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 [email protected] .