In modern society, the horse ownership is often regarded as a luxury of the wealthy or the hobby of eccentrics.
But high in the Himalayas of Nepal, where the way of life hasn’t changed in centuries, the Lo people of Mustang still depend on the horse for their survival and place the equine at the center of their Tibetan-based cultural and spiritual life. These unique peoples, and their struggle against globalization, are at the subject of a beautiful documentary from the Horsefly Films’ Rare Equine Trust series.
The cornerstone of Talking to the Air: The Horses of the Last Forbidden Kingdom is the three-day Yartung Horse Festival celebrating the end of the monsoon and its daring horse race in which riders are said to be “talking to the air” as they careen along on their small, strong horses.
But you quickly learn that the horse is much more than just a sports partner. To the people of Mustang, Nepal, a good horse is a promise of good fortune, and superior horsemanship is a skill greatly prized. Check out the trailer to get a better sense of this endangered equestrian culture.
Talking to the Air is in fact just one of several past and future project of the Horsefly Films’ Rare Equine Trust. The global mission of this cinematic library, started by the directing/producing team of Sophie Dia Pegrum and Jen Miller, is to shed light on diverse cultures, rare equine breeds and unique stories centered around the horse, in hopes of preserving these fading equestrian cultures and the ancient bond between man and horse.
Past films include Of Gods And Kings, which is about the critically endangered Skyrian Horse of Skyros Island in Greece.
Path To Glory, which chronicles the rise of the Polish Arabian Horse.
And Tarpan: Repainting An Ancient Picture, a film celebrating the truly ancient and wild horse of Europe.
The Rare Equine Trust partnership also has two new documentaries in the works for eager audiences. Jorgo focuses on a young man in Kyrgyzstan struggling to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors’ traditional nomadic life with little more than a hut, his young wife, and his most treasured horse.
Finally, Pegrum and Miller are focusing their lens on an extremely rare breed from their own backyard of Southern California. Stallion of a Dream: California and the Camarillo White Horse chronicles the history, mythology and current legacy of the Camarillo White Horse and the Camarillo family.
To purchase these films, support the future films, or just to learn more about Horsefly Films’ Rare Equine Trust, I encourage you to take a look around their website, rareequinetrust.com.
About the Author
Marjorie Wilkinson is the co-founder and co-editor of Counter-Canter Culture—a revolutionary online publication intended to unite the equestrians and equestrian-enthusiasts who aren’t afraid to kick up the dust that has settled on the conventional equine lifestyle. She is also a real-life Hollywood music supervisor and the official curator of Counter-Canter Culture’s musical column, 100% Sound.