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How did it all begin?
Here's an extract from the Alexander Nevzorov's interview for the French journalists.
How did it all begin? How did you start working with horses? Is it a family trait? What was the first thing you’ve done?
Seeing daily the terrible human stupidity and cruelty towards horses around me, I came to the conclusion that there must be a way to work with horses in another manner, to understand them and to behave in such a way that horses could understand me.
I lived in the atmosphere of cruelty, watching how stunt men treated horses, how sportsmen tortured them every day.
All that those people do with horses is not related to the felling and passion that originally leads them to horses. This very sincere and pleasing feeling’s name is love for horses.
But exactly at the moment when they approach a horse, some “specialists” appear and begin to explain that horse must be beaten, that you need to pull the reins that are connected to a special metal instrument, named now “snaffle” now “pelham”
All the system of man and horse relations excludes any kind of love. Especially love for the horse.
If we look narrowly at what sportsmen, stunt men old classical schools representatives do with horses, we’ll see clearly that such relations would be logical only if they had hatred at the heart of their actions.
I started to notice that since my youth. Unfortunately, I had to spend a lot of my precious time to build up myself, to acquire the right and money to do what I considered the right thing.
As you know I have been elected a Deputy of the Russian Parliament four times, and I occupy this post now. I’ve been an advisor to the Governor, the editor-in-chief at television etc. I have quite the rich biography featuring all kinds of things from military operations participation at five or six wars to special consultations to the Government of Russia.
Only those who have seen all sides of violence can hate it really violently. In the performance of my duties I used to participate in many counter-terrorist operations. I’ve volunteered to be exchanged for hostages thrice. I went to terrorists and offered them to take me and release women who were held as hostages. When I turned into a hostage I began to act (since I know well how to do that).
However you’ll ask how it could be related to horses? In the most direct way. You can hate violence towards the horse only if you hate violence towards men. Some eight or ten years ago I said definitely to myself that I would never treat horses as I was taught to anymore.
But I didn’t know how to treat them otherwise. So my great emotional necessity to be with them required big and serious knowledge. I started traveling everywhere and studying. I tried to find people who could teach me that other manner of treating horses.
My wife Lydia played a huge role in all this process, understanding that it’s impossible to love horses correctly without a proper European education, without some thorough knowledge of hippology. She finished a college in England and now continues her education acquiring extremely valuable knowledge about horses.
However the science has never attracted me in the same way. But it was the horse that interested me: a horse as a sentient, very intellectual, suffering and spiritual being that was so humiliated by humans. My horse with a simply terrible character helped me a lot in my searches. His extraordinary resistance to any violence, any metal in the mouth, any spurs and other rubbish that one day I had no other way than to release him, throw away that entire stuff and to trust him.
Before that time I haven’t yet understood that the horse’s behavior changed dramatically when I stopped hurting him with bits, spurs and other things.
But that case gave me an example of how can a horse change when you stop torturing him. This caused a revolution in my mind.
Lydia and this horse became my main teachers. My work with horses then turned to be a complete success.
At that time I also believed that all this is the evidence of my extraordinary talent. I didn’t understand that it was not my talent that really mattered but my approach and the feeling that I was no longer hiding from horses.
From now on I forgot all my previous experience and acted in accordance not with the norms of sportsmen and stunt men but with the feeling I felt for horses.
And I felt love and endless respect. This was the greatest instrument of all.
However being in love with Haute Ecole I first didn’t believe that all those marvelous elements could be performed by a horse that had ho bridles or halters on him.
But I must repeat that I loved so much all the courbettes, caprioles, passages, piaffes… So I taught my horses to perform all those elements at liberty, and on their own free will.
Almost all my horses are from Russian kolkhoz, or collective farms. One mare however was taken from the race course; we saved her from the horrible hippodrome that would have killed her.
I bought my black stallion at the cheapest price in a Russian kolkhoz. We brought him to our place where he went through a course of physical training to recover his health and shape. Only after this I started to teach him.
Horses are happy at our place. Every one of them has his own warm large winter stall in a warm stable and a summer shelter with a personal paddock and an access to a big garden. I live in the North-West part of St.Petersburg. There’re no fields around here, there’re only high Russian forests. That’s why some years ago we granted to the horses a large paled park with ponds and alleys. Naturally, they have already almost destroyed it, but something has remained still untouched there. The horses stay outdoors twenty four hours a day in spring, summer and autumn, and for 10-12 hours in winter.
Russian horse world is extremely hidebound. Such thing as Natural Horsemanship or such names as Parelli and Silke Valentine were absolutely unknown here. So I had to understand everything and make this path myself alone.
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