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Horses For Life, November 2007, Vol.27

Who is Alexander Nevzorov?

Who is Alexander Nevzorov?

Who is this man who is so quick to dismiss the work of so many that most equestrians admire? From Parelli work to the work of Nuno Oliveira, Alexander Nevzorov is quick to loudly state his disapproving opinion.

Who is he?

He is a definitely a passionate man. A man that comes across as someone who has no room for those that don’t follow his way. He himself says he is not willing to work with those who do not follow his way 100%! His school has some very firm and fast rules in regards with the correct way to train a horse. Is this arrogance? Or is it that he cares so much and believes so much in what he teaches that he cannot bear to see what the horse’s are going through each and every day, all around him?

He is a man who is quick to speak of the evil that he sees all around him. Quick to point out in no uncertain terms what he thinks of many of the riders out there. Not shy to compare some of the practices that he sees around him as comparable to the sexual practice of Sadism and Masochism. Many are more than likely offended by his words. Horrified to be compared to a slobbering, dirty, stupid, eating raw meat yahoo as depicted in one of his productions.

One might wonder if he really needs to be so demeaning to riders out there. So harsh in his judgement.

He himself admits he is Russian to the core and one might wonder how much of the way that he comes across is as much a cultural background as anything else.

We do know that Alexander Nevzorov was born in 1958, in Leningrad. He has been involved in Russian politics as an Independent Deputy of all the four convocations of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, had been an editor-in-chief on Leningrad (and later Saint-Petersburg) television for 10 years. He is the member of the International Slavonic Academy of Science, an advisor to the Governor of Saint Petersburg.

He also used to be a novice in a monastery, a bass chorister, a keeper of a museum, a loader, a stunt man, a mercenary at several wars, a literary secretary, a reporter, a script writer, a consultant-analyst to the Government of the Russian Federation.

He participated in wars in Yugoslavia, Transdniestria, Iraq and Chechnya. He was a member of the National State of Emergency Committee in 1991, defended the White House in 1993, and was put under arrest after an exchange of fire on approach to Moscow when he led what remained of Riga’s OMON as reinforcement to the besieged. He took part in Vetsmilgravis’ events. He harbored some fugitive OMON soldiers from Riga and Vilnius on Russian territory.

He participated in the assault of Ostankino and in the first assault of Grozhy, entering it one of the first together with General Rokhlin.

During 1994-1998 he was a consultant-analyst to Berezovsky.

He was wounded twice and contused once.

Three times he became a volunteer hostage of terrorists in exchange for release of other people.

In 1993, despite of the fact that he was elected to the State Russian Parliament four times he quit the political stage.

He knows the French language and the Lacota language (he financed the publishing of the first Russian-Lacota phrase-book in Russia). He studies Latin now.

He was conferred the Personal Bravery Order, the Red Star, the Transdniestria Defender medal, the Strengthening of Battle Fellowship medal, the Chechnya Operations Participant medal, the Defender of Transdniestria Cossack Cross etc.

He was the author and the anchorman of a legendary program of Leningrad television ‘600 seconds” and analytical programs of the First channel “Days” and “The Wild Field”.

He is the author and director of several films including a feature film “The Purgatory”, in which he reconstructed the events that he participated in during the assault of Grozny and the defense of the Grozny City Hospital.

A man of war. A man who has seen terrible things. A man who has seen the worst that people can be. A side that wants to get the truth out. He is willing to put himself out at his own physical well being to help others. A brave man willing to stand up no matter the cost. How many people are truly willing to do the same.

He is the author of the book “The Horse Crucified and Risen” (“Horse Encyclopedia”).
He is the author and director of the film “The Horse Crucified and Risen” “Horse Encyclopaedia”).
He is the author of hundreds of articles and publications.

He is also a lucky man. A man who has found a life partner. Someone who is just as passionate about the thought of what is best in the horses. A couple that compliment and learn from each other. A couple who relies on each other’s gifts to share a common message to the equestrian world. He is the teacher on the horse, she the teacher when it comes to practice and examination of the horse through thermography. She is often their common voice, since she is comfortable in the second language of English while he is not. She is just an unique in some ways as he is although different.

Lidya Nevzorova  is a specialist in hippology and Equine Thermographist (musculoskeletal system). Cameraman ( 1 channel - State Russian TV). Photographer on the staff at the Astrel publishing house. A member of American Academy of Thermology.  A member of BBACs – the International Bitless Bridle Associate Clinicians organization. Member of advisory board of Equine Science Academy, The scientific consultant to Alexander Nevzorov in the film “Horse Encyclopaedia”. Editor-in-chief of the "Nevzorov Haute Ecole" journal. The scientific editor of the book "Horse Encyclopaedia" by A.Nevzorov A member of the International Professional Equine Photographers Association.

She graduated St.Petersburg Gerzin University (Art), National Open University (management), graduated with honors from College of Equine Studies (Newmarket), and now continues studying Equine Science at Warwickshire College of Equine Study of Harper Adams University, in England.

Carries out scientific researches under the guidance of Robert Cook, FRCVS., PhD., Professor of Surgery Emeritus of Tufts University, Massachusetts, Yury Tkatchenko, PhD., Professor of Human Medicine (bio-technology).

The author of great number of articles in the Horse World magazine (horse management, health and welfare), newspaper Marengo and many other leading magazines. Now writing for their own magazine Nevzorov Haute Ecole.

The author of illustrations in the book "Horse Encyclopaedia" by Alexander Nevzorov.

Lydia’s photos are published in the following magazines: National Geographic, Geo, HELLO!, Amazone, Cavallo, Natural Horse Magazine, Konjska Snaga, Ezda, Hästfocus, Scheval Attitude, Hooligan, Konniy Mir (Horse World), Arguments and the Facts, Ogonyok, MK Bulvar, Telesem, Inter-business, Muzhskaya Rabota, &, Medved, Gorod, Class Elite, Sobesednik, Dobrye ludi, etc., and newspapers: Komsomolskaya Pravda, Moscowsky Komsomolets, Express-gazeta, Vechernaya Moskwa, Antenna, Versiya v Pitere, Baltiyskiy Meridian, Na Nevskom etc.

Trains horses by Nevzorov’s method, without bits, bridles, halters and any other artificial aids.

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 marvellous 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.

This schooling, or understanding, is not effected through human dominance nor submission of the horse. The goal is to inspire, to enkindle a horse, to awaken its interest and to reveal its full natural potential.

We cannot doubt the love and the passion this couple has for the horse. You may agree or disagree with their ideas, or concepts. You may sometimes be dismayed with the harsh words said, but it comes from a heart that has seen the heartbreak of human war and a heart that is filled with despair on behalf of the horse. With images such as these can we really blame him? When you have faced death, you realize how short life is and how little time we truly have. That our lives can be over at any moment.

Their path to date has brought them to a place where they are learning to work with their horses without bridles and gadgets. What truths might they find that can aid us on our own paths?

If there is one truth that you take away I do hope that is IF this kind of work can be done without a bit and a bridle and side reins or draw reins, how much force is actually required if you do use a bit and a bridle? How can rollkur be a necessity? For all of us our first challenge must be to be able to ride what the horse can do on his own while playing in the field, what he offers us naturally. To learn to ride with him rather than against.

Parotid Gland under Attack

Warning! The pictures included with this article are of the actual autopsy of the parotid gland and may be quite graphic and disturbing to some readers.

A magazine like HfL which is dedicated to thinking outside the box, to challenging and questioning everything, sifting through to find what is cononant with a fresh outlook that tries to redress the balance of horse-rider (or trainer) wellbeing and safety, has to face its own challenges and be prepared to contemplate what is beyond its own box. New and shocking challenges which it does not necessarily embrace 100%, but of which it is not afraid, not even when the boat is rocked rather alarmingly with challenges also to its own revered masters. We all have our own saturation point, and need time to absorb challenges and make changes; we need to adjust our own horizons, see our own ideas and beliefs in fresh perspectives which can even change the whole face of our inner maps.

There will always be others in front of us, trail blazing in directions we either decide not to follow at all, or in directions that enable us to take something new and valuable to fit into our own 'credo'. Most of the trail blazers are thought extreme or even raving mad in their own day - that is the price for being a visionary and ahead of one's time.

The magazine is not afraid to give those people a voice and a chance to speak to people whose minds are already open and seeking to look outside the box, even if they then decide not to take up certain challenges, even if they simply disagree with what is being said, at least they have listened, contemplated, and come to a reasoned and informed decision rather than shouting, 'Oh no, go away,' and slamming the lid back on their own comfortable box.

Alexander Nevzorov and his wife Lydia challenge us with results that they and others have observed in various autopsies of the horse. They share the findings in this article which presents both Alexander's strong flair in his presentations and also at the same time present unique information backed by physical evidence in this article.

Does the horse really suffer? This is a serious matter, which requires fundamental proof. Let us examine it. But let’s complicate the task. We will not analyze show jumping, for example. Everything is obvious and too superficial in this kind of equestrian sport.

I would remind you we need to find out the truth about pain, about its power, degree and effect.

The type of people who practice the pastime known as “the equestrian sport” won’t tell the truth. Perhaps they don’t know, don’t feel, or… don’t see it as truth. They mask the truth with conspiratorial falsehoods and make themselves BLIND. Instead of the truth, they will tell us something about “unity with the horse”, “love of horses”, “happy athletes”…

Anatomic, physiological, postmortem, biomechanical examinations of consequences of the classical and sport dressage methods can be already summarized and produced as scientifically proven facts.

The works of professors of veterinary medicine and contributions of doctors of veterinary medicine have been summarized. They are: R.Cook, Professor of Veterinary Surgery Emeritus (USA); H. Strasser, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Germany); S. Skinner, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (USA); E. De Buckeler, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (England); I. Colloredo-Mannfeld, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Austria); Professor Zelenevskij, Director of Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medicine Academy, and many others.

The Research department of Nevzorov Haute Ecole, together with experts of the Forensic Medical Examination Office in St. Petersburg: Professor V.D. Isakov, Doctor of Medicine, Deputy Chief of the forensic medical examination office for the expert department; Professor B.E. Sysoev, Doctor, Medical examiner of higher category, Candidate of medical science, and the Ballistic Examination Bureau: S.M. Logatkin, Candidate of medical science, Colonel of Medical Service, Deputy Chief of body armor facilities testing laboratory, have conducted studies of the effect of the bit on the horse’s head nerves.

All of the results obtained during examinations and experiments are verified and certified by numerous autopsies (by postmortem studies and dissections).

On the grounds of the expert findings in these studies, autopsies, and dissections, it may be safely said that the principle effect on a horse in equestrian “sport”, regarding the principle of constant pain shock, and methodical torture, leads to irreversible pathological changes in the horse’s vital organs. What follows is invalidity and a slow premature death.

No living creature in the world has with such strong and prolonged painful torture inflicted upon them apart from the horse in so-called equestrian “sport”.

Dressage, in its generally accepted methods, is based solely on the use of painful tools, and uses pain as the main and only lever, like all the rest of the disciplines of equestrian sport. Naturally, so long as this method of action is accepted as a constant, and the interaction “rider-horse” is impracticable without it, severe, abnormal changes will and do occur in the horse’s organism. These changes can be easily identified both by autopsies (dissections) after death and by clinical diagnostic techniques with live horses.

But we will consider the autopsy results as absolutely indisputable and unambiguous, striking out various treatments, arguments and discussions entirely. It is dissection that reveals all the “secrets” of equestrian sport. That’s why I’m saying: “Let us ask the carcasses of horses killed by dressage. They have nothing to hide but have something to say.”

The extent, severity and nature of internal injury of a horse according to autopsy or dissection findings make it possible to “decipher the pain code” of such a discipline of equestrian sport as dressage. Rummaging through the cold muscles, bared nerves, enormous stratified hematomas, and dissecting joints and membranes, the picture of “the most elegant sport” is becoming clearer in all its terrible explicitness on the dissecting table.

The cold piece of flesh that was a horse just this morning, is an evident and absolutely honest witness.

So, what exactly happens on the dressage “battle”, or training, field? In accordance with all requirements and qualifying standards of any dressage school, the horse is forced into false collection (violently flexed poll and engaged hindquarters) by means of special devices, lever force and other.

What happens within a horse’s organism due to false collection? The first consequence of false collection is the full- or part crushing of the parotid salivary gland (glandula parotis). It is this gland that primarily takes upon itself “the vertical flexion blow”, because of its location. And it suffers most of all, and turns into a mess of bruising, into a solid stratified hematoma.

Of the salivary glands the parotid is by far the largest, elongated in the vertical direction, and narrower in the middle than at either end. Its upper extremity embraces the lower surface of the cartilaginous ear-conch; its lower end reaches the level of the inferior margin of the mandible, along the posterior margin of which it is placed.

Normal parotid (PG) and mandibular (mg) sialogram in a cadaver horse head. Both glands
are over infused by contrast media to show the entire margins of each gland. The parotid duct

The parotid, named for its proximity to the horse's ear, is eight to ten inches long, nearly an inch thick, and weighs about seven ounces - more than 1/4 as much as the horse's brain.

The parotid gland is intimately associated with several vital structures, including the jugular vein and carotid artery. 1

Autopsies were conducted involving 11 different subjects.

6 of them were used in so-called dressage for more than five years.
5 horses were not strictly specialized, the 2 were considered as “training”, the others were private “riding” horses, “dedicated” at dressage, but didn’t take part in competitions.
CAUSE OF DEATH: digestive tract problems (colic), open limb fractures etc.

Cases of horses’ death in trailer in road traffic accidents or other cases, when death circumstances caused serious deformations of all organism systems, were not examined while in such cases autopsy image would be aberrant.

All horses were prosected in compliance with main medicolegal (veterinary) proceedings rule: – autopsy was carried out on external (upper) side of lying horse. The sense of it is to let blood excesses move to lower part of the body and to free examinated organs from epactal blood, which could clot and corrupt autopsy image.

Autopsies were carried out by different vets and pathologists.

In particular – Saint-Petersburg Veterinarian Academy associate professor Evgeny Lakovnikov, pathologist, Professor V. Zelenevsky, chairman of the department of Anatomy in the same university, veterinarians, personally I.

Examination showed the depth of hematoma of different horses varied from 3 to 13 (!) centimeters. But each of these horses had glands turned into a total mess.

The photograph shows clearly the upper subcutis layers are practically unaffected. Their color is natural; they haven’t got any impact marks or external changes.

The affected area is deeper, somewhere at a depth of one centimeter.

The following photos confirm – yes, this is a deep inner lesion, traumatic in nature.

I give you a comparative photo of another horse’s autopsy findings. This horse sustained life-time severe subcutaneous injuries. (When he was in agony in a terminal state, he knocked himself very hard against the walls of the stall.)

Look at this – severe but subcutaneous hematoma.

The depth of hematoma is about 3 millimeters, to be more exact between 1 and 3.

But in our case everything is different.

It is obvious that the trauma has “depth origin” and originated not in external causes such as blows or wounds. It is the gland that is located in this place, which actually should be a “grayish-yellowish-pink” color by nature. Its “dressage” color can be seen perfectly well in the dissection photo too. Prolonged constant squeezing of the parotid gland (a forced collection) accounts for this inner lesion. The gland is squeezed between the caudal part of vertical ramus of the mandible and atlas. The gland structure is much weaker than any muscular tissue structure. It is easily affected. Five minutes of collection is enough for some horses.

The relatively poor density of glands (as compared to muscular tissue density) cannot safeguard some arteries. This results in some arteries and veins being compressed to the point of injury in varying degrees due to collection, some of these are: condylar artery (condylaris), external carotid artery (carotis externa), great auricular artery (ayricularis magna), superficial temporal vein (temporalis superficialis), external maxillary vein (maxillaris externa) and others.

This is how it looks during training and events.



And this is how it looks during autopsy.

The number of nerves affected and damaged by the compression of the parotid gland during collection is large. And practically all these nerves are “sensory”.

There are the facial nerves (n. facialis), internal auricular nerves, caudal auricular nerves in the “lesion zone” caused by collection, and the basic branch of caudal auricular nerves. Frontal and lacrimal nerves are subject to an extra amount of pressure.

The effect on all these nerves causes severe stupefying pain shock. You can see a typical hematoma of the parotid gland, caused by dressage, in the photos. Incidentally, this is a typical picture. The different colors of the strata denote that hematoma has many strata and is “cumulative”. That is to say, the horse with profound and very painful trauma of the parotid gland (and the sublingual gland as well) is forced again and again into collection, and so goes on building up the new strata of haemorrhages because of compressed veins and arteries.

In addition, besides the unbearable pain that the horse experiences (see the list of affected nerves), colic was guaranteed for him from the moment his mistress took a fancy to dressage.

I will briefly explain what colic is.

The death of every sport horse caused by colic, is only a matter of time.

Of course, the crushing of the parotid gland and forced collection guarantees it, since they lead to abnormal changes of the whole digestive system. The chemical saliva composition is changing as the parotid gland - the largest of the salivary glands – is crushed and necrotized due to collection; the bit in the mouth injures the sublingual gland (glandula sublingualis polystomatica); the mandibular gland (glandula mandibularis) which, relatively speaking, does not suffer as severely, secretes excess seromucous which upsets the balance of the chemical saliva composition. Saliva tests of the sport horse seem to reveal cardinal differences from normal saliva!

And the rest is a technical matter. Heavy pain stresses and the effect of the bit, which is unavoidable in the life of every sport horse, lead to ulcers. Changing chemical saliva composition and quantity causes gastritis, colitis and other ailments. Gastritis, colitis, and ulcers provoke colic, which causes death. The mechanism is so simple that it is unworthy of special discussion. Unfortunately, the outcome is predetermined.

When “sportsmen” try to whitewash themselves or rehabilitate the sport, they call out the names of the long-lived horses, which were used in so-called equestrian” sport” during a specified time of their life. The list is traditional, there are just a few names. They shuffle their names in different order: Kvadrat, Druzhok, Sophist, Budynok…  Druzhok, Sophist, Budynok, Kvadrat…  Usually when I hear these names I ask politely, “More!”

Another five names of the horses, who were in sport but somehow contrived to reach the age of 20 (when the horse has a natural biological 40-year life span), are found only with great effort.

I ask for “More!”

Once ‘they’ managed to find even 15 names of horses!

Well, let us suppose (my princely gesture) that there are 100 of them!

God forbid, but the list of those who survived in Auschwitz is dozens or even hundreds of times longer! The number of survivors of the biggest “death factory”, primarily oriented towards the mass murder of the Jewish people by Nazis, outnumbers by a hundred times the number of horses reaching the age of 20 in so-called equestrian “sport”!

But this is sentimental talk; we have digressed from the research issue. Let us return to our subject.

We have the proven fact of the presence of intense and constant intravital pain of the parotid gland of the dressage horse. There are no doubts, due to the character of the lesions, that during their development the living horse was openly and continuously tortured. But there is more.

To be continued in a future issue of Horses For Life.

1. Rodriguez MJ, Agut A, Gil F, Latorre R. (2006) Anatomy of the equine temporomandibular joint: study by gross dissection, vascular injection and section. Equine Veterinary Journal 38 (2) 102-104.
2. Sialography in horse: technique and normal appearance Seifollah Nazhvani Dehghani1*, Mina Tadjalli2, and Alireza Seifali1

1Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran
2Department of Veterinary Anatomical Science, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran VETERINARSKI ARHIV 75 (6)

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