NHE Representatives Donna Condrey-Miller and Edward Pershwitz talk about the Basics of NHE and the Benefits of Seminars.

14/07/2017

 

This is the first of a series of discussions on critical NHE topics.

Donna Condrey-Miller: When it comes to horses and humans being together there is more than one perspective on how that relationship should be organized. Nevzorov Haute Ecole is a School of hippology with the perspective focused on free and mutual relationships between human and horse, operating from a place of communication grounded in equality.

 

This differs entirely from the long-time conventional approach of methodological reward and punishment techniques after which the horse is conditioned to behave and respond in compliance based on his anticipation of consequences. While each horse will respond to this approach uniquely, the techniques are more or less fixed with the idea that eventually every horse will reach a certain level of compliance. Unfortunately, the horse has little to no say in what she is to perform and the techniques may escalate from subtle to severe as deemed necessary for the human to reach his or her desired result

Edward Pershwitz: There are many fallacies with this conventional approach. First, the relationship is initiated as a form of control and develops with the goal of compliance, even in the cases when the human sincerely believes that a “connection” or a “partnership” is being built. The horse inevitably gets forced into this “partnership” with various means of coercion to satisfy the ego of the human. Second, by applying or developing one-size-fits-all training techniques the horse is effectively reduced from an individual to a member of a uniform primitive mass with predictable reactions to stimuli. What the human fails to realize is that by mechanically applying a specific set of techniques, it is the human, rather than horse, who renders him- or herself as a member of a uniform mass. And third, the end goal is the result rather than the process, which completely ignores the natural state of the horse of living in the moment. It is no surprise that the horse has no incentive to participate other than to get a reward or avoid punishment, which isn’t a marker for a healthy relationship.

 

D: Right, generally because there is a mold to fit with that approach, any part of a horse’s natural preferences or capabilities that doesn’t fit that mold must be suppressed. Exactly what the horse should or shouldn’t do is uniform to the method and thus are the problems to be solved identified. If the horse is naturally missing any elements required to fill the mold then he must be forced into it. When the horse fits the mold he is considered good, when he doesn’t he is considered bad, or at least disappointing. I’ve witnessed many humans miss the wonderful horse right in front of them for a lifetime because they only look at what they think a horse should be and do not engage with who the horse is. I certainly noticed this happening to me back when I was following those methods.

 

E: Ironically those “problems to be solved” aren’t problems at all, but a mere reflection of the human’s inability to approach the horse as a partner rather than utility and to consider some of the horse’s essential needs: the sense of safety, the freedom from pain, the freedom of expression, the companionship with others. As long as these are being ignored the horses will respond, each in their own way, with what humans will identify as “problems.”

 

D: It comes down to teaching a human how to remove so-called conflict with a horse by obliterating the horse’s resistance. It’s impossible to do this without also damaging your own sensitivity to some extent, if not destroying it entirely. Honestly, the less sensitive you are to the horse, the better the techniques work. De-sensitizing is a key component of training a horse in this manner, but the human student will get similar instruction about herself. “Don’t let the horse get away with that!” is to say, don’t let his emotions get to you!

What is foundational about the School of NHE is that it does not relegate the horse to a role of compliant object, but allows and encourages him to express his point of view, including his refusals, without punishment. While there are a few techniques to consider, it is the principles of communication without force, coercion or judgment that are the basis of building a relationship with the horse. The principles are fixed, but each horse human pair will manifest the results uniquely and creatively.

 

E: This cannot be overstated. The principles provide the foundation for the entire NHE philosophy and practice but they are not, and cannot be, prescriptive of the specific steps or actions one takes to build a relationship. Unlike training, relationships are unique and non-transferrable. Unlike training, relationships recognize one’s freedom to enter or exit at any time. Unlike training, relationships cherish individuality rather than conformance. There are no cookie-cutter relationships – it is simply impossible.

 

“Not letting the horse get away with something” has a special place in various training techniques, for it is as common as it is absurd. We seem to forget that since horses have no speech the only way for them to signal anything is by behavior. At first these signals are subtle but humans, in general, aren’t too keen on observing subtleties. Then they become stronger, and stronger, and finally get deemed to be something the horse is not supposed to get away with. What follows is a form of demonstration of “who’s the boss” – another common cliché of horsemanship education. One can run a mental experiment of imagining being unable to speak and trying to signal discomfort or an essential need. At first those signals are completely ignored and then when they become less subtle a form of correction follows. Not exactly a step toward harmony, is it?

D: NHE really is a 180 degree turn of perspective on how to approach relationship with a horse in contrast to training for rote obedience. When we meet a particular horse we may know some very basic things about horses in general, but in order to have a relationship with this particular horse we must pay close attention to what the horse offers of herself without judging it as right or wrong, good or bad. We allow her to contribute extensively to the framework of the relationship. We meet her where she is, develop our communication skills, which include how we receive information, and encourage her expression and thinking, so that we can have a dialogue where her input carries weight.

Without relying on a syllabus of cumulative techniques, we begin the relationship by looking inward and questioning our own motives for why we ask a horse to do anything. We first accept that she owes us nothing.

 

E: Examining our motives for being with horses and for asking them to do something for us takes a lot of soul-searching and can lead to unexpected results. For as long as our motives are centered around our own benefits, be that tangible or psychological, and the horse is a mere means to the end – however this may be disguised with the delusion that the interaction is driven by our love for the horse – building a healthy relationship would be impossible. True love is liberating rather than imposing an expectation to fit into a mold, and no tokens of affection can make up for taking away the liberty. This is true for human relationships as well, but it is even more so in human-horse relationships as most tokens of affection are completely meaningless to the horse. Ironically, putting the horse first and his understanding of his own well-being before ours may in many cases deprive us of the very motivation to enter the relationship at all, unless of course we are willing to make a shift in our own mind to liberating, rather than restrictive, love for the horse.

 

D: Helping students consider that horses don’t necessarily like – at all – or perhaps even need to do the things humans often want them to do opens up a path for discovery of what a horse does like to do, what she does need, and how one can safely and healthfully fulfill that for her. How can one engage her in the necessary care activities without violating her trust or causing physical or emotional pain? It’s a deep psychological shift.

E: NHE helps newcomers discover their own way to a honest assessment of their expectations: for the horse, for themselves, and for the role each has in the relationshiop. This can be daunting for people who are ingrained with the reward-punishment style of learning, and the judgmental way of measuring success. The challenge may be rooted in our own upbringing. Our entire system of education is based on developing skills rather than applying principles. This naturally translates into us being conditioned to learn by following a cookbook and to measure success by how well we can produce correct answers. Recognizing that horsemanship is an art where there can be no cookbooks and there are no single correct answers is the most important shift that one has to make to get anywhere at all. For as long as one looks for guidance on how to build a connection with a horse from anyone but the horse, the horse cannot become a partner in creating the connection. Since it takes two to connect, when one is missing nothing can possibly work. While this may appear like a simple idea to grasp, in reality this is one of the most challenging concepts to fully embrace.

 

D : At first we have to let go of many beliefs and apparent knowledge we have about horses – or as it is said, unlearn – before we can have intellectual and emotional room to recognize and develop new patterns of communication and new measures of what constitutes a relationship. The horse also will experience this transition for herself and we have the added responsibility of not overlooking her need to adjust and heal. It’s very hard to shake the sense that the horse should want to do things for us or that she should like us just because we love her. And when we come to NHE having just decided in our minds that we now consider her free and equal our expectations for her to reciprocate with delight might even grow stronger without our even realizing it. Up until this point we may not have given the horse’s point of view much consideration as being valid and for her to understand her new freedom and acceptance can – and most often will – take time. This can lead to some misunderstandings. One might also feel confused about “how and what am I supposed to do with this horse when I will no longer use physical or psychological pressure?”

When most of the world, so far, continues to run on this system of merely acquiring skills with little critical thinking you mentioned, the new paradigm can feel out of reach as a reality, even with the support of the online Forum. Students of NHE often are still closely surrounded by the very equestrian industry they are wanting to walk away from. In many cases, greater parts of our social lives, careers and even our families have been tied up in the equestrian world. It’s hard to go against that, especially if there is no other NHE person nearby.

NHE seminars are a great way for newcomers and long-time students alike to spend a few days immersed in the culture of the School. Also, since most NHE students still live far from each other, the seminars are a lovely way to finally meet face-to-face.

E: There is a tremendous value in face-to-face interaction. Even though the online Forum is the main resource for NHE exchange internationally, nothing can replace being able to connect with real people who “live” NHE. Internet enables vast opportunities for exchange but online presence is necessarily more measured than human contact. Just like you are a different person when you interact with your spouse, your kids, or your grandmother, our online presence never equals who we are as real people. When I went to my first seminar it was astonishing how my mental image of someone I only met on the forum was different from the actual person. And there was so much to learn just from casual conversations!

 

 

 

 

D: I enjoy combining the theory discussions with interactions with resident horses at the seminar venue. The horses contribute as teachers themselves by freely displaying their nature. With no promise or expectations of particular results or behaviors participants see living examples of how the basic interactions of being with, and taking care of, a horse are approached with the NHE principles. From there we elaborate the connection to more complex communication potential that goes from games to Haute Ecole elements.

We explain how to evaluate the behaviors of horses, how to receive overtures from the horse and how to initiate or conclude an interaction ourselves. In standard equestrian and training circles the full range of emotional expression and initiative thinking by the horse are cause for action to suppress, but in NHE these are what we tune into as our guides for building an open dialog with the horse. We introduce participants to the concept of cumulative understandings between them and a horse that turn into a deep mutual and respectful relationship.

 

E: For most people, even horse people with a lot of experience, free expression from the horse is something that they have never witnessed. Traditionally, the training mindset is so ingrained in the way we think about being with horses, that all we see is either rebellion (to be thwarted) or coerced compliance (perceived as harmony). The art of horsemanship is generally reduced to overcoming rebellion and achieving coerced compliance. By doing so, we damage our horses to the point where recovery may take years or even never happen at all. I can only compare it to what repeated rape can do to one’s ability to enjoy intimacy. Seeing what free expression really looks like can be truly eye-opening, and while it may appear to be unattainable with “regular” horses, NHE fosters transformation of the human mindset that enables it to happen in any horse-human relationship.

 

Register for NHE Seminar with Donna Condrey-Miller September 22-24, 2017 in Sebastopol, California

Donna-Condrey Miller, Representative in California

Edward Pershwitz, Representative in Texas

 

New representative in Texas, U.S.A

18/12/2016

It is a pleasure to announce that Edward Pershwitz is the Nevzorov Haute Ecole Representative for Texas, U.S.A.

Edward continues to show his talent and passion from the personal journey with his horses, his learning, perseverance and understanding, along with willingness and capability to share experience and advice, both within the forum and in his community.

Edward can be reached at: NHE.Texas@gmail.com

Summer weekend with the horses Workshop with Michael Bevilacqua August 20,21, 2016 St. Malo, Manitoba

15/07/2016

Setting Free the Spirit Within

Allowing your horse expression, thinking, learning and choice for mutual understanding. It is teaching without any kind of forced restraint, no halters, bits, spurs or whips. No Riding / No Horse experience necessary

It is about perception of life, being who you are, taking off rose-coloured glasses, letting go of old doctrines, seeing interconnectedness within our world and how simple it is to not only understand another species but also ourselves.

Discover the simplicity which seems so elusive

For booking or info contact: Sorry, registration now closed

Workshop: Saturday, Sunday: August 20 & 21, 2016

 

 

Weekend Seminar in Plano, Texas October 21-23, 2016 with NHE Representative Donna Condrey-Miller

14/07/2016

Open the door to deepen your understanding of horses, learn about the School of Nevzorov Haute Ecole and meet Atticus, the resident stallion brought up the NHE way.

For more information and registration deals visit the Calendar at donnacondrey-miller.com

NHE Representative of the Czech Republic

27/06/2016

Nevzorov Haute Ecole is pleased to announce the appointment of Lucinka (Lucie) Votypkova as Official NHE Representative of the Czech Republic.

Email: lucinka.votypkova@seznam.cz

 

Book Reading and Discussion in Ashland, Oregon June 24, 2016

15/06/2016

Increasing numbers of scientists and legislation recognize animals to be sentient beings, more people are choosing vegan diets but where does horseback riding and the use of horses for sport fit into our changing views of animals?

Horsewomen Stormy May, Ren Hurst and Donna Condrey-Miller will share their journeys in a book reading and exploration of the question, “How unconditional is our love?” in Ashland Friday night, June 24th at the Haven. These women have been participating in a quiet revolution in the way horses are treated around the world. May, Hurst, and Condrey-Miller developed a friendship through participation in Nevzorov Haute Ecole (NHE), an online school founded by Lydia Nevzorova to convey the teachings of her husband Alexander Nevzorov, a Russian horseman, journalist, researcher and historian. Nevzorov learned traditional horsemanship, natural horsemanship, relationship-based training and then he worked on intellectual training as he taught his horses Latin. After getting to a certain point he realized that most of what we do with horses is not in their best interest and is not coming from unconditional love. Nevzorov now advocates for horses to be cared for in species-appropriate environments and for humans to work on their own inner development.

Donna Condrey-Miller, an NHE representative in California says, “The philosophy behind Nevzorov Haute Ecole includes the foundation of human self development which is the key to unlocking the depth of communication that is possible between human and horse. Starting with the practice of not forcing our horses to do anything, we explore what we can do and how to do it in a way that encourages the horse to think and express himself freely in the relationship.”

Stormy May, producer of the documentary, “The Path of the Horse” and author of a book of the same name says, “If we want to live in a world of peace and love, we’re going to have to step into the reality of what that looks like in everyday life. The three of us happen to have been horseback riders. In our search for understanding how to work with horses without using coercion or force we were led to the teachings of Alexander Nevzorov. As a result, we all have developed and embodied our own ways of being with horses as an opportunity to express unconditional love in our lives. This also led us to experience deeper connections with humans and other animals as well. We each know the value of walking into what challenges us, and through understanding ourselves we are able to accept, acknowledge and empathize with the position of others leading to a greater capacity to heal and enhance the lives of those around us. All this inner work really does pay off; the world is a better place because of the people we’ve become. I think as we continue to grow together as a team we’ll naturally inspire more people to not be afraid to look within to heal ourselves and all our relations.”

Ren Hurst, a former horse trainer from Texas, wrote a book about her experiences with horses called, “Riding on the Power of Others.” She also created the New World Sanctuary Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. About the Ashland based sanctuary Hurst says, “The work we do here has many layers to it, and it can get very deep, but the most important thing to understand is that we offer a life of total freedom to the horses which changes them dramatically. By total freedom, I mean they are never forced, manipulated, or controlled in any way for another’s benefit. This heals them and allows them to be an example of what we could become if we offered such freedom and unconditional love to one another. That’s the healing aspect of our work, and how that actually looks and what it means is takes a considerable amount of learning to understand.

The sanctuary provides a permanent, loving environment to animals in need, but we are more importantly a practice center where people can come to practice just exactly what it means to love unconditionally — beyond feeling and into action.”

The Friday night presentation will be followed by an NHE weekend seminar at the New World Sanctuary Foundation in Ashland. For more information contact Donna Condrey-Miller at starfarmranch@gmail.com .

NHE Seminar in Ashland, Oregon June 24-26, 2016

01/03/2016

Immerse yourself in a weekend of Nevzorov Haute Ecole June 24-26, 2016 in Ahsland, Oregon with NHE Representative Donna Condrey-Miller . Learn about developing a relationship with your horse built on freedom of expression, equality and pure joy. Discover how to creatively, yet simply, communicate with your horse without the coercion of traditional horse training. Connect with a community of like-minded people and share in the wealth of this down to earth way with horses.

For more information and registration details visit:

donnacondrey-miller.com

Hippophotography: Theory and Practice

23/09/2015

Available on Amazon

This book reveals the secrets to creating the kind of captivating images synonymous with Nevzorov Haute École equine photography that have earned appreciation and admiration the world over. Practical advice on the technical aspects of a variety of equine photography genres will allow you to develop enduring skills while discovering your own style. From the candid shot to the portrait, from anatomical dissection and hoof photography to the educational still of the School, you will learn to showcase your unique point of view and develop your natural talent. Well suited to both beginners trying to find their way in photography and professionals wishing to become acquainted with the Nevzorov Haute École style and new genres of equine photography, Hippophotography: Theory and Practice uses clear language and illustrations to make it easy.

 

 

El Silencio de los Caballos

30/06/2015

The Silence of the Horses

In this first book, David Castro condenses reflections arising from his life with horses inquiring about cultural paradigms that underlie human bonding behavior and questions the fact that man awarded himself the rights of dominance over the other living beings and the natural environment.

His work on educating horses, beside the research and training within Nevzorov Haute Ecole, has led him to make a comprehensive review of everything known regarding the man-horse relationship.

With a prose that reveals a brilliant and sensitive intellectual within this former horse tamer and children’s teacher, the author leads the reader to extend an introspective look into the connection with the “other”, even unintentionally.

This book is recommended not only for those wishing to make contact with horses for the first time, or for beginners who seek to cultivate a better way to interact with them, but also for anyone interested deepening in the understanding of human behavior.

The attractive and powerful images captured by Chilean photographer Mariana Domic enliven this journey about horses and humans possibilities.

Title : The silence of the Horses

Language: Spanish

160  pgs . B&W

170mm x 240 mm

Paperback

David Castro. 2015

 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/El-Silencio-de-los-Caballos/374408279425151?ref=profile

Mail contact: concaballos@gmail.com

 

NHE International Seminar 2015 September 19-20

23/05/2015

 

 

Michael Bevilacqua NHE Senior Representative and author of Beyond the Dream Horse is presenting the NHE International Seminar 2015 hosted by Cloé Lacroix
This seminar will explore Michael’s own experience revealing the progressive change in himself & of his horses and re-visit the core of the relationship with the horse within NHE.

http://beyondthedreamhorse.ca/workshops.html

 


 A private weekend to share with like-minded people from all over to focus on a unique approach and insight about how to bring the relationship to a new level, develop willingness, thinking, understanding in the horse without any type of force or punishment and to enrich ourselves. Discover the simplicity of what seems so elusive.
http://www.beyondthedreamhorse.ca/workshops.html