Friday, October 17, 2008

Meaningful Elements to Further the Journey

An autumn view from Ravenseyrie at the "Top of the World" meditation spot

Today's entry contains an assortment of photos taken in the last week, which I will be interspersing between written text discussing meaningful elements which have furthered my friendship with horses.

My journey of relations with horses began as a young girl and a neighbor's pony named Prince (though this entry is not the place to go into lengthy details of my history with horses), I should relay there are rich layers of ignorance, love, fear and wee seeds of understanding that fold in on themselves from those first breath exchanges with an equine until now. I once worked as an exercise girl for Arabian racehorses, trained and showed in dressage, left competition to devote myself to artistic equitation and the study of Francois Baucher's life and "legacy of lightness" and became enraptured by the primitive Sorraia horse and the lure of learning from horses not in a man-made environment, but within a semi-wild setting--which is my present reality.
Our lovely herd of Sorraia/Sorraia Mustangs at Ravenseyrie

I want to share with the readers of Journal of Ravenseyrie some information on current influences in my life and offer links for those of you who might want to explore these "places" yourselves.

A California woman by name of Stormy May has had a journey with horses that shares many similarities with mine. Stormy is also a gifted filmmaker and was motivated to make a documentary that shares her journey with the world. It's an incredibly moving film and contains insightful interviews with well known names in the horse world, Mark Rashid, Carolyn Resnick, Linda Kohanov, Alexander Nevzorov, Kim McElroy and Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.

On her website we find this synopsis of her dvd THE PATH OF THE HORSE:
>>>A horse trainer gives up her career to travel the world, searching for people who might unlock the secret of how to move to the next level of understanding with horses. What she finds is simple but is she willing to pay the price to take the path less traveled? This inspirational documentary explores the future of horse-human relationships and ultimately all human relationships. As our culture evolves from domination over nature into a partnership, we see this change being reflected in the work that people are doing with horses. This is a story of visionaries, of men and women who have made it their life's work to develop and reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings through achievement of a synergistic balance with the horse's own elegant naturalness. Horses have a gift to share; teaching us how to develop community, leadership, trust, and love within our own families through a connection that goes beyond words. The Path of the Horse takes an honest look at what we're doing with horses today and asks, "Is this the world we want to create?"<<<

Stormy's film is being distributed worldwide and having a dramatic effect on all those who are pursuing deeper relations with horses. You can view a trailer from the film and order a copy of the dvd at Stormy's website by following this link:

Zorita grazes in a favorite section of the prairie grass, while Altamiro dozes nearby

Next I'd like to bring up the work of a German woman named Imke Spilker. I was introduced to her amazing work by my friend Kris McCormack. Kris has just recently translated Imke's book SELBSTBEWUSSTE PFERDE into English and it will be published in the spring of 2009 by Trafalgar Square under the title, EMPOWERED HORSES. This book is a must have for all who are desiring to learn from horses and develop mutual friendships with them. We are incredibly fortunate that Kris put such great effort into bringing Imke's words to English readers and that Trafalgar Square has the good sense to publish this ground-breaking book.

From the English section of Imke's website, Kris offers us a quick review of EMPOWERED HORSES, along with a charming photo of her horse, Khemo, demonstrating his affection for the book.

>>>Horses who have the say? Friendship instead of dominance? How does that work? In this book, communicative horses consciously and confidently assume the lead roles...and show you how being together with such horses can look.

The old edition (in German) of "Selbstbewußte Pferde" published by Kosmos Verlag, is out of print. You will find some remainder copies here.
The new edition, with a different design and layout is published by animal-learn and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

The horse in the photo is Khemo -- a horse who set much in motion: human beings, books, ideas. Khemo died in May, 2008. He lived in the USA and is responsible for the fact that an English language edition of the book will be available in March, 2009. We have his initiative to thank for the fact that very soon the Communicative Horses will have their say all over the world. “Empowered Horses” -- “The book that every horse would give his rider!”. (photo of Khemo taken by Kristina McCormack)<<<

The primitive, yet noble and aristocratic profile of our Sorraia stallion, Altamiro

>>>"When you begin to see through the eyes of horses you enter another world.
In this world, laws more ancient than ours are in effect. Existence is clear and uncomplicated.
Every step into this world let us sense more deeply, breathe more freely..."

(from: Selbstbewusste Pferde, Imke Spilker)<<<

Altamiro follows Zorita on a purposeful striding across the grasslands

>>>"The entire world of horses today is influenced, controlled, or ruled by the two-legged ones, or so it seems. But there is a small community of empowered horses and their friends that is putting up resistance to human domination ...
It is a project that belongs to the horses where there is no domination or “dressage,” where no one “whispers” or screams, no one whips or intimidates. Here human beings learn how to listen to their horses and come into a conversation with them."

(from Imke's Communicative Horses website)<<<

The link to Imke Spilker's Communicative Horses (English version) website can be followed here:

Two thoughtful ladies came to Ravenseyrie this past Sunday for a visit with the herd. My friend, Nancy, lives on Manitoulin Island, too, and is learning more about horse/human relationships with her three handsome Canadian Horse geldings. Nancy's friend, Ann, was visiting our fair island and treating herself to exploring new places over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.

Nancy plays with Animado and his favorite toy, a useful fly whisk

Ann takes the lovely Ciente's photo, while I take a photo of both of them

Ann, not accustomed to either horses or mules, establishes a good feeling with Doll

Nancy, Interessado and Animado discuss important matters, perhaps world peace?

Now I wish to introduce readers to a fantastic, beautifully crafted online magazine called, HORSES FOR LIFE. I have my friend, Annemiek Stuart, from the Netherlands to thank for bringing this fine publication to my attention. I wish I had know about this magazine years ago--it does such a comprehensive job of exploring philosophical, scientific and day to day "mechanics" of living with and training horses. I have not found such a meaningful equestrian magazine available in English since the old days of Ivan Bezugloff's DRESSAGE & CT monthly magazine.

There is so much material here! Incredible photos and moving video coupled with excellent articles make it an incredible deal for subscribers. I am still exploring the "back issues", having just scratched the surface of all the interesting articles available. The editor, Nadja King is a deep thinker, with immense feel for horses. Her efforts with this magazine will propel humans to a higher level of relations with horses and a greater awareness of things we do with our horses and how it affects them.

A few selections the September editorial "What Comes First?" in Horses For Life:

>>>Ahead of success we choose the horse. And we know that we are not alone. There is a huge movement afoot. One where people no longer think competition deserves every effort no matter the cost to the horse. Winning is not important. Fame is not important. Success at all costs is not important.

>>>The look in the horses' eyes at the end of the day is the only measure of success that any of us needs. We accept our responsibility to take the time to read and learn to ensure that we continue to grow and learn, so that we continue to do better by the only judge who in the end truly matters. The horse.

>>>Our mission: to be the voice of the horse. To stand up for the horse. Out of respect, love and duty, because of the gifts the horses have given to us. Our mission is to use information and education, to create awareness and change in the equestrian world. We are not breed specific nor discipline specific, believing that every horse is unique and special and quite capable of wondrous things.<<<

It should also like to make it known that in the upcoming October issue of HORSES FOR LIFE will appear an article by yours truly, discussing the Sorraia and Sorraia Mustang horses.

You can follow the link to HORSES FOR LIFE here:

Already an impressive figure, here we have Altamiro and Ciente's colt, Interessado

Before I close, I should also mention that for a those who are not as interested in going into the horses' natural world to learn from them, but prefer a more "civilized", human controlled setting, I can find none better for combining stunning visuals with haute école (trained and exhibited completely free of bits, bridles and reins) than the beautifully appointed manége of Alexander Nevzorov. Alexander and his wife, Lydia, are definitely rancorously opinionated, controversial figures and espouse a very elitist doctrine, yet their devotion to the horse is admirable and worth exploring.

The link to Alexander Nezorov's website can be followed here:

The author enjoys the October afternoon warmth and the companionship of young Interessado

I don't know what it is about my attempts to put this day's journal entry together that is causing the blogger program to malfunction...but it seems to be struggling with changes of font style and placement--so please accept my apologies if the body of the entry doesn't flow as well as it typically does. (After first publishing this today, I see too, that the links with the text of this entry aren't "catching" as they should. You will have to copy and paste them into a separate page of your browser to travel to these places--or click on them in the sidebar.)


eva said...

Lynne, I am so pleased to see that Intressado has inherited his father's noble profile. What a handsome little guy. Is that wool still his baby coat or the new winter fur?

Enjoy that Indian summer while it lasts!

Lynne Gerard said...

I'm glad you can appreciate the convex profile!

Each of the foals has one, and depending on the angle and the light are more or less pronounced, but for sure, little Interessado has the stamp of a terrific looking Iberian.

Everyone is getting furry now, the foals putting it on quicker than the others. Animado is just now beginning to look a little out of proportion in growth (isn't that just the way with foals?) and this, coupled with his winter wool makes him look well, less than svelte.

Annemiek said...

Hi Lynne,

I think it is a good thing to mention all the people that inspired you so much until now. The other day someone asked me how I came into this special relationship with my horse and for a moment I did not know what to say. A lot of people “inspired” me, provided knowledge, made me think and taught me techniques. Most of them you described here. For me Andy Beck has also made a big impression. But when I look back, I would have to say that I learned most from the feelings, knowledge and observations we ( Kris and Eva, you and me) shared in e-mails and blogs. And of course my horse Rudolf is an unending source of knowledge and inspiration.

The photo’s in this entry made me smile. We talk about inspiration and we see your “wild” horses interacting with humans as if it is the most natural thing to do. Which is probably the case. Can you imagine there are people out there that have to chase after their horses to catch them so they can spent time with them? Look at your horses, giving freely what others feel they can only take by force.

I sincerely hope a lot of people will read your blog and your writings in Horses for Life. YOU and your HORSES are a source of inspiration all on your own!!