Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28, 2010

It's Tuesday and I start the journey away from this home tomorrow. I haven't written about it here yet but after the NHE seminar in Canada I'll be attending the annual conference for the European Association for Horse Assisted Education (EAHAE) in Windsor England October 8-10, 2010. I have been feeling very strongly the message that I will be carrying with me to the lands of Canada and England. It's not only a message from the horses but from everyone who is ready to find peace.

I walked down to the pasture today in what probably will prove to be the last heat wave of the season. It was a little before noon and the temperatures were already over 90 degrees Farenheit (32 Celcius for those of you I'll be visiting soon). I thought the horses might appreciate getting hosed off since they don't have access to a pond or river to help stay cool and chase away the bugs.

As I was hosing the horses I started to take the following videos.

At annual conferences people present their research. I will be attending the conference in England because the Path of the Horse will be showing, not as a speaker, but I was thinking about what I would have to present at the conference.

Well, here's the answer. Watch the videos and you'll see some minutes of what I did today with the horses. Sofi, the pinto pony has been scared about having water sprayed on her. When I used to work with her with a halter, I would just tie her and force her to stand for it, but now that we don't work with a halter or any sort of restraint I saw an opportunity to work with her in the way that I wish I would have worked with her from the very beginning. Read more of her story here.

More of Patrik enjoying the water.

Sundance joining in...

When the horses seemed to have enough of the water, Patrik led the others over to a good rolling spot. I figured I'd leave and get my packing started but I chose to go through the gate at the other end of the field. Here's what happened.

Here is a video I present as a question. My horses yawn frequently, and lick and chew. I've heard peoples' theories about yawning being a sign that a horse is content, stressed, "processing", "releasing". I took this video because I saw Sofi yawning when I was scratching her (a regular occurrence). In the video you'll see when she seems to have had enough and move on, and then Sundance comes up for some scratches. I didn't get the yawning response from Sundance here, partly I think because when I'm trying to video and get into the horse space at the same time, I don't do either particularly well. They are equally likely to start yawning when they don't seem to understand something I'm trying to communicate.

This last video is focused on a new ball I got to use with the horses. They've had it in their pasture about 5 times now. Patrik quickly learned to pick it up and the others still aren't quite sure what to do with it. This video seems like a good representation of how I start playing with and introducing new things to the horses. Of course since I'm videoing I don't get as into it as I would without the camera in hand.

This is the last blog post I'm going to enter here until after I get back from the trip. I will be keeping a regular account of the trip on a new blog for people who have become sponsors. Any donated amount will help me fund this part of the journey and get you a link to the new sponsors blog so you can follow along. Click here to donate and get a link to the sponsor's blog.

We vote with our dollars every day. The foods we purchase, the entertainment we pay for, the learning we spend money on, and the animals we support all reflect our priorities. If you would like to vote with your dollars towards helping spread the Path of the Horse as I am walking it, this is the perfect opportunity.

Thanks for joining me and the horses in the pasture,

P.S. HorseTalk TV will be featuring a show with Alexander Nevzorov and myself. Click here to see a teaser.

Horse Talk TV episode 4 airs across Australia this Wed 29th Sept at 7pm Eastern Australia time and features a segment on Stormy May & Alexander Nevzorov. You can watch the show live streamed on broadband on www.tvs.org.au on Wed 7pm, with repeats on Fri. 12.30pm, Sat 10am.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NHE seminar in Canada

I'll be filming at an upcoming NHE seminar in Quebec, Canada next month. The seminar/workshop is being organized by the Dean of the online School and Canadian Representative, CloƩ Lacroix, and featured speaker is Michael Bevilacqua of Equi-Forme and NHE Worldwide Representative. I have a feeling that this footage might turn into my next video release. Anyone want to join us? It's October 2-3, 2010.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reading to the horses

I spent some time reading to the horses today.

Mustang Round Up Aug. 9 2010

‎2,301 of our horses are going to be rounded up next week and over 1,800 of them will be removed from their homes. Who will be there to watch and take responsibility for their welfare?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 17-24 2010

I have a lot of pictures from my phone since the last time I updated the blog. Let's get started...

Here is a video I took while still at Shasta the weekend before last. I've been editing a new clip that will be aired on HorseTalk TV in Australia and the US in September alongside a clip featuring Alexander Nevzorov. The pony (Zippy) and woman (Jamie) who are in this following video will be part of it.

Patrik has plenty of the flowers he likes to eat in the pasture right now.

Last weekend a crew of us moved the pipe panels to a new location. Now the horses are out on the pasture all the time. So far so good.

No respect for the huge truck that could run him over...

Sofi, coming for a scratch...

Ok, here's what you've all been waiting for...

Here was the mystery plant on June 19th...

...June 21st...

...a beautiful sunset...


...today, June 24th!

A hidden sister in the blackberry bushes.

One last look for today.

And here are the other flowers in the garden, enjoying a watering.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moments in the pasture

Here's a picture from the clinic. Ladybug and the ponies joined us for some carrots and apples through the kitchen window.

When I got home, there were more flowers in bloom...

Today I captured some precious moments with the horses in the pasture.

After I switched the video off, Sundance laid down and then I turned the camera back on...

Sundance standing guard as I sunbathed in the grass

On my way back up I checked out the mystery plants. Here's one of the buds that didn't get eaten.

Another mystery plant hidden amongst the berry bushes.

The blackberry bushes are in full bloom...

Monday, June 14, 2010

The entire experience

I've just arrived home from the NHE clinic and want to post this one picture, taken right before I left. I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to tell about the clinic in words because the entire experience was a forevision of what is possible when a group of people come together with so much love and sincerity and honesty that nothing more is needed.

Maybe the picture will say more than I can...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The clinic begins

Yesterday was the first official day of the NHE clinic at Mount Shasta. Cathy Scott has been a wonderful hostess with the huge support of her jack-of-all-trades husband Gary. Her daughter Jamie and grandkids Layla and Ian have added so much to the scene here too. Maurizio and I have been here since Wednesday and have settled in and have greeted each of the participants as they made their way here from Colorado, Arizona, and parts of California.

Align Center
Cathy's place, at the foot of Black Butte, who stands beside Mt. Shasta

The Lovely Mt. Shasta herself, shrouded

Maurizio and I helped Gary put the finishing touches on the ranch.

Maurizio screwing in the gate

This is Paisley, Cathy's newest addition, a BLM mustang filly

This is a video from my phone that I took yesterday of when Maurizio broke through with the Quarter Horse "Ladybug" and the two ponies, "Zippy" and "Patch"...the tiniest one is Allie. This was after a few tries of enticing them into wild games. We all were having a lot of fun.

(I can't tell if this video has uploaded correctly, will someone please comment?)

Yesterday morning I walked into the kitchen as everyone was finishing breakfast. I quickly became immersed in a conversation about how we are perceived as "people who don't ride". It was amazing to be in a room full of horse lovers who have horses and choose not to ride. A first for me. I pulled out my video camera and started filming with the hopes of being able to share this conversation with others who weren't able to be here.

Then we watched the Horse Encyclopedia 1 video by Alexander Nevzorov and paused between the two sections for a discussion about hooves (we have at least 6 barefoot trimmers here).

After a break for lunch we were ready for the horses. Maurizio spent a lot of time with Ladybug who has a history of extreme cowboy abuse and then some well-intentioned "natural horsemanship" that traumatized her more. He showed such love and gentleness towards her and he also had fun kicking around a soft ball and swishing a twig to help her have a different experience of a whip-like object. Next, it was time for the two ponies to have a turn. They roughhoused together and were interested in the ball and completely non-reactive to the twig-whip.

At the end of the day, both people and horses had come closer together. We've been sharing our stories and learning to listen to the horses and each other.

At the end of the day yesterday, the mountain glowed so brightly that my camera couldn't capture it.

I experienced the day flowing along with everybody giving their best presence, attention, questions, sincerity and openness. It has been a model of how life could be if we all brought our best selves up. Of course it is only a beginning.

The campfire burned brightly long into the night.....

This is the next step happening right now. As I write this, the group of us are gathered in the living room watching Alexander's Principles DVD.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nevzorov Haute Ecole clinic this weekend

There will be a Nevzorov Haute Ecole clinic happening this weekend (Friday-Sunday, June 11-13, 2010) in the beautiful area of Mt. Shasta, CA.

There are 4 spots still available for anybody who feels the call to attend. It will be led by the NHE representative from Italy, Maurizio Patti and I will likely be there as well.

Visit Catherine Scott's blog to get the details and email her ASAP if you would like to attend.

Catherine's email: cescott410@msn.com

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wild beauty

I've met some interesting people who might get behind he ERC - USA idea. I'll keep everyone posted about how that progresses via this blog.

Meanwhile, yesterday some friends and I ventured into the garden and found among other things, the carrots that had been planted last year and not harvested. I went right to work on that bed and unearthed some treats for the horses.

They aren't sweet or symmetrical...

...but the horses are enjoying them just the same. I imagine these are more like what wild carrots were first like before we bred them to be the things we recognize in stores.

Some bad news for the mystery plant...

...and good news for whatever is eating it...

...I'm not sure if it's some sort of bug or larger animal but for the past few days it has been getting eaten. There are others further back in the bushes that haven't been damaged yet, maybe the creature will get enough from the one plant and leave the others alone.

Some more beautiful pictures from the area.

This evening as I was walking down to the horses, amidst scattered raindrops, I looked over and saw these faint outlines. They didn't look like rain in the distance, more like smoke rising.

I zoomed in with the camera and got this. Very ethereal-looking.

When I went into the pasture, the horses were mostly grazing on the scotch broom blooms. I sat on a rock and got quiet. Patrik soon came to check me out...

He gave me some warm nuzzles, perhaps to see if I had brought him some carrots or other treats. After he saw I didn't have any treats he drifted off and Sofi came to visit. She wanted scratches. I spent some time scratching her from sitting on a low rock and then she seemed content to stand nearby and go into a quiet space. After a while, Patrik came back, Sofi moved off, Patrik again nuzzled me and then very gently approached Sofi who nickered at him. I watched, hoping for a miracle...

...and then it happened, they started scratching each other. I know this doesn't seem like much for other horses, but between these two it is big news. It has taken a lot for Sofi to feel safe enough to let Patrik get this close to her, and for Patrik to understand that she needs a gentle touch.

The encounter ended when Patrik got a little too rough on Sofi's spine and the two of them ran off together. I went to leave and as soon as I got to the gate, the three horses came galloping up. I went and got some more of the carrots and soon everyone was happily munching.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Equine Rights Coalition - USA

I have an interesting thought for today. I've been inspired by a couple of sources. First, I learned about what Natascha Smargiassi is doing in Switzerland. I first met Natascha through NHE and then got to know her better as she very thoroughly helped me research for the Path of the Horse video. Natascha is now working with the Animal Welfare Authorities in Switzerland towards the end of abolishing equine sports in Switzerland within 10 years.

The second source of inspiration was an email I got from a woman asking for more of the hard science behind what I show in the video in Alexander's section. She wants to have something concrete to explain to people why she doesn't ride. I have had many such requests and now I feel like it's time to do something more proactive about this shift that's happening within the horse world.

To this end, I'd like to propose getting together a group of people who are interested in working to promote equine rights within the USA. For now, I want to focus on the USA since that is where I live and the culture I am familiar with. If others want to facilitate similar ventures in their own country I'd be happy to share information.

Here is the vision I have for the Equine Rights Coalition - USA. Please respond and tell me if you have time, interest, or other talents or resources to put towards this venture.

ERC - USA the mission
  • To facilitate a shift in human perception from horses as riding or sport animals to fellow sentient beings with unalienable rights to healthy, pain-free lives.
  • To provide scientific documentation to support the case that current accepted treatment of horses is not a healthy, pain-free way of life for them.
  • To be a source for media or political organizations to go to for more information on the subject of equine rights.
  • To evaluate the necessity for and work towards legislation changes regarding equine rights.
Other activities that ERC - USA might be part of
  • Informational booths at various types of events
  • Publishing books and videos for children and/or adults
  • Hosting movie screenings and book signings for people who are in alignment with this cause
  • Hosting a website dedicated to the issues that ERC - USA supports
ERC - USA needs people who...
...can do the paperwork to get ERC - USA established as a 501c3 organization
...can write grants
...have a science background (especially veterinarians) and can conduct experiments and/or present scientific findings in papers or speeches
...are good communicators and believe that most current horse treatment is unethical
...would like to start equestrian centers based on healthy horse-human relationships to provide a model for the future
...want to be a voice for horses

One thing that feels very clear to me is that my job is to offer this opportunity to bring like-minded people together under the flag of equine rights. The shift is already taking place, there is something within people, especially younger generations, that tells them that something is wrong with the current model of working with horses. Our job will be to provide an organization that people who already have heard this calling in their hearts can lend their strengths and talents to.

I have no interest in "convincing" those people entrenched in the horse world that what they are doing is wrong. I will lend my strength to providing accurate scientific information and a new alternative, not fighting the old one. Those who are called will find us. If this calls to you, please email me at stormy@stormymay.com .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another day of wonder

Today I woke early to a foggy morning after yesterday's rain. Sunny wasn't even up to go on the adventure so I went by myself, taking time to explore each thing that stood out to me.

The heavy dew and rain made the grasses sparkle.

The mystery plant is continuing to climb and develop. We have three winners now who have correctly guessed what type of plant this is, but I will keep it a mystery here on the blog so we all can see her reveal herself before we name her.

The bottom of the mystery plant.

Here's a fellow I met in the road. If watching this doesn't slow you down I don't know what will. See if you can get into his space while watching this.

Another beauty.

Today was the day of Sofi's liberation. After a few weeks in the diet pen Sofi was very happy to get out. She eagerly grazed right near me...

...until I walked off...then this is what happened.

Down below, Patrik is turning to me.

A few minutes later here is the dynamic.

Whenever I don't know what to do with the horses I go back to exploring other things.

Then either I think of something else to try, or the horses come over and guide me.

Here is a flower I remember Patrik liked to eat last year. I picked it and gave it to him later as a "thank you" treat.

Meanwhile in the barn, Sophie (the black sheep) was keeping watch over Robin. Robin is very old and deaf and doesn't get up and out as quickly as the others. Sophie also keeps an eye on Kelly, the blind sheep.

Here I am graced with one of Sophie's hugs.

More diamond grasses.

I've never noticed clovers with six leaves before, two sets of three on each side of the clover flower.

Whether in the large view or small one, the pasture is alive with color. This is gold country that we live in. Apparently the gold can't stay underground anymore, it is popping out all over!

Later in the day I was doing some work with friends and we found and relocated this creature.

Here are the goats, Molly, the mother in the back with Joseph on the left and Priscilla coming up to me. After some tender scratches, I turned to leave...

...I looked back and saw they had all lined up to follow me.

The blooms of the blackberry bushes are just about ready to open.