To Ride or Not to Ride...this is the ???
Clearly it goes without saying that Alexander Nevzorov is an amazing horseman. Watching his interactions with horses will make your jaw drop. If you haven’t seen his work, I encourage you to do so. Alexander is a true advocate of the horse. Like me, he rejects the use of riding bits, horseshoes, and other standard equipment. In his school (Haute Ecole) the horse is neither a means of transportation nor a source of entertainment, but instead is considered to be an equal.
I recently read a book titled Beyond the Dream Horse: A Revealing Perspective on Attaining a True Relationship by Michael Bevilacqua. Michael lives in Canada and he is Alexander’s representative in North America. I enjoyed Michael’s book very much but it caused me to feel somewhat uneasy. He and Alexander now espouse the theory that horses should not be ridden. I so appreciate the work of Alexander Nezorov and I too am an advocate of the horse, but give up riding? I considered the possibility, but just didn’t know if I could agree. Yet, if riding proved to be physically stressful for my horse I would not want to cause him pain. One of the reasons I like to ride is that it is good exercise for me and my horse. I don’t use a bit (just his halter) and I have a treeless saddle and my horse is also barefoot. I decided that I couldn’t just idly take the expert’s word for it. Therefore, I asked my horse what HE thought about the matter in question.
I took my saddle, halter, and reins into the arena. Completely at liberty, I saddled my horse while studying his every move for any sign of discomfort or disapproval while I tacked up. He appeared to be fine. Then, I stood on the mounting block and called my horse to me. Still at liberty, he positioned himself to allow me to mount. He proved to be quite willing and receptive as you can see in this video.
As I said, I do love Alexander’s work. It makes me salivate with envy to see what he can do with horses. Yet, once again, I had been faced with the dichotomy between taking the advice of an expert or taking the advice of my horse. In the end, I chose to ask my horse what he wanted and was open to any answer that he might give. Gladly, I found that he is ok with me riding him and of course I value his input more than anyone else’s. Once again the horse speaks and I am a willing listener. Sometimes it’s not what we TEACH that has the greatest impact. It’s having the courage to ASK the hard questions and the bravery to HEAR the answers that will lead us to OUR truth. As always, we remain .....students of the horse!