Friday, April 2, 2010

A challenge

I thought this picture would give everyone an accurate assessment of what my day has been like.

My back is still sore although slowly getting better it seems. Things have also turned around for the neighbor horses and it looks like they might have a good forever-home by Monday. I am going crazy with not having seen my own horses for nearly a week now even though they are just a walk away...but a walk farther than I know is good for my back right now. The drifting snowflakes, driving rain, and caring housemates have helped me maintain my distance. It also always makes our eventual reunion that much sweeter. JD has been ever-vigilant and reliable about taking care of them.

Oh this blog is going to be so much fun for us!

Last night I was struck by the potential of this medium. Here we can create a virtual world of coming-together in preparation for real-life comings together, in this case under the disguise of promoting the idea that there is a consciousness shift going on in the way humans and horses are relating to each other, and exploring just what that means in each of our lives in a real, tangible way.

My vision as I see it right now is to use this space for the following purposes:

To be a place to evaluate what works and what doesn't towards the goal of creating more harmonious horse-human relations including being able to see with compassion where other people are at and to never stop questioning our own ways of being with horses and in other parts of our lives.

To help expand peoples' capacity to objectively "see" the current state of horse-human relations worldwide. It will happen here primarily through the use of photographs and video both of our own horses and links to what is shown in the media.

To never forget that this is all about something much bigger than horses and humans, but that relationship is the vehicle that we'll focus on.

I am not going to spend time on any "training techniques" or methods that I have gotten from NHE. I expect anybody who is serious about this path to sign up for the NHE forum and most importantly, start on their diaries there and keep them updated regularly in anticipation of becoming part of the NHE school. If anybody is having trouble with that, email me and I'll help resolve the problem. For those of us who are part of that forum, we can also use this space to explore some of the ideas from there.

A note about comments.

I think your comments are vital to this blog. Some comments, like Lynne's and others need nothing added. Others I will bring to everyone's attention if I think they can lead us somewhere new. The way I determine this direction is not based on what I've learned in NHE for the past 4 years, but from my 4 years of involvement with a teacher of a different kind. The simplest way I can describe him to horsefolk is that he is able to do with humans what Alexander Nevzorov has done with his horses...but in a much larger sense.

I would also like to make this a little more of a community by featuring a different reader as often as possible with photos of you and your horses or other ones dear to you. I think it will be a sweet way to get to know each other. Off the top of my head I'd like to feature Lisa, Jen-Ska, June, and CharlieHorse. Will the 4 of you send me pictures of you and your horses and a little blurb about where you live and what you're up to? Lisa, I already have shown your horses and I have that picture of you that I can use. Lynne we can read about on her blog and others of you probably have your own too, send those links! Any men out there? I just heard from Jean who I met at an NHE gathering in Canada a year and a half ago... Also, be sure to include your NHE name so we can read each others' diaries there. Email these to me: .

Ok, on to the next order of business! It seemed unanimous that the horse/human relationship chart is counterproductive to the direction we're headed. One little comment, by an anonymous poster caught my attention, s/he wrote:
As soon as I read it, I start to feel pressure about where I would fit in, and how I would get to the next level.
There is something here that we can chew on.

I wonder if others had this feeling as well. Did it challenge you and where you viewed yourself on this journey? If so, I think it has done its job. I wrote about moving from competition to compassion but until we are all levitating swamis there will be a positive purpose for competition, to inspire us to action. An example of useful competition is watching a trainer we look up to and wanting to do better with our own horses, or maybe your friend was able to drive through rush hour traffic with grace and ease and you secretly want to be able to do that too, or maybe we're inspired to learn botany to get ourselves a free Path of the Horse dvd (wink).

Here's a challenge for those who are up to it...hmmm...a little competition maybe?! There are different sides to every issue. Let's put our heads together and come up with 5 ways the horse/human relationship chart might be beneficial to people along the journey.

And...insert artful segue here...I realize that for most of you reading this blog I am "preaching to the choir" and you would probably be fine if you didn't watch the following links. But, there will be others coming across this who might be the people who took these pictures, watched these events happen, rode these horses, or have very different ways of seeing the animal we both call a horse. It is for those people that I want to start opening up different ways of seeing, like I tried to do with the comparison of the rope and leather halters in the previous entry.

Take a look at this page and in particular the cover to the 2010 Omnibus on the left. Here we see a rider staying on the horse by the full weight of her body hanging on the reins at the moment that the horse needs maximum freedom to get himself out of this predicament. I suspect the only reason the horse's mouth is closed is because it is being held shut by a flash noseband and because he appears to be in the midst of an adrenaline rush. Please don't confuse this with a happy horse! I point out this particular picture because we must assume that it is being put forth on the cover as "this is who we are and what we aspire to" by the association.

Here's another one, a current BBC news story that I found last night, click here and watch the slideshow and then come back here.

What can I say when this is news? So many happy smiling people, laughing girls, business as usual. I find it interesting that out of the hundreds of photographs she must have taken at this event, she chose the ones like #9 and 12. I wonder if she knew what she was photographing and slipped those in there as a behind-the-veil commentary.

I want to remind myself that it's not "us against them". They are us in other moments. And we are them as Gandhi lived and Lynne mirrored. Let's make this a place where people can come and find something their heart is searching for no matter what they did in the arena today.

Here are some of the little acorn efforts that are sprouting up all over. What a great visual reminder of the power of regeneration.


  1. Yes, you're very right when you say, "This is all about something much bigger than horses and humans."

    We're trying to liberate horses in a culture where it is a criminal offense not to put your child in school.

    But of course it's about way much more than that too.

    I'll send photos and stuff (eventually!) I'm not sure yet whether I plan to keep a NHE diary.

  2. Hi Stormy,

    I think this will be good to have more of a community and learn more about each other and to grow and learn from and with each other. I started my NHE diary today, just having trouble getting pictures uploaded there, but hopefully someone will answer my call for help and I'll get that sorted out as well.
    I felt challenged by the chart, but I think that I did see that it could be a benefit, sort of like a tachometer in your car. You know where it is healthy to rev your car to. Likewise we know how we ideally want to engage our horses in ways that are healthy and comfortable for the horse and secondly ourselves. We then can strive to keep our horse tachometer revving in the right range--I hope that makes sense.

  3. Hi Stormy,

    I am struggling to find a benefit of the chart. I was the anonymous poster who felt the pressure of it and I wonder if there is an opportunity to present it in a different way. For instance, no levels, but maybe steps ... kind of like the dressage training scale where you might gradually release more traditional approaches while heading toward the NHE standard of 5 minute rides, if at all. It just starts to feel so much like other "training systems".

    I do have a question about the NHE diary. Exactly what is it? I just posted my introduction today ... will my diary simply be the compilation of all my posts? I didn't really see a "diary" section ... forgive me if I'm being too literal.

    I found the links you included regrettably typical of the traditional horse world. I cannot help but observe that as we treat our horses, so we treat ourselves. Those people do not treat themselves with compassion ... so how, then could they possibly treat their horses with compassion? How do we help people love themselves so they can love their horses?

    As a girl, I wanted to ride. Coming back to horses after studying spiritual practices as an adult, I found compassion sadly lacking from most training approaches. This is indeed a spiritual practice, with a 1200 pound teacher!


  4. Here is a link to Finnish "Horse fair 2010" site.

    There are horrible photos already on the main page, and here is a link to last years gallery where you can find more pics :(