Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Help us review, edit and translate the Path of the Horse book

We are are excited to offer a one-time opportunity for readers of this blog to join us in editing, reviewing and translating the new Path of the Horse book.  We think it will prove to be an innovative way of spreading the message while also being a project to bring us together.  Together we can make the book and message strong through our shared experiences and opinions from everyone here who is interested in exploring the leading edge of relationships with horses and humans.

The foreword and author's note are posted below.  Take some time to read through and offer your comments, edits, suggestions, and critiques.  Add your voice in the comments section of this blog post.  Everyone who contributes here will be sent the first chapter to review.  For every chapter you review, edit or translate, we will send you the next chapter.

If English is not your native language, consider helping to translate the book into your language.  We will put together teams of people who speak the same language to work on the translation and check each other on this project.  You might find some new friends!

Marketing and publishing ideas are also welcome.  We want to offer this as a collaborative effort in all areas. 

Thank you,
The OurHorses team

The Path of the Horse: from competition to compassion


Anyone who has considered the oppression of women around the world or has delved into the ugly truths behind industrial animal agriculture should immediately understand the spotlight Stormy May brings to equine industries and equestrian practices. Questions such as ownership of another person’s body and what rights such ownership entails are central to Stormy May’s critique of how humans maintain horses in states of physical and emotional captivity. If you have ever had the slightest inkling that common practices in the equestrian world might involve grave injustice to the extraordinarily sensitive, intelligent, and forgiving being that is a horse, this book will offer a new way to understand the dance of love.

Stormy May’s vision moves beyond the impasse where debates about animal rights typically end. Specifically, she offers an alternative to the window dressing of “improving” conditions of confinement and enslavement. Instead, the OurHorses project draws readers to the wisdom of community with its potential to unite humans and horses in working toward a greater good for all. Within community, both equine and human, we will find the validation, solidarity, and support to do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said, unlearning as much as we have learned about horses and relearning as much and more, about horses, ourselves, and the lives we share. The vision presented here is of a present and a future for human-horse relationships that rejects the imposition of human will on horses, offering instead a more dynamic model of communication that honors equine subjectivity and autonomy.

Most critically, Stormy May points to the ways that horses can help us become better, less destructive creatures in our own right, toward all beings in the world, including ourselves. Recognizing and validating the role that horses can play in helping humans move toward greater enlightenment through compassion and non-doing, the OurHorses project offers concrete alternatives to those of us who feel incomplete without horses in our lives, who have rejected traditional pathways, and who have yearned to find ways to be a horse-person that do not entail suffering for our most cherished equine companions. Offering alternatively incisive critique, compelling concrete evidence, and poetic imagination, Stormy May helps readers feel into a new world by reconsidering human- horse co-existence.

Natalie Hansen, PhD
Santa Monica, CA
24 April 2011

April 2012

I loved hanging out with horses. I loved feeding them grass and oats and carrots and apples. I loved smelling their warm breath and touching their tender noses. I loved hearing them run in a field. I loved watching them moving together fast and slow. I loved watching them drink and play and rest in the sun. I loved the challenge of learning how to connect with even the most skittish by enticing them with food or engaging their innate curiosity and leading them into to a good scratching and grooming session involving my fingers and their lips.

I loved horseback riding. I loved the balance, the harmony, the grace of human and horse bodies merging in time and space. I loved the feeling of moving together while participating in dressage, trail riding, gymkhana, show jumping, eventing, polo, and foxhunting - the modern day equivalents of the ancient practices of training for battle, transportation, farm work, and recreation for high society.

I loved the physical feeling of galloping, jumping, prancing, and walking along countless trails on horseback. I loved the mental challenge of teaching children and adults how to navigate on their mounts. I loved showing horses how to relax and be okay with what humans were doing to them. I thought I was making the world a better place, one horse and rider at a time.

There were some parts I didn’t like. I didn’t like that I needed corrals and halters and bridles to control the horses. I didn’t like that I had to continue pushing a horse and myself physically in order to be competitive or to simply work through the hundreds of tiny disobediences that occurred in everyday riding. I didn’t like the way the relationship between the horses and myself felt after I showed them, through physical means, who was in charge.

As a horse trainer I became aware enough to recognize that there was something about the way I had been taught to handle horses that needed to change if I wanted to feel that I was giving my best to my horse friends. I took a trip around the world to meet and film 6 people working on the leading edge of understanding horses. The Path of the Horse documentary, released in 2008, was the result that has sparked a new level of understanding and compassion throughout the horse world.

For the most part, the audience up to this point has been horse owners looking for better ways to relate to their equine companions. They are grateful that someone from within the industry has taken the time to show and question practices that seem harmful and hurtful to horses today. From many of these people I hear that viewing the movie causes a sense of relief that somebody else is seeing the same things they are seeing.

The movie creates a new space in the minds of many viewers to be able to take a closer look at what we are really doing
with horses and other areas of our life through a perspective rarely seen before in movies and never in a documentary made by a horse trainer.

We get to follow the point of view of someone who was willing to give up what she thought was most dear about horses, riding, in the name of exploring what might lie beyond. Along the way I uncovered keys to unlock the symbolism of horses and the horse human relationship throughout time.

With the release of the documentary, I saw that my journey wasn’t over. After learning from each of these people, I felt that I needed to step back out of the horse world for a period of time in order to get a different perspective. The horses and I spent hours together in a field. No halters, no bridles, no riding, nobody telling us how to be together. We found our own games and pleasures.

I found in the end, just as we can never truly know the mind or body of another, we may never truly know if riding hurts horses. However, we can likely all agree that horseback riding, and all uses of horses for human sport, recreation, entertainment or monetary gain are an indulgence that at this time we can abstain from for a while in order to join the exploration of what happens when we turn from practices that may exploit animals or the environment to those that work toward healing us all.

If we want to live in a clean, green world, we are the ones who need to create it. Could we find the time to create this world by curbing our indulgences whether they be horseback riding, television watching, Internet gaming, travel, sports, shopping, family, movies, pets or any number of other ways we spend our time, and using this time to reach out to our community, learning to help fellow humans by following our hearts?

We are calling this experiment OurHorses. We, a growing community of like-minded horse-lovers, are giving up our indulgences of controlling horses and a portion of other pastimes in exchange for time to get to know our neighbors and help care for the planet, including horses and nature in all her manifestations. We recognize that horses are a collective nation that has served humankind for thousands of years. They have helped humans achieve amazing things. Now we are going to treat them as friends and honored guests. We are going to care for them. We are no longer asking them to serve us, to stand under us, to lend us their power, to lend us their wings.

There is already a group of us who want to do this because we see it is needed. Whether or not we have been responsible for making our world the way it is today, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to clean it up.

Now that I’ve grown up some, I’ve found that there is something healing for a human to care for and heal a horse without asking anything in return. Maybe that’s how I got healed. Part of taking care of horses means that we need to spend a lot of time listening in order to create a world where horses and humans are valued simply because they are fellow beings sharing this lifetime on earth with us. In this world they don’t need to be young or pretty or fast or strong or rideable. In this world we can take every last horse and give them all homes where they can lead happy, healthy lives. In this world, we humans can live peaceful lives alongside them and invite our friends to do the same.

With 90,000 to 140,000 horses being sent from the USA to slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico each year, we know there are a lot of captive born and wild caught horses who need homes where they are cared for and allowed to live out their lives in peaceful, natural surroundings with friends and room to roam.

I hope you find this to be a magical book, a gift from a different perspective. Let it sink in, as any good magic book will do. Only this magic book is about real life, the most dramatic play ever performed.

Open the book whenever it comes to mind and let the images and words guide your moment. I hope you are fortunate enough to own a copy that you can feel in your hands and smell the pages of. These copies will retain a sensory record of your readings, especially if you’re bold enough to take notes and draw pictures in your book.

Take your time with this book. There is no end to get to, only moments to take you to live in the new world in your mind. As you turn a page a picture might appear or a story unfold; watch for the words and images to leap off the pages and dance. That’s when you know you’ve gotten into the new world.

The placement of photographs and paintings as they appear in this book might be likened to a jazz rhythm, or a sequence of several separate stories to visit along this path, or windows into a moment in time in one person’s life. You might ask yourself, What was the photographer experiencing? What about the horses? What about the artist, what had she seen? What is she expressing or commenting on?

I’ll now turn you loose knowing I’ve given you the best instructions I know how to give through a book. I hope to meet you again in the last chapter and tell you more about who we are and just how we plan to save all the horses and humans.

Add your comments below to get the first chapter sent to you.


  1. It is a good time to go forward into the next phase of life. The animals are ever patient and, for some reason, don't lose their desire to help us. It is very humbling. And very inspiring to do what is necessary.

    1. Madeleine, it sounds like you understand this on a deep level. Glad to have you along. Look for the first chapter coming to your email. Thank you.

  2. hi stormy...what a wonderful start to what will be such an important peice of literature. life changing for those that pick it up. 2 suggestions: paragraph - 'we get to follow...' seems to come from 2 different perspectives, third and first person.
    Also, sentence: 'there is no end...' instead of mind perhaps heart? thanks for and those that support your vision will succeed in changing the world. Lynda Watson, Equine Empowerment

    1. Hi Lynda, thanks for your comments. I had a rough time trying to figure out how to word that paragraph that changes from third and first person. Not sure it's right yet. I appreciate you helping with this. I'll be sending you the first chapter shortly.

  3. Thank you Stormy, for the open invitation to be involved in the creating of this very worthwhile endeavor. There is much to learn and wonder about! Suzanne Dicks

    1. You're welcome Suzanne, it's fun to invite people along at this stage. It's such a big part of the message that I'm exploring, how to bring people together to help the world. Thanks for being part of it. I can't find a way to email you. Will you send an email to and I'll send you the first chapter. Take care.

  4. "unlearning as much as we have learned about horses and relearning as much and more, about horses, ourselves, and the lives we share."

    Unlearning...that is the challenge, and I see it as a more difficult task than moving into this new and wonderful perspective, one of deepening my understanding of the beauty of freedom for ALL beings.
    Thank You Stormy and all who are involved with this effort. I am grateful and appreciative for the support OurHorses and the book will provide.
    May all beings be free and at peace,

    1. Thanks Lucy. I agree, unlearning is the hardest part. It takes vulnerability, humility, and a lot of presence. It's a good thing we have something inspiring to work towards! Please send an email to and I'll get the first chapter off to you.

  5. Hi Stormy

    Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be part of this process.

    After reading the Foreword and Author’s Note, I am excited to read the book.

    From an editing perspective, I found excessive use of the filler word “that”. I have always encouraged my students not to use the word unless absolutely necessary and only when it adds to the clarity of the sentence. When I went through the notes and removed the extra “that”s I found in most cases it did not detract from the message and made it cleaner. Just a suggestion.
    Within the body of the text itself I found only one section on which I would like to comment. The sentence that starts “Could we find the time to create this world”; I’m not sure how many of us would consider spending time with family and friends (human or animal) an indulgence. I think I know what you are getting at, but for some it may seem you are advocating spending time with strangers over those to whom we have made a commitment. There those of use who already spend tremendous amounts of time volunteering to help both human and animal societies make a difference and I would not consider those as indulgences in the same category as Internet gaming, sports, or shopping. Perhaps to say how the other kinds of indulgences are more self-serving and do not contribute to the overall wellbeing of society may clarify your point. Just a thought.

    Again, thank you so much for the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful initiative. I look forward to reading more as it becomes available.

    Warm Regards,
    Robert Stumbur

    1. Robert, thanks for your editing expertise. I already hunted out the "whiches" and replaced with "that" but I hear you, I'm probably still too wordy!!!

      I especially appreciate your comment about what indulgences are. Hopefully by the end of the book that will be made more clear. I look forward to editing and questioning along with you for the rest of the book. Look for the first chapter coming to you soon.

  6. It would be an honor for me to participate in nurturing your new book to fruition. I look forward to your first chapter. Also, I look forward to learning how to strengthen my connection to the horse and humans through your writings.

    your student,

  7. Linda, please email so we can send you the first chapter. Thanks for your willingness to be a part of this creation.

  8. i thought i had responded but it appears i have not so ...... thank you for this opportunity to participate.

    for me what is so important in your forward is the juxtaposition of your initial experiences inside the "traditional" world of equestrianism with those questions which existed in your heart. how many of us have lived with those questions but not had the courage to act on them.

    your work has shown us there are options. your work has shown us that the horse matters. i brought my horse from a riding school because i loved his character. you have inspired me to respect and protect that.

    you write honestly and that honesty challenges the reader to themselves. it invites us to find our own way with our horses.

    thank you.

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Graeme for your own explorations and voice in this new world, we'll send along the first chapter. Glad to have you along for the editing.

    2. Thanks Graeme for your own explorations in this new world. Glad to have you along for the editing. We'll send the first chapter shortly.

  10. Stormy, your DVD and blog and your writing in this new book are all inspiring, deeply thought provoking and very sensitive. Thank you for the opportunity for many to participate in this process. In the paragraph where you define the indulgences we might let go of you include "family" and "pets" as indulgences on the same level as internet gaming and shopping. I don't agree that taking care of our family and animals is an indulgence, but rather count that time and effort as a critically important part of building community. Sadly, I think exploitative and resource wasteful indulgences like gaming and shopping break down the relationships of family and caring for animals. I would also like to suggest that a partnership with a horse working the land might be on a different level than using a horse for "sport, recreation, entertainment or monetary gain." I have an 11 year old draft horse who is a deeply important part of our efforts at creating sustainability, and the work he does for us is critical to the health of our farm. I wonder if working with horses caring for the land in a respectful and honoring and loving way really fits in the same category as riding, etc.

    1. Windhorse, you bring up some very good points. That's going to help make the project stronger. Please send an email to and we'll get you the first chapter.

  11. Hi Stormy May,
    I'm coming in a little late in the process but would love to lend a hand!
    I have planted the seeds to start a sanctuary and finding this site has brought
    my vision to life!! I cannot tell you how much it meant to me reading thru these pages and
    seeing that although I've come to horses late in life, I'm not completely crazy!!!
    Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you soon :)

  12. Stormy,
    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to give you feedback on this inspiring topic! I am excited and intrigued to read the first chapter and indulge myself in this new knowledge. I have had the opportunity to watch your documentary and would like for you to know that it inspired me and spoke to my heart and soul.

    1. Hi Codie,

      Thanks for writing. Catch up with us at to see the latest creations. Join in the discussions there, tell us about who you are and what you are looking for.

      I look forward to seeing you on this path.

      Take care,

  13. Dear Stormy,
    you paint an emotive picture both, of your desires and the reality of the present equestrian world. The emphasis on journeying together to make fresh discoveries by listening to horses is tantalising and led me to feel that I too can be a part of the change I want to see, that horses would be respected as the profound teachers they are and acknowledged and treated as such. The horses are waiting to heal us and spread this message afar.

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