Lovisa Nilsson - Official NHE Representative in Sweden
Sometimes a horse picks his human, at least that was the case when we first saw the little chestnut confined in his tiny box at a race stable. Lucky for me it was actually my boyfriend he chose! Standing with his head as far out of the box as he could there was just something about him that said “Here I am, pick me!” A few weeks later he left the racetrack for good…
As with most children, horses fascinated me. I started riding at a local riding school but I remember it was not what I had expected and as much as I loved horses I was terrified to sit on the back. Doing what I was told however cured me of any sane emotions and I started to enjoy it, I even became good at it. Not long after, the hunt for plaques and rosettes began.
Around the same time I met the little chestnut my old horse was sent back to the breeder for retirement. At the age of 16 he was broken by so called equestrian sports. I remember the first time the little chestnut was let out in a pasture. I had been given a warning by the owner of the race stable to keep him in a small pasture until he was accustomed to his new surroundings. As I was boarding my horses and the pastures were all tiny little squares that wasn‘t much of a problem. He had however not seen a pasture for three years, which would account for most of his life as he was four years old. When I unfastened the lead rope I thought he would run and play, he did run but only three strides and then he stopped, ran another three strides and stopped again. That was the length of the walker at the race stable. Apart from the tiny box that was where he’d spent most of his time…
A year later we bought our own place. By then the little chestnut was having serious hoof problems, I spent hours floating him to the farrier and finally my farrier told me the best thing for him would be to be barefoot for a while for his hooves to heal. That didn’t sit too well with me; if he was to be barefoot I’d have to stop his so called training. So the search began for an alternative to iron shoes. And I was fascinated by what I learned about hooves! I read and read every book and article I could get my hands on and I tried hard to locate a trimmer to help rehabilitate his hooves. However my search for a trimmer proved in vain and the only alternative I had left was to gain an education and trim him myself. Said and done and soon all the horses in the stable were iron free. Never would I put iron shoes on a horse again.
My search of on bare hoof trimming led me to a webpage with a small photo clip of a man and his black stallion. I watched picture after picture in wonder and thought “How is this possible?” The immense pride and joy in the horse’s eyes amazed me. That day I left it at that but it was like a constant itch, I couldn’t quite shake it off. I tried to go about my days as before but the itching persisted. Af-ter a few weeks I found the webpage of this amazing man, Alexander Nevzorov. And my whole life was turned upside down. I was given new eyes to look through and the pain in the eyes of the horses in sport was the same I had seen in my own horses. And I wept. Never would I do that to a horse again.
When I joined the forum I realized not only did I have a lot to learn (and still do), I had quite a lot to unlearn as well. The School brought about a whole new perspective, not only about horses but about the essence of life itself. Looking back at the time I pursued equestrian sports I can honestly say I do not like the person I was.
I was cleaning the stables the other day in order to repaint when I realized the plaques were still hanging on a box wall. I hadn’t given them a thought in years. Plastic and cheap metal with silly engravings and even a hilariously ugly cartoon horse with a child hanging by the reins. And it struck me that this crap had once meant more to me than the life of my horse. That day I happily sent them with the rest of the garbage.
The little chestnut horse has taken me on a soul searching journey and he has changed my life. Little did they know at the race stable how fitting a name they had given him. The name they gave him is Never Again.
Three other horses have joined us along the way, beautiful Dinah, broken by sports but full of spirit and loving care. Her son Dirigo, born a warm summer’s eve, has known no other way than NHE. And at last the shy little Strawberry that came to stay.
We have a few horses boarded but their humans have to be likeminded. I also trim for a select few but that goes for them too.
Îur little daughter five months old tried to sit up to touch Strawberry but did not quite make it. The fascination in her face has found a match in this gentle little horse. Regardless of whether she will want to be around horses or not when she grows up, I am relieved to know I will never see the blank stare and angry grimace of the children in equestrian sport on her. No child should have to grow up with the mixed emotions of equestrianism, forced upon them by tradition.
Today a bright light shines in the eyes of my horses and every time I see them I am full of joy and I would like to extend my gratitude and admiration to Alexander and Lydia for showing the world a new way, the right way.
Lovisa Nilsson Photo courtesy by Peter Larsson