The second NHE International Seminar held in Quebec, Canada on October 2010 was hosted by Cloé Lacroix, Dean of the online school and Michael Bevilacqua, Senior NHE Representative.
The seminar presented the main philosophy behind NHE which is to treat the horse with respect and to level the playing field. That is to view the horse as an equal without any notion of dominance that is so commonly perpetuated in the horse world. The main objective was to help people realize that the only ‘method’ required was to find a way to become understandable to the horse. There is no textbook formula to expressing love and that there is nothing to stand in the way of simply communicating with a different species that is more than capable of comprehending. Participants were supplied with basic guidelines and rules that could help them answer any questions or doubts about whether they were proceeding correctly when interacting with a horse on their own. It is very important to spend time explaining and discussing in a classroom environment, but there was also very important time spent with horses at a nearby stable. Aside from discussion, Michael presented live examples through various video clips of how he worked and played with his own horses. NHE is so new to some people that much of it seems vague and mysterious. Seeing it in action helped people to realize how simple it all can be.
Cloé presented her own video clips of her horse Thunder. The video presentation with her horse describes the beginning of developing a relationship, the art of asking and the importance of knowing when to stop asking. Alexander and his horses doing capriole and levade is spectacular showing the final results. The participants appreciated Cloé’s presentation and they said that it made the exercises accessible by seeing it in action and how it all starts.
There were a few horses that were available for the event but it was still dependent on whether they were comfortable with all the people showing up. Although it certainly aroused a lot of curiosity, the horses that were willing followed the people into the paddock. Participants really liked the fact that the paddock door was always open and that the horses chose to stay with them, rather than grazing on the 70 acres available.
Some horses went from solely investigation, but reluctance, on the first day to curiosity and willing participation, and patience to try to understand what those people were doing by the second day.
It was a pleasure to see that what was discussed indoors about the way to be with horses was actually the same when outdoors doing things with the horses. There was no contradiction to what was said and what was done. There was no pressure to try to get a horse to do something just to impress people. An important part of the lesson was also to see how the horses were given the choice. With patience and a little time, by giving the horses freedom, it was astounding to see the difference from one day to the next. Those horses wanted to participate and did things with strangers that they had never done before with anyone else. Horses were not forced, intimidated and not lured by treats.