On the Reasons for becoming a Horse|
The desire to be different is very natural for a human: always do we wish to be something we are
not. There is much to admire in many animal forms: to fly like a bird; to swim like a
fish; to be stronger or faster or more beautiful or graceful. The horse represents an
ideal in many people's minds: he is fast and strong, yet gentle and noble natured. Often
possessed of startling beauty and grace, he has reached divinity in the minds of several
peoples. He is a creature that can flourish both in the wild and in domesticity. His
sexuality and virility are legendary. For all these reasons and more, the form of the
horse beckons to some people. In some, there is merely curiosity to see life from a
different perspective: a brief sojourn into another world. In others it is a fervent
desire to abandon the oppressive weight of civilisation and become a simpler, purer
creature. There is no right or wrong reason for seeking to become a horse, but the
subject should be clear in his own mind what he seeks to achieve and to be entirely
honest with himself.
NB: the reader is advised not to seek equine transformation for reasons of
sexual gratification if using a magical transformation. Many magics are sexually
sensitive, driven as they are by the casters will and belief. A certain degree of magical
flux will persist for some time after the transformation appears to be complete, and
sexual bonding within this time can have unpredictable effects. Documented hazards of
this nature include:
- Being unable to reverse the transformation if and while a pregnancy results.
- If the magic flux is high, becoming your own foal.
- Accelerating the phenomena known as "shape loss" (see below).
- Permanently enhancing one's libido to the exclusion of all other considerations.
On the Morality of becoming a Horse
Let they who would change their form beware! Transformation into an animal form is a
precinct outside the normal moralities of the human race. Seldom can any animal live by a
human code: it is necessary to adopt the behaviour and customs of the animal you seek to
become. There will be many who despise and fear the ideal of transformation into an animal
form. Many have transformed themselves not realising the full impact on their sense of
self. Taboos which hold humanity in a rigid vice can have no hold on an animal. A horse
is a creature of powerful instinct. Those who seek to transform even for a short duration
would do well to study their subject and meditate upon all aspects of equine existence:
if they cannot reconcile themselves with each and every aspect, they are strongly advised
not to proceed.
On the choosing of Methods
Many are the ways in which one may transform oneself, and sober consideration must be
given to all. Transformation is an inherently dangerous practice, however it is affected.
You must pay great attention to what might go wrong, and not let your desire to change
shape blind you to good sense. Some methods are painful - some to an extremity which risks
the onset of insanity. Some do not preserve the Self: one's vital core of personal
identity - see below. Varying methods bestow differing levels of intelligence in the
final form. Some include the inherent knowledge of how to operate a new form, whilst
other do not. Instinct is an important part of a true equine: it has advantages and
disadvantages for those seeking to be a horse. The duration of the transformation is
not something to be ignored. Interim stages in any transformation can be uncomfortable
and awkward at best. In the case of magical transformations, be sure the final form is
one you will be happy with: is it gender specific? What breed, what colour, what state
of health will it bestow? Rarely does one see greater chagrin than in the man who sought
to become a mighty stallion, only to find himself a nubile filly!
On the Preservation of Self
Some techniques impose equine intelligence and behavioural patterns - sometimes at the
cost of the subjects sense of Self. The latter case is to be avoided at all costs as it
is tantamount to destroying oneself and creating a horse from one's mortal substance.
This is not the same as the peril (sometimes consciously sought) of losing oneself to
the nature of the beast, where all lingering ties with humanity are slowly severed: the
subject then still regards himself as Himself, even if he then believes himself to be
utterly horse. Preservation of Self is the essence of true transformation.
The Dangers of Shape Loss
A well documented danger, particularly in magical transformations, is that of Shape Loss.
While some spells instantly impose an equine level of intelligence, others are more
insidious. Following the physical transformation, the mind changes much more slowly,
and often engenders a false sense of security in the unwary. Thinking themselves to be
still human at heart, they are unaware of the equine behavioural patterns that slowly
creep in, until quite without realising or intending it, they become fully equine both
mentally and physically. In many enchantments, this point marks the point at which the
new shape can be revoked by a simple counterspell: the shape is now their own. Shape Loss
progresses at a different rate according to the kind of spell and the individual's own
inclinations. It can take hours or years.
Preparations I : Before transformation is attempted.
The level of preparation will depend greatly on which technique you choose: I shall
concentrate on the commoner form of magical metamorphosis, where the form changes
gradually over a period of seconds or minutes.
- Location: Though a simple consideration, this is often neglected.
Privacy is often desirable, but it is surprising just how many people give thought to
this aspect alone and ignore the more practical aspects. Ensure you have sufficient room
to change: do not underestimate the size of a horse. If you are changing in a structure
of some sort, be sure that as a horse you can escape it. Avoid transforming upstairs.
- Physical Preparations: Unless your chosen method automatically takes
care of clothing (some spells utilise it as mass), it is often advisable to undress
beforehand. Many textiles, denim especially, are not sufficiently yielding to take
chances with. Jewellery should be removed, footwear, and especially belts of any kind.
Underwear may be retained for those with severe clothing taboos as it tends to be
yielding enough to tear, but not wire-enforced garments. A towel or blanket loosely
draped is probably the best solution, but if your taboo against nudity is that strong,
one should consider the implications of being a horse more thoroughly.
Something many people neglect, often to their detriment, are such things as contact
lenses, tooth fillings, and body piercings: make sure that where possible, such things
are removed prior to transformation. A related point is the subject of horse shoes when
returning to human form: best to have them removed prior to return.
- Assistance: It is invaluable to have a friend or a confidant at hand
both during and after the transformation. They can cover for you, provide a pair of hands
in a hurry should you have overlooked something (did you unlock the back door?) and it is
always useful, in today's sceptical climate, to have someone who knows and accepts that
you are a horse. If you run into difficulties, they are the ones that can prevent the
numerous hazards of equine life. Having an "owner" for instance, makes life as a domestic
horse much more tolerable. Should you be so unfortunate as to break a leg in equine form,
they are essential in preventing the traditional lamentable remedy for this state (it is
worth bearing in mind that, newly come to quadrupedal life, your chances of suffering such
a mishap are significantly higher than that of a natural horse).
- Arrangements: Depending upon your intentions while in equine form, you
should make as many provisions as possible for your equine shape before you go anywhere
near that potion bottle or operating theatre. Have you allowed for food and shelter.
Being pessimistic, if the worst should happen, have you made a will? Think of things such
as a stash of clothing where you can get to it in case of an unexpected return to human
form (along with such items as money and door keys). It is the mundane precautions that
would-be equines, in their eagerness to assume their new form, so often forget, and
Preparations II : During the transformation
Transformations vary greatly, and you must research the implications of the type you have
chosen. Try to assume a position tenable to both human and equine postures: crouch on all
fours or lie on your side: the latter tends to be preferable as almost all transformation
techniques involve some loss of balance and coordination: sometimes fine motor control is
lost and dizziness is a common side effect, caused by varying blood pressures and by the
inevitable disorientation of inhabiting a new body. Expect wildy varying pulse rates, and
an associated adrenaline rush. Though not essential, it is often a good idea to relieve
oneself beforehand, as bladder and bowel control may be temporarily lost. The dramatic
increase in mass often places a strain on the individual and some transformations require
the subject to take on additional mass as he changes. Make sure you plan for this. Bread
and cereal foods, soya beans and potatoes are all excellent bulk-building foods. Please
note that some transformations can be very painful, but it is not a good idea to take pain
killers before hand. Not only can these interfere with spell components, human pain
killers may have an adverse condition on an equine metabolism. If you have a low
tolerance to pain, avoid such methods. It is often a good idea
to relieve oneself beforehand, as bladder and bowel control may be temporarily lost.
Preparation III : After the transformation
The greatest danger following any transformation is shock: knowing what to expect will
lessen this. Every body system will have undergone major disruption, and new senses will
be delivering wildly different sensory information: scent and hearing will be acutely
enhanced. Taste and touch will remain largely unaffected. Eyesight can be very
disorienting. Binocular vision can only be achieved by looking straight ahead, and this is
recommended for the first few minutes or keeping one's eyes shut. Your eyes will no longer
focus: the equine eye has a lens of fixed shape with an oval field of vision, near focused
in the centre and graduated out to distant vision at the periphery. Contrary to popular
belief, horses do not see in "black and white", but neither do they see colours as we do.
Horses are sensitive to red and blue light, but not green: occurring in the middle of the
horse's visual perception range, green objects appear white.
Feet, tail, and ears especially can cause confusing sensations: all will be emitting
different signals to those received as a human. "Phantom finger syndrome" is common but
quickly fades as the mind acclimatises.
In those transformations involving mental imposition, try to resist the temptation to do
anything for as long as possible (at least ten minutes). New instincts will
initially be almost overpowering, and the wrong stimulus at the wrong time can at best be
embarrassing; at worst downright dangerous. Men should avoid transforming anywhere within
scent of a mare: women should avoid stallions. The problem is made worse by one's new form
often giving off a veritable "pheromone explosion" as the equine metabolism kick-starts.
Any sexually receptive potential mate is liable to react with strong enthusiasm. The
panic-flee response can also cause potentially dangerous reactions, given the adrenaline
charged condition of the recently transformed. Any sudden noise or sudden event can cause
a blind panic. Coupled with the disorientation of your new senses, a panic can cause
serious or fatal injury. Be warned!
A seldom mentioned factor (the better enchantments take this into account) is the symbiotic
bacteria that live in a horse's gut, without which you will be unable to digest grass. For
obvious reasons, it is important to know whether or not these bacteria are present in you,
and preferably not by grazing and seeing if you starve or not. If you are unsure, it is
better to take precautions. Foals acquire the bacterium by eating dung, an instinctive
behaviour they soon grow out of. However, a good veterinary supplier can also provide the
proper culture in a (slightly) more palatable form, or subsisting on artificial feeds
alone may suffice.
The points raised above should give a taste of the many factors to be taken into account
when planning to undergo an equine transformation. The list is by no means complete, but
many factors are specific to the precise nature of the transformation. The difference
between disaster and a truly magical new experience is simply a matter of careful
forethought and good sense: plan ahead, and don't get carried away by enthusiasm, and
the rewards of assuming this wondrous form can be many and varied.