If the first season of Silver Spoon‘s mascot was the pig, the second season’s central animal would almost certainly be the horse.
With this juxtaposition, we see two very different representations of farm animals. Pigs, no matter how cute and personable they are, in the end, are nothing but livestock, raised to be consumed by human beings. (This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t respect their lives and treat them well.)
On the flip side, horses are portrayed as incredibly intelligent creatures that are not only respected by often worshipped by farmers, who rely on their great strength and speed to earn their living.
Horses are the foundation of all things!
A large part of this difference is due to the difference in roles that horses play in agriculture. Unlike pigs that are bred specifically for their meat, horses work in partnership with humans to get things done, from cultivation of crops to transporting heavy loads. We’ve already seen in the first season, how horses are celebrated for their ridiculous strength, as seen in the Ban’ei horse racing, where powerfully built horses compete by pulling monstrously heavy loads up a sandy slope.
In the first season, Hachiken’s conflict revolved around finding out how to overcome his crippling apathy and rekindle his passion for learning while freeing himself from his prejudices of traditional high school achievement standards.
Appropriately, the second season focuses on the direction of his passion. While Hachiken’s enthusiasm to learn about animals and agricultural techniques has grown, there’s a lot left he needs to learn.
Horses are actually a good place to start for Hachiken, who faces the obstacle of not being able to get Maron, a school horse with attitude, to jump. Normally, being incompetent at this wouldn’t be an issue but Hachiken suffers a relapse in insecurity when he sees his fellow clubmates easily getting their horses to jump on command.
It’s been emphasized that horses are particularly attuned to human emotions. Maron’s attitude aside, we can feel Hachiken’s inner tension as he becomes more frustrated at something he perceives to be a simple task but is having trouble following through on. After drifting for so long from task to task, Hachiken’s drive for control is explainable, though clearly not the solution to his problem.
“It’s not all about you! Horses can get tired! You’ve got to think about your partner too!” -Mikage
It’s not until Hachiken sees some horsemanship himself that he realizes how much the sport requires the horse’s cooperation. As his senpai helpfully points out, horsemanship looks like a human-driven sport when in actuality, the horse is doing “70 percent of the job.” What’s holding Hachiken back is not so much his lack of experience but rather his lack of faith in Maron’s ability.
“I’m a worthless maggot, so it’s all up to you! I’m counting on you, Maron!”
Once Hachiken swallows his pride and puts his faith in Maron’s ability, he is finally able to soar to higher heights. Confidence isn’t just about having faith in oneself–it’s about trusting in the ability of others.
Maron also reveals his true colors as the most tsundere horse by dumping his rider after giving him his high, reminding us that as much as we can coax nature into helping us, we should never forget that nature at its core is wild, capricious and ever deserving of our awe.