The Truth About Riding Horses
The inscription read “Dear Renate, May the animals fill you with their secrets”. Nancy Herrick signed my beloved book on homeopathic provings, “Animal Mind, Human Voices”. Amid the busy homeopathic convention, we had a brief exchange on the virtues of Lac Equinum (milk of horse) and its ability to unlock modern world induced troubles in our equine friends. Funny thing about secrets, while most say they want to know, the reality is blissful denial reins supreme.
Provings in homeopathy, require healthy individuals to take a remedy so a complete picture of spiritual, emotional, mental and physical qualities of a remedy can be gathered. These symptoms will be cured when the remedy is applied homeopathically (diluted and succussed). Homeopathy is a very dynamic and considerate form of healing, from the making of the remedies, to its enigmatic actions. It heals generations of damage.
Ancients knew the horse offers for humans, a way of complete integrity, when we abandon our need of confinement, punishment, coercion with food and putting ourselves above all other life forms. As long as we engage in counterfeit relations with equines, we condemn ourselves to false and unseen imprisonment humanity corrals all life with, in modern times.
The beauty my aging has won, is the wisdom the crone brings to the knowing the child had all along (its like life “proves” what the heart of the child always knew, but the grown up world wishes to wipe clean for its own manipulation). This has rung true each step of my life. I would be a complete fraud to all the creatures have shown me through the decades if I do not advocate unconditionally on their behalf. My race, the human race, is much too skillful at lying to itself.
In the book “Animal Mind, Human Voices”, Nancy Herrick writes about the “Analysis of the Proving of Lac Equinum”.
“The proving was a great surprise to all who were involved with it. No one realized that the state of the horse was so intensely unhappy. Most horse lovers took issue with this idea and felt it just could not be true.”
Decades in the horse industry has shown how echelons of breed registries, riding societies and health care conspire and condone very abusive treatment to a noble being that extends enormous amounts of grace to its abusers. This abuse seems “normal” to the horse world. Outsiders often marvel at the sadistic nature of what these humans call “love” in this industry.
Nancy Herrick also writes, “What the proving tells us is that this abuse aimed at the horses has resulted in a central state of frustration. Nothing seems to go right. All that is attempted is thwarted. The horse (or Lac Equinum patient) struggles to do his duty but never gets a sense of satisfaction. This proving was an incredibly difficult experience for everyone involved with it. The initial provers found the state unbearable and were eager to end the proving. Some provers had to take their constitutional remedy to get over the effects.”
This should cause every horse person to stop and take deep autopsy of our relations with our beloved and noble beasts. Such is the core state, the generations of carrying of our burdens on the horses’ back has engrafted on our equine siblings, for the sake of human ego. We must at some point awaken to the fact that human suffering is in exact equation to the suffering we impose on the world around us, via our pinhole perceptions. This cleverly and deeply cloaked denial/delusion/dismissal is what can make a human so treacherous, makes us mistake help for harm. This uncomfortable truth must be brought to the table, examined and dealt with, as only then can a truer healing occur in our born into addiction, miasmicly strapped, society. The need of many not yet willing to step into their own strengths causes society to function half-mast, pandering to damaging egotistical ways that do so little to bring about autonomy and empowerment for all life, planet, included. The horse has no need for what we do unto them, this is a human charade.
What is Taught, What is Tethered
Humans are an interesting sort of creature. In nature, all beings are given an education that can exceed that of its parent – even if it means loss of territory, or life.
It is very rare to find such an education in the human world, even rarer to find an individual that longs for such an immersion.
There are definite levels of “knowing” humans will be ready for. Most paid educations will barely scratch the surface of what self really needs to know to be empowered. The field of education does not matter. The system tethers self to serve a watered down version of what is needed of self to fit societies/governments expectation of self, not necessarily what gives self wings to flourish into full power. Most humans have been so disemboweled; they will fear, self-sabotage and avoid this state of completeness.
The writings of homeopathic doctors of old noted increases of cataracts, dental disease, cancers and many other ills with the rise of sugar in the diet, the loss of minerals in the soil/food that comes with modern food production and vaccination. Few modern doctors mention such wisdom – a chemical pill or surgery is the answer. Only those that have searched outside “conventional” education stumble upon this timeless wisdom. Worse yet, you have public bent on poisoning itself with addictive, dead, chemically laden food and drink. Both sides feed each other. This is just one example of the illusions humanity functions through. Modern knowledge seems so purposefully incomplete; it so masterfully manipulates the masses, from a cellular level to communities.
The same illusion of “care” flows through the horse world, and it seems all other industries, keeping humanity stuck in sickly, recycling patterns.
For those embedded in denial, there is much autopsied documentation that supports the “proving” of Lac Equinum and the tedium horses function under in this world we humans have created.
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While many find the work of Alexander Nevzorov un-nerving, it is the most truthful representation of what the horses’ tissues endure under our burdens and gives physicality that echo through the proving of Lac Equinum. If we are honest in our commitment to the gifts our equine friends so patiently await to unfurl to humans, these difficult truths must be autopsied, digested and composted for the sake of soul growth, the body never lies.
In his book “Tractate on a School Mount” Alexander Nevzorov lays out numerous autopsied facts I wish every horse rider spent time soaking in. The book itself is written in a fashion reminiscent of Samuel Hahnemann’s “Organon of Medicine” which I appreciated immensely as the numbered paragraphs makes for easy reference.
“Tractate on a School Mount” gives reference to an “old half of a manuscript (unknown author, in the beginning of the seventeenth century)” and “It contains very mysterious and from time to time very ingenious instructions for teaching horses difficult elements, cabalistic mysteries and revelations, prophecies about the destiny of the horse and thoughts about the destiny of the earth after the death of the School masters”.
It seems transcribers of ancient, sacred teachings omitted the lengthy “horse related chapters copying only to those fragments where there were mystical or cabalistic revelations”…
What a loss to leave those chapters out. Upon reading these lines, the mythology and lore the horse brings seems all the more relevant, linking mortality to inspirational divine realms. Perhaps humanity can rise to this lofty knowing and plunge our version of “love” to a more crystalline state.
In the chapter “Superbia”, Nevzorov discusses falling from the horse and how this affects what is called the “riding seat”, “the more experienced the rider is, the stronger and more ingrained his reflexive response to any unexpected movement of a horse.”
X. And this is how it is in every training situation (regardless of the level of the trainer). Many negative skills, skills in the art of being afraid of quick and unpredictable equine movements, are being strengthened.”
In this chapter he also makes mention of the “Unhealthy conditions at horseback riding schools…All of this subconsciously strengthens the fear of the horse that then will certainly appear while mounted, and will end in another fall and another trauma”.
To make peace with the fear of falling, and to rid the relationship of the “props” used to abate that fear and give the illusion of “control”, I find the follow paragraphs marvelous.
XIV. I always explain to my students that the more they believe that the horse’s mind is organic and full, the higher the results will be of the horse’s education. This is the secret of the School and, as a consequence, of the School seat.
“The first sign of relationship between a horse and human naturally is the removal of any metal or nasal means of control. (By nasal means of control we are referring to the side pull, hackamore, bosal, Parelli halter, etc.)”
All such means of controlling the head depend on props that affect major nerve plexus, bits included. These will cause great shocks to the head/brain/mind of the horse. The TMJ joint, petrosal bones (located at the base of the ears, contributors to balance and proprioceptive sense) and so much more are affected. Horse folk often remark about their liking of certain bits, lip chains or halters that provide “bite” to control their horses; these folks have no idea the grievous injury being done. This will be a topic of greater exploration in future writings as it relates to tremendous suffering and PTSD type issues horses suffer.
“The School seat is a natural result of that full understanding. When the feelings and moods of a horse are clear and can be easily regulated at the “relationship” level, there is no need for any “pain inflicting” means of control.”
This paragraph rings so true – for too many horse folk, the seat is false and insecure, it so lacks understanding and foundation – so props are used to unsuccessfully fill in the gaps of honorable relationship. When we think we are listening, we have barely begun to scratch the surface. We are dead to the pain the horse and rider are trying to function through.
In closing this chapter Nevzorov gives timeless wisdom for the horses’ body for those who simply think riding bridle-less gives the horse autonomy (it is often false autonomy).
XV. …At times, a rider with so-called, “riding experience” takes off the metal or nasal means of control. But, unfortunately, this “riding experience” is only experience of negative character, and he tries to transfer the rules and habits of standard riding to relationship with a horse, without having mastered the skills of the School.
There is a habit of demanding, or ruling foolishly, to consider oneself the king and ruler, to whom the horse must obey. The poison of making demands of a horse already curses the blood of he who experiments, leading to imperious and very foolish demands.
These people have no understanding of spatuim, they aren’t used to complying with the interests of a horse, and understanding his pain and discomfort.
Another factor is activated as well. Riding “bitless” outside of the School is always uncollected riding, riding which is very primitive, ugly and destructive for a horse as riding with metal, as well as being extremely painful and mutilating the entire mycological structure.
“As well as being extremely painful and mutilating the entire mycological structure”, an interesting observation to the last paragraph is that the type of riding the horse is subjected too will leave not only a distinct “outline” while riding – but a very distinct stance/musculature once the rider is off the horse, even if the rider is absent for very long periods. Such are the effects of our burdens. The body cannot lie.
We are living in a time where so few know how to correctly develop the horse to carry a rider (without weighing down the spine and the horse at liberty). What we see as “training” for the most part in modern times is crippling destruction of living tissue. I have long felt this, and the more one witnesses life, the truer this rings. Training, as most know it, cripples horses.
The following chapter “A Man on the Back” tells the story that only dissected tissue can tell. Since childhood, I have done some aspect of silent communication/ healing work. I delved into the healing arts, because I knew horses were hurting and conventional means of “health care” did not even seem to touch the surface of what I was sensing. Alexander Nevzorov is one of the few courageous and outspoken advocates that covers the depth I felt this destructive lie of “horsemanship” condones. As I read these short but oh so to the point chapters, my mind was flooded with beings of long ago, and the deceptiveness that was shoved down a child’s throat, as “truth”.
Pain, Burden, Shell Games
Working students, the horse industry relies on horse hungry youngsters to fill in many blanks. Sometimes riding horses is the exchange for long after school hours of grooming, prepping horses for lessons and tending to the injured. For a horse crazed kid, it’s a dream come true. With that dream comes all the muck that goes with the horse world.
I was 14 years old when I started to work with horses. I rode my bicycle to a local barn and asked to be put to work. And I was.
The first barn the trainer was at had a fairly clean game plan. Clients allowed the use of their horses for lessons. They were loved and well cared for by most standards. After a few months, a change of stables came. The new stable had a “rent string”. These horses are “leased” from “killer buyers”, they are used till no longer serviceable then sold to slaughter. The owners of the stable were seasoned, harsh, old school types.
I showed up expecting my usual set of equines to ready for the days lessons. A bait and switch occurred at this new venue. I was told to ready what seemed an endless and ailing flow of horses from the rent string.
They were kept in a large pen at the back of the stable. Most of these creatures had under-developed muscling from too much use and pain, sullen, sunken eyes, open sores on their back and girths. I was told by the stable manager how to “ready the horses for the lessons”, packing the sores with salves and other means of putting a band aid on a gunshot wound. I remember telling her they shouldn’t be ridden with such painful sores. Their stance braced as if that could somehow shield their pain. I was told there was no choice, they would be fine. Ah what becomes the “new norm”.
I could only bear to watch a portion of the lessons, children being taught to whip and spur ailing beings along. This was horsemanship. No idea of what is hidden beneath – so typical of humanity. Someday when these babes were older, they would be conditioned to expect the same of themselves.
I finished that day, apologizing to all the horses. Making no sense of the dead and reflexed responses every adult had at the place. I made a decision to go on my own that day and started even longer trail walks, side by side, with my little brown mare Berni. I remember crying many tears.
I remember the stable manager lovingly trying to ease the horses’ burdens. She was a kind a soul and did the best under unacceptable circumstances. We are a society born under very compensated and addictive reactions. Many in the horse industry drink heavily, drugging of horse and human are commonplace, everyone shifts to accommodate the influence. It is a web that spins many a dysfunctional behaviors. I observed too much of that in my own family and at the barn, a cultural blight one might say.
I did not know at the time, but my homeopathic education was evolving here, welling up from the foundation already laid by family life. Witness to the secretive and excessive action of the sycotic miasm, the destruction of the syphilitic miasm, both relying on the “inability to self advocate” of the cancer miasm, keeping the game stuck in sickly habits; so many common threads weaving through so many life circumstances.
In a short span the stable manager fell quite ill. I remember visiting her at the hospital. She was on huge amounts of steroids. She did not resemble herself. I don’t know whatever became of her. I left the barn soon thereafter. I couldn’t help but think her condition was an extension of what the horses endured…what we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
While such obvious open, saddle sores are less common now, many more subtle signs of trauma to spine can be noted to the soul that is willing to see past the show of charades this world seems so good at.
Deepening wisdom; from Chapter 2 of “Tractate on a School Mount”, on the topic of “A Man on the Back”.
II. The School mount of a rider, which is the topic of our conversation, is developed from an exact knowledge of a horse’s feelings about a man being on its back, and from a desire to minimize the harm and discomfort that a rider always brings to the horse.
I am sure this sentence hits most equestrians like a sledgehammer where it hurts the most. Yet, it verifies so many hands-ons experience as a bodyworker. There is much pain in the spine of most horses. Sometimes so great, the least pressure of running ones finger along the spine cause the horse to almost drop to the ground. After many years and many beings, I am sure lameness that shows in the legs is the compensatory result of unimaginable pain in the spine. How serendipitous that many of our beloved homeopathic remedies addressing pain in the limbs also have deep action on the spine.
In the past, clients would ask if I would ride a horse showing “neurological issues” to see what they were talking about (stumbling, hind legs giving out, inability to take up a certain lead, no engagement and so on). Invariably, these horses had stiffened spines – sometimes locked/frozen in pain. No, I did not need to ride. After a session, a remedy and some time, a clearer picture can be read from riding such a creature. Most could be resolved, but changes needed to be made in human perceptions/expectations of the creature’s condition and exercises that helped the horse bear our burdens.
VI. If riding on a horseback gave the rider all the painful feelings that the rider brings to the horse, I can tell you that horseback riding as a historical entity wouldn’t exit. Man would just anathematize the horse.
One will often see the subtle changes in a horses’ stance as the saddle is first placed upon its back. The pressure increases when the girth is tightened. Saddle fit is an elusive art that ebbs and flows with a horses development, age, work load and so many other factors. Ill fitting saddles will often dig into sensitive acupuncture points relating to lung (grief) and kidney (fear) function, further interfering with oxygenation, water balance,and the emotional correspondence of these organs. When horses are saddled for the first time – they already assume a posture of protecting the all important and sensitive spine. Once weighted by the rider, more so. While saddle fit has made strides via shims, specialized pads and more, the trained eye can spot a host of spinal traumas, even though open saddle sores are not as obvious as in previous decades.
Spinal malformations give credence to this deadening effect. Recalling the first time I saw a transversal rotation of the equine spine in a bodyworking class. I was sickened, the dissected spine frozen in a permanent twist – induced by humans. It gave me much to think about then, more so now, but still, humans convince ourselves we do no harm by riding horses.
Many think riding bareback is better. This was discussed and debunked years ago at a bodywork class – Nevzorovs’ explanation of “trauma by blunt object” is well known in forensic science.
XIII. …The rider himself is the “blunt object”. It is a sad and funny conclusion after many thousands of years riding…
The rider’s seat bones impact the horses’ spine in the most vulnerable way. Direct perpendicular impact to the most sensitive structures of transmitting information from the horse’s legs to the brain, the rider pounds the spinal cord/brain with repetitive trauma. The rider pounds an anatomical structure not designed to bear weight.
While working with teams of horse and rider – it is not uncommon for both to carry the same areas of pain and compensation. When working on small pets and guardians – the same patterns of lock up can also be observed. Blissful and unaware, we have no idea how we impact the web of life around us. Many years and many beings later – the body does not, cannot lie.
Riders feel they can better sense the subtle changes in themselves and the horse’s body when riding bare back. While this is most definitely true, imbalances the rider carries are on path for direct transfer to the horses’ body as well. Bareback pads do little to minimize the trauma the seat bones impale to the thin skin/muscle/nerves along the spine.
From the chapter “A Man on the Back”,
XV. …The tissues that suffer the most and are exposed to microtraumas are the transversospinal muscle tissues…
It seems they are hidden more deeply, but the fascicles of their fibers run from the spinous process behind the vertebrae, to the mastoids which lie afore, which makes them especially vulnerable to pressure from a rider being on his back.
In short, we have a scientifically proven fact, which allows us to state that not a single horse feels pleasure from a rider being on his back.
That is the sad physiological truth.
I remember discussing these microtraumas with various clients through the years. The horses move like boards – stiff, guarded and it gets worse with more “training” because the horse was never allowed to develop its body on its own volition, let alone be guided by a hand that had factual perceptivity of what the horse truly feels. These owners seemed more upset about the money spent for this “training” than the damage done. Years later, when the trauma has gone too far, a morose visit to said equines showed what arrogance yields, crippled horses, often killed for insurance money. These folks soon quell their grief with the purchase another poor beast and the cycle repeats. Such a mindset seems to leave one no choice but to walk away from such premeditated and perpetuated insanity.
XVIII. …Muscles have a right to their say. Moreover, this voice of the horse is more authoritative than man’s vote.
My God I love this line! This is true relationship and communication, the rest is ego babble bent on making a mold of an equine partner. It beckons letting go of all the pre-programmed nonsense written on our souls and that we have allowed to be imposed on that of the horse.
The following paragraphs outline damage to the horses back, via computer thermographs, red, orange and purples indicating deep inflammation to the spine. Hematomas along the spine from the posting trot, spinal injuries and trauma; much of which will result in necrotic tissue in living horses. This will shock most readers, and it should. I have seen this first hand, in dissection class and field autopsies that veterinarians perform. Still such graphic and telling dissected tissue proof is glossed over and ignored.
These horses labeled sport horses, athletes (even those esteemed in Olympics, racing, jumping, cutting, reining etc.), are injected, stem-celled and doped to please their owners and continue “training” through pain and injury. Forced into un-natural “training”, the crazed running of infantile equine tissue as racing condones. Babes, horses skulls and spines, not fully mature till they are 7 years old. In the wild a horse will only run to escape danger. When in “race” training the body is expected to exceed what tissue can endure. Tendon and bone buckle, soon organs take up the stress – it is no wonder most race horses have heart issues. In homeopathy we know suppression of bone pain will affect the heart, if the pain is not taken into complete picture of what the soul is enduring.
Forced to jump un-natural barriers, spinning, sliding, horse babes whose bones are not set or matured, macerated into tissue scaring games. Work on these creatures when and if they make it to a ripe old age and be truthful to the information your hands and senses register, scar tissue, frozen, deadened tissue, necrotic tissue – in living horses. Enough is enough.
It is time give such a long suffering and enduring creature something better. The horse has no need for these games humans play, no matter what humans tells themselves. The price has been too high, for too long, to both horse and human. The human so invisibly chained – we consider this torture a right. Still the horse extends grace.
Grace, Kinship, Spatium
The decision to no longer ride evolves from clearer volition. There is no doubt the horse provides much healing to humans when mounted as in sensory work to those with autism, those with PTSD, or any human wanting to deepen soul communication with themselves, life around them and the planet, how to fill this gap?
In Nevzorov’s studies, he found what he termed “spatium”. The amount of time a rider can be on the sensitive, non-weight bearing organ/spine mechanism, causing discomfort but not yet pain. This provided the horse has been prepared correctly at liberty with exercises to strengthen their ability to bear our burden. This time span, or spatium, is 5 minutes for young horses, up to 15 minutes for mature, correctly developed beings. After half an hour, the discomfort turns to pain and obvious damage to tissue; period that is the dissected science. The body does not lie.
Before I stopped riding, I was seemingly already adhering to this principle, funny how things can just evolve when a very pure state of communication is at play and not playing games.
While many will wonder how a horse can keep fit with such schedule – I believe, the horse will be more fit if the human knows there is a period of grace to accomplish your goals, on the horses back. The horse learns quickly and really has no need for our games; his body will change when no longer bearing our burden. We have placed him in this circumstance, we think we know what tissue needs – we don’t even know how to properly care for ourselves! Our bodies do not lie either.
This is where the gift of not riding unlocks not so much something in the horse (though this will happen as well) but rather something deep within us. That gift will allow humans a profound awakening to all the invisible tethers we have allowed ourselves to be bridled, harnessed and yoked with. A cleaner self respect prevails.
When working with people homeopathically, they often have an awakening to how much of their lives have been driven by fear and anger. This is mistaken for “energy”. When this pattern is diffused, the being works from much more clarity, peace and integrity. There is an honoring of self, limits, engagements and more. You learn to live and not exist. The same will happen in many high strung creatures. The angst diffused, life becomes treasured, as it should be.
When this gift is given to the horse and self, there is a bond that seems unworldly. This is the place where “props” of tack are no longer needed. It is kinship built on time, respect and deep knowing what each other is going though. It is the no bullshit zone. Humans are so geared to play games; we have lost the art of simply playing, uncompensated.
Decades ago I noted a horse at liberty could be influenced by how I moved and unlocked my body. Years ago in clinics, I would show others the simple and profound ways to ride using the sacral center energy (our center of gravity when on the horse), pelvis and spine alignment with the horse and the use of breath to influence the horses’ movement. The horses would turn, walk, trot, canter, and stop all using such very subtle signals, when both horse and rider were ready. There is much soul work to be done to reach such a place, do not fool yourselves. This is why most need props, we weave our webs from much falseness. This is why the horse can be such a profound healer. That is what this website will be all about, exploring the healing effects of animals, plants and nature when not limited by human hubris.
There is no need to justify your need to ride to me, only to your horse. This is not meant to dissuade, but give greater reflection to relation.
I am highly skilled at the art of slacking. Most wildlife will spend a great deal of their day in observation. When working within the time span of spatium, so much can be accomplished. The rest of time can be spent with the horse at play (where much of our human induced damage can be undone), learning tricks that unlock fixed patterns of painful expectation in our equine friends and long walks. Wild horses do travel great distances, mostly at the walk and jog. And that may be a humans greatest objection to not riding, we ourselves are not fit enough to take on a being that knows the healing effect of long, meditative walks.
There is much to unearth here and we have just barely scratched the surface. I am sure this will be a parting way for many who do not wish to excavate what needs to be brought to the surface when such vulnerabilities are exposed. That is expected and a bit of a relief. It cuts to the cords to false expectation I can no longer serve. We see decade after decade the re-appearance of abusive issues in the horse world that laws passed eons ago were to address. This is a pitfall of humanity, to seek outside of self, something that there is only an internal fix for.
I have the most amazing clientele. There are so many layers to dis-ease these days. And still Nature gives us grace of healing and fulfillments of dreams. I look forward to new autonomy and new levels of healing for those this resonates with. Choosing not to divulge my knowing, I would be such a fraud to all the wonderful Windwalkers of the past, who have taught me so much, giving vigor to embrace the future. A living being need not carry within it necrotic tissue, without such deadness inside, is living.
Nancy Herrick, “Animal Mind, Human Voices”. Hahnemann Clinic Publishing, Nevada City, CA. 1998.
Alexander Nevzorov, “Tractate on a School Mount”. Published by Nevzorov Haute Escole, Charleston, S.C. USA, 2012.