Heartland Star Amber Marshall reviews CBC’s new doc, Equus: Story of the Horse

Posted on Sep 21, 2018

By: Amber Marshall - “Amy Fleming” on CBC’s hit family drama Heartland
Heartland Season 12 premieres in winter 2019 on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch

For thousands of years, horses have enriched the lives of humans, allowing us to expand our horizons and venture to places not achievable without their aid. However, there is so much more to the horse than a mode of transportation. Horses are a true companion to humans which has kept them active into the modern day. In most regions their assistance may no longer be needed, but their companionship is valued above all.

There are areas of the world where horses still play a major role in society. EQUUS – Story of the Horse did a fantastic job of immersing me in the horse culture around the globe where for many people, horses still provide them with daily transport, rituals and above all, a lifelong friendship.

EQUUS gave me an insight into the history of the horse that I had never seen before, from discoveries of the first horse on the planet to how climate and environmental change forced the evolution of the horse we know today.

The breakdown of how a horse travels at full gallop was particularly interesting to me. Having had horses all my life and often riding at high speeds, it gave me an appreciation of the biology of equine makeup: how they propel themselves forward, taking in oxygen only when suspended above the ground, then allowing air to be pushed from their bodies as their hooves make contact again.

After covering stories on Heartland of the Przewalski horses of Mongolia, it was fascinating for me to see them being studied in their homeland. The footage, so raw and real, transported me to the Gobi Desert. I love watching animals interact with one another in their natural environment. So many humans believe they understand animals, but few take the time to study their behaviours outside of the world we have created for them.

Watching Jim Anderson and the emotional connection he shares with the horse was a pleasure. It gives me great ease when humans take the time to understand the mind of an animal, to know how and why they react to situations and to be the support they need in times of doubt.

Overall, EQUUS was an incredible look into the world of the horse. Spending time with them daily has given me a great sense of appreciation. Learning more about their genetic makeup and history will only strengthen the bond I share with these incredible beings.

Don't miss Equus: Story of the Horse, Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 8 PM on CBC.