisfactory; they in no way showed what I do with regard to animals. After all, it is not easy to capture someone being psychic. My mother had an idea which I really did not like. She suggested that we go to Central Park, a place I stay away from because of the sight of horses that are, in my opinion, suffering in atrocious circumstances. I ran it by Thomas (the photographer) and his eyes lit up with inspiration. The park is a ten minute subway ride from my apartment, and even though I feared how unpleasant this outing could be, it felt right to do it.
I am someone who will do anything to avoid a horse walking amid all of the chaos of cars, taxi’s, trucks, buses, motorcycles, pedestrians, honking, etc. If I even hear the telltale clanking I walk the other way or go into the nearest store to avoid the pain I feel. I use my wild, curly hair to block my peripheral vision because I just can’t take it. My empathy knows no bounds, it’s so intense.
I did it, and I survived. I even was able to stay completely composed while staring into the eyes of a horse named Max. I told him how much I loved him, and how I empathized with his situation. I apologized for mankind and all the ignorance and naivete that encourages these hansom cabs to be such a tourist draw. I just sat with him sending him love. That was all I could do.
As out of towners went for rides in a haze of humidity and nonchalance, I left to go home. Sorry carriage horses. If I ruled the world this wouldn’t be your fate.