Emin Mahir Başdoğan has been a rider for many years. His passion for horses dates back to his childhood. After college, he continued his professional life in business for a while. But after a while he began to work on horseback riding. Başdoğan, who moved to Çanakkale Bayramiç with his horses six years ago, recently published a book called Our Words to the Horse by Yazı Gen Publications. “As our equestrian culture is erased from our language, it is also erased from our hearts,” says Başdoğan.
How did you meet the horse, where did this story start?
It started with love. I loved a 13 year old horse. My mother and my father bought me this horse. His name was Pakize. I spent these summer holidays with Pakize very happily. But my mother, impressing my father, said, “That boy was very fond of horses. This situation also affects his future professional life. Let’s sell the horse and get the boy to play tennis,” he said. Then the horse left and the tennis racket came to me. At 13, from whom the horse was taken, I played tennis for years with aversion. But the leaven of that first love did not die. I bought a horse after college. They asked Aşık Veysel what love is, he replied: “I loved a girl, they didn’t give it away, it was love. It wouldn’t be love if they abandoned the girl. So is my horse story.
THE TROUBLE LAWYER
Now you live in Bayramiç. At a horse farm. You say you go horseback riding, not horseback riding. Did you settle in Bayramiç for yourself or for the horses?
We had two horses on our friend’s farm in Istanbul. Of course, I had horses before that. But this farm was closed and we stayed with our horses. When we were in the middle, a friend recommended Bayramiç to us. I went there with the concern of finding a place for the horses. Horse love is not a business like let me love it now. It really is a job to which you have to devote all your time. This is not the job of a greedy human being. It’s not enough to say let’s go paragliding and watch horses. The horse tames. A friend of mine called me a while ago and said he wanted to buy a baby horse. I said don’t take it either. He talks about taking care of a 20-day-old horse without a mother. The other party said something that I will never forget.
“Mahir Hodja, how can I be a rider if I don’t have this problem now?” mentioned. The horse is a school.
LEARN TO BE A FLYING HORSE
You go to Bayramiç with your horse named Uçar. What has this change brought to Mahir Hodja, who has lived most of his life in the city, and to Uçar, who has spent most of his life away from nature?
This is our sixth year at Bayramiç. This is Uçar’s tenth year with me. He was 15 when I got him. He has changed a lot. Uçar was imported from abroad for a certain job. Only bred for dressage. But in doing that, he missed life, he didn’t live it. Just like young children who are constantly studying for exams but haven’t argued with a friend on the street or had a cup of tea… Uçar doesn’t do the dressage she’s learned now, she learn to be a horse.
What did you learn learning to be a flying horse?
I learned what I can’t do. I used to get professional help when taking care of animals in Istanbul. I had grooms. Now I have learned to do my own business. But I can’t ride a horse. Because I don’t have time to ride a horse.
The horse has an ancient place in our culture. However, we are at a very different point now. What came out of our lives with the horse?
It is very difficult to answer that. But I can explain it this way. While I was here at the moment, a young man volunteered to take care of the horses in our house. He is only 14 years old, but he is responsible for all night care and he does it of his own free will. Of course, we also have a professional groom who takes care of it during the day. There are many people who share this pleasure with me. It is a pleasure that we share with some people. We have no significant success at the moment, we are just saving the day. But in our village, 12 horses are kept. I have friends around me who buy horses.
You said we are close to horses in our culture, I know how to avoid horses. I know people are selling their dream horses and cars. Boat and horse, the day you buy and sell these two, you say oh. But if you’re willing to live with trouble, you can be a rider.
So what does the saying “our name is our horse” mean to us?
It is said that in Turkish lands except Turkey and Azerbaijan, the person’s name and his horse are expressed with the same word. So when someone asks you what your name is, you can very well answer with the name of your horse. So many horses are people. Whatever your horse is, it’s your name. What I am, my horse is. This is true not only in the East, but also in the West. We have come to this day since this day alienation is at an extreme. We have moved away from the father, we have moved away from ourselves. The horse is the body; the horse is the soul; The horse is what crosses you… The horse is the scoundrel in you. The horse pulls a load, the ship is hit, its power is used. Sometimes he rebels, most of the time he bears his burden. This is what we attribute to ourselves. There’s nothing a horse wouldn’t do for a pinch of weed, is there?
Why did you write Our Words to the Horse?
In a simple search, I realized that I came across a maximum of 15-16 horse-related proverbs and idioms. As our equestrian culture is erased from our language, it is also being erased from our hearts. I wrote the book to share these words. We have collected more than 200 expressions about horses. Unfortunately, we have unstable riding. The horsemanship of the men we call riders has been damaged by a great oversight. It is acceptable to “forget” when we substitute something else. But there is nothing else in this oblivion. It’s not just about riding. This is also true in other areas of our lives.
My horse is what I am
You say that equines and equestrians are different. How do you define riding? It’s also a choice, some people are results oriented. For some people, riding a horse and feeling good is enough on its own. It feeds on the number of centimeters it jumps, the number of meters it travels. Of course, for some people this is not enough. I said it; I am what I am, my horse too…
Esp, koń, ló and our horse
What is the origin of the word horse? I don’t know exactly, but they say esp in Persian, ló in Hungarian, kon in Polish. In the ancient equestrian kingdoms, it was called with short words that the horse could understand. I see it’s a bit longer in Western languages. For example, horse is a five-letter word. This does not mean that those who use this language do not have horses in their lives. Only words with one sound were used in ancient times. For example, in the village where I live, the children call forty horses. The sound of a horse gnawing something is actually forty.
It’s a way to be perfect
Jonh Berger, “Why do we take care of animals? In his book, he says animals have drifted away from their duties in the home and are now only included in our lives as pets. Has this changed our vision of the horse? Horses aren’t just for riding. As the culture deepens and takes shape, its benefits to the person who had not thought before come into play. It is a way of being perfect. When you stand with a horse, you stand with yourself. We have also militarized the horse. Militarization and sporification are the same thing. Both narrow. It also reduces perspective.