For nine years from 2000 to 2009 I worked with thoroughbred racehorses, using healing modalities to create a mind-body-spirit connection with each horse. Each horse was an active and equal partner with me, free to express its feelings.
In 2008, my life took a new direction after I read Carolyn Resnick’s book, Naked Liberty. Known for her original training methods, her understanding of natural herd behaviour and the remarkable connection that she shares with all horses, I felt an immediate affinity with her work.
In July that year, I travelled to Escondido, California, to attend her three-day one-on-one Clinic, exploring the seven Waterhole Rituals which are based on the daily ceremonies that wild horses display in their natural environment and which are instinctual for all horses.
Others on this path have also inspired me:
Stormy May, a horse trainer who gave up her career to travel the world in search of those who have gained a new level of understanding of horses. Her documentary, Path of the Horse explores the future of horse-human relationships, as we evolve towards a partnership with, rather than domination of, our equine friends.
Imke Spilker founded the Communicative Horses Project, where horses get to have their say. The horses learn to “whisper” to human beings, while humans learn to listen to their horses and come into a true conversation with them. Imke’s book, Empowered Horses – Learning Their Way through Independence, Self-Confidence, and Creative Play, evolved from work of the Communicative Horses Project.
Michael Bevilacqua, senior representative of Nevzorov Haute Ecole and author of Beyond the Dream Horse – A Revealing Perspective on Attaining a True Relationship, lives in Canada where he conducts workshops. (His two-set DVD, Unlocking the Learning and Creating the Relationship Back to Basics, contains hours of practical information and instruction.) Michael presents a wonderful opportunity for us to understand the basic philosophy of Nevzorov Haute Ecole.
When I acquired three former racehorses, I put my teaching into practice. Andre, a big dominant chestnut and I used the Waterhole rituals to develop a relationship based on play, fun and leadership.
More inspiration came from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, at an eight-day pure practical performance workshop in Lyo, Denmark. I watched KFH work with five horses over a period of eight days and witnessed an amazing transformation from nervous and unhappy horses into cooperative companions. Hempfling is a master of body language, and to see him working with a horse is pure magic! His latest publication, The Horse Seeks me: The Path to an Understanding of Equine Body Language is superb.
When the opportunity came to attend the first Nevzorov Haute Ecole (NHE) workshop held in Victoria, Maurizio Patti (official Nevzorov Haute Ecole Representative), I jumped at the chance! This was a very beautiful and gentle workshop where Maurizio explored put into practice the foundations of the NHE School, which teaches the very highest possibilities, understandings and honest friendship between horse and man.
And so I have come full circle.
I still find a deep resonance to the Carolyn Resnick Method, and will be joining her Waterhole Rituals Insider Circle Program 2011. Paradoxically, but understandably, I am also drawn to the spiritual (but no less joyful) approach of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, an approach which demands awareness, meditation and precise body language which can only arise out of stillness and presence.
A new paradigm for horse human relationships is emerging as we grow towards the realisation that horse and human are spiritual equals, in different physical forms. I resonate with this belief, which guides the philosophy behind my HorseSpirit work with the use of gentle, non-invasive techniques which tune into the intelligence and spirit of the horse.
“Dive deeply enough into any subject and the questions that shimmer before you are spiritual”
~ Jack Hawley
Reawakening the Spirit in Work