Donna Condrey–Miller - Official NHE Representative in California, USA
21st Century Renaissance
To hear about how people came to have horses in their lives is to sit back to a rendition of a classic story.
They are often romantic tales filled with emotional destiny. They are rarely without an element of sadness, perhaps leaving us with a sense of despair or longing or regret.
Still, some may elicit feelings of compassion, gratitude and even heroism.
When the sagas are also rife with deceit, cruelty and servitude put upon the horse to varying degrees, it is then we realize the troubled portrait of human nature that dominant society has created to uphold and justify superiority in the name of our self appointed classification of Homo sapiens.
If one does not interpret such character as suspect, then the rest of this essay will be of no interest.
Yet, if your journey through life with horses – or even without them – has tripped an emotional and intellectual switch that compels you to question the way things are, to honor your intuition that says authority and tradition do not automatically denote righteousness, you can undoubtedly be inspired, as I am, by Alexander Nevzorov and his New Haute Ecole His visionary trail blazing has proved that man can develop a mutually cooperative relationship with a horse, including physical exercises that increase the horse’s strength and joyous expression of health, and further, including interactions that engage the horse’s mind, all by acknowledging the horse as an intelligent and rational being capable of willingly entering and maintaining the friendship with freedom of choice.
He has demonstrated that the horse training methods of inflicting force, pain and fear belong to a dark age of ignorance, and we may add selfishness and greed, as to why humans continue to treat horses as commodities and disposable entities. By now Nevzorov has gone on to build upon his foundation principles to showcase the mental affinity horses have to humans by his investigation into brain anatomy. His conclusions led him to revive Lectio Equaria Palaestra (LEP) or Manege Horse Reading. To see him practicing this congenial art with his stallion Kaogi underscores Nevzorov’s genius to tap into the deep reservoir of natural phenomena and dispel the myths that suppress such truths to the realm of science fiction, supernatural miracles or charlatan trickery.
To loyal NHE enthusiasts and earnest students this line of thought is second nature and we follow in Alexander’s footsteps developing relationships with our horses to the levels most appropriate for each horse and his person. T o interested newcomers just reading the books and articles by Alexander Nevzorov or his students for the first time, it is an exciting preview of what is possible in their equine relationships. It is a validation of their brave decision to step out of the mainstream and embrace an enlightened outlook.
It is important to note that none of Alexander Nevzorov’s achievements came without soul searching, without studying the horse completely, without his willingness to lay down his egoism and see himself as part of a bigger picture. NHE students develop in the same way. Each of us has our own experience that reflects our personal situation that centers on the simple tenets: Primum non nocere (First do no harm), The Horse is Always Right, and The Horse is an Exact Science.
For the students that come to NHE from any of the various conventional equestrian disciplines, or a combination of them, as I did, there is a sense of relief. This is also a safe haven for those who never could accept any traditional equine theory, but felt isolated in their ideas while bombarded by the insanity of the equine industry. At last we are among a group of like minded people who do not think we’re out of our minds for being uneasy with the status quo.
I can admit that, at first, I was a little skeptical that NHE was really going to be all that different. In hindsight, I can say it was because my mind was still half paralyzed by the prevailing paradigm of how we live. I’m delighted to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. My learning curve became very steep – not because I didn’t know anything about horses, but because just about everything I knew about them was a lie. Within NHE the falsehoods fell like dominos. My skepticism vanished and I felt grounded by this philosophy while a whole new way of thinking opened up before me.
Even in my profession as a barefoot trimmer I was given pause when I saw the horse behind the eyes. The ubiquitous “behavior issues” and the sick, sore and broken bodies were not what horses were; they were what we had made them. Most domesticated or captured horses are subjected to lives as enslaved prisoners to be used in hard labor, entertainment or as sports equipment – even with “love” they are indentured. They are rarely acknowledged as individuals with a boundless capacity to feel and think and disagree. Even horses who serve in what might be classified as light work are still not free.
Unfortunately, the option of releasing horses to true freedom is hardly possible given the state of organization of human society that has even robbed us of many freedoms, save our ideas. However, NHE is an armature for building an alternative.
The international community of the School and the Horse R evolution is a powerful repository of thinkers, writers, film makers, artists, scientists and activists who share a vision. Each one works from his or her strengths and we all become better educated by the exchanges.
We radiate from the great potential of friendship between human and horse and realize that it doesn’t stop there.
As we expose the disease of society in its treatment of horses, I easily see it apply to farm animals and pets and then even our own species. I better understand the tight connections between all species and nature. I discover correlations and consequences and understand that in the light of NHE I am on a path home where humans can be reconciled with nature to a degree which, perhaps we have been led to believe, has been lost forever.
Maybe we cannot go back as though nothing had happened, yet we only have to walk away from what is and live our new paradigm into the future.
The challenge is daunting, but if the forum membership is any indicator there is a growth trend toward this possibility of new traditions. Within the few years that I have been living an NHE lifestyle with my horses, the NHE books and films have reached thousands and thousands of people worldwide. I t is taking a foot hold and people are branching out, extending the message, delivering it in their own voices. T hey are vibrant examples that by acknowledging the sentient intelligence of horses – and all other animals – that it is a positive venture to lay our egoism aside and thrive on the joy that comes from mutual respect of our fellow earthlings rather than the rigid fear and hate that have been the products of civilization for so many thousands of years.
My assertions may seem far afield from the basic reason someone may join NHE, which is to develop a kinder, better, healthier relationship with one’s horses. This aspect is still the cornerstone of NHE. The beauty of the learning environment is that by putting the well being of the horse first each student undergoes self development, which leads to a heightened sense of responsibility and self control, which then leads to the study of science in order to meet the deepest needs of our horses, as well, as to fortify the case for the Horse Revolution.
I certainly did not expect that the philosophy of freedom of choice for a horse would ignite a 21st Century Renaissance for humanity. Yót, it is nothing short of thrilling to be at the forefront of this awareness.
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Currently I have four delightful and noble horse friends. They all knew traditional methods of training, riding and competition – from the race track to the jumping and dressage arenas to the confounded round pen and its accompanying sticks and ropes.
Now we spend our days in real two way conversations where I do a lot of listening. And my tack room is a dusty museum.
My unending gratitude goes Alexander Nevzorov and Lydia Nevzorova for tirelessly sharing the insights of their hard work and for maintaining the highest standards for which we all aspire. I would also like thank my dedicated School mates and fellow NHE Forum members who enrich my journey.
Photos courtesy of the author