Beyond the Dream Horse – by Michael Bevilacqua
As the subtitle says, “it is a revealing perspective on attaining a true relationship. It describes how turning around many standard beliefs about horses and training can allow an honest relationship to flourish. This book is not about herd behaviour, rather it is about the possibilities that exist between horses and humans. It is about achieving the elusive relationship of which is often only dreamed.”
Michael Bevilavqua isn’t talking about the a subservient relationship here – where the dream horse does everything perfectly exactly when you ask, with little or no expression. He’s talking about a relationship of equality where the horse is allowed to express its feelings and the person listens, just as they would to a true friend.
Through reliving his progression from a 37 yo ‘new to horses’ rider, to someone sought after for horse training and instructing, Michael writes from the heart and shares his journey and discoveries made from truly listening to his own and the horses feelings.
He tells of looking to some of the more popular horsemanship programs and says “The traditional tools for controlling a horse have not changed for thousands of years. However towards the end of the 20th century, many new techniques surfaced that seemed less violent. It was more of a subtle, quiet violence. With joyous explanations and beautiful words or catch phrases, many new techniques were no less violent to the horse either physically or mentally. They were just explained to us differently. Through the smooth method of modern marketing, many thought they’d found the end of the rainbow.”
So this book is not about a particular ‘method’ but about letting go of all methods and allowing the relationship to develop. Certainly if you have trouble visualising how that might happen, reading this book will give you a picture of how it happened for one person when his attitudes and beliefs changed. Here is one of my favorite passages;
“Yet, it is simply abuse if we hammer repeatedly a reaction out of, or into, a horse. If we teach a horse, and I do not mean ‘train’ but really teach with patience and clarity for understanding, view the horse with a positive, creative, loving and happy attitude, then the self-imposed wall crumbles. Time spent with the the horse should not be solely for trying to get something done. By treating the horse as a cherished companion, the barrier between human and horse ceases to exist. We will begin to see the gentleness, intelligence, and cooperation that were before us all along, but masked through proliferated notions that a horse is an animal that needs to be conquered and trained.”
I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration to start or keep you on a new path of achieving that true relationship with your horses.
This 200+ page paperback doesn’t have any pretty pictures (apart from the beautiful cover) but the words more than paint a picture. If you would like to see some photos, go to the website https://www.beyondthedreamhorse.ca and purchase a copy of the book and even the DVD’s to go with it. If you are in Australia and wish to get a copy you can do that from my store at https://www.naturalhorseworldstore.com/categories/Books/