Abstract: The notion that the horse is an animal of cultural significance to Australia continues to hold currency, yet it remains vaguely expressed, couched amid allusions to tradition, history, and heritage. These nebulous assertions are themselves underpinned by an affective regard for the horse as a species. This paper focuses on the ways this affective regard is constituted, and how it is deployed, within the context of Australia’s recent brumby debates. While much scientific evidence in favour of removing the brumbies from Australia’s National Parks has been tendered to the public, the affective element of the brumby debate has thus far been ignored. It is my contention that it is only through the acknowledgement of these affective elements, and finding a legitimate avenue for their expression, that there is any possibility for compromise.
Keywords: brumby; national identity; heritage; affect; emotions.