This new DVD follows the quest of a competitive rider and trainer who is frustrated with how being in the adult competitive horse world has taken away the fun and relationship to the horse she remembers from childhood: the simple love of a little girl for her pony. She goes on a world-wide quest to meet horse people who have tried to change the relationship between horses and people into something more spiritual, more egalitarian, more balanced, or more sensitive.
On the most practical side she visits noted Western trainer Mark Rashid, who is one of the few people she meets who still uses the horse as a work animal, though he approaches training and riding with a profound sensitivity and awareness of the horse's needs and how the horse understands.
Some of the other horse people she visits, including Carolyn Reznick, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, and Alexander Nevzerov, are all people who dance with their horses, eschewing riding for the most part, and in the case of Nevzerov, proclaiming the bit and bridle pure cruelty. For some of these trainers, the relationship with the horse has become something of an art form, and riding or traditional "use" of the horse is an anachronism best abandoned.
The skill of the horse people (not all would call themselves 'trainers', and one is a painter) covered in the movie is remarkable, and the work they do with horses quite impressive. I do wish the video had put the narrator's quest into some context, perhaps touching a little more on the history and varieties of horsemanship and horse-human relationships.
The DVD will clearly appeal most to those with a spiritual or romantic inclination, rather than 'meat and potatoes' types. It is beautifully shot and produced, and full of beautiful horses and some impressive scenes. Just keep a hanky nearby for the more sentimental bits.
For the time being, "The Path of the Horse" can be ordered from the producer at Stormy May Productions.