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  • Writer's pictureStudio Zero Anne

Animals Are Here With Us, Not For Us: Wisdom For A New World

They were not like the domesticated horses I’d been around while growing up, the ones my cousins had cared for and won many 4-H competitions on. No, these horses were different. These horses were not contained in any sort of narrow aspects of human culture. And seeing them bound freely, manes running wild, into the river water that I happened to be swimming in gave me the greatest joy. I could feel their untamed nature, their deep love and affection for one another, their natural bond with the land and the river of which I have never felt so blessed to be in. The greatest gratitude stirred my soul as I marveled at their incredible beauty, strength, and grace.

*Above: Iphone photo of the Salt River Horses (did not have my regular cam w/ me!) To see professional horse photos, go here)

So you can imagine how happy I am to have discovered the work of Ren Hurst and her incredibly courageous and groundbreaking book Riding on the Power of Others only a month after my first encounter with wild horses.

“Ren Hurst finds her way to horses as a teenager, following a turbulent and painful childhood. They are her saving grace, her first experience of pure joy and freedom. She soon becomes a passionate horsewoman, intent on riding her way to the top. Her ascent takes an unexpected turn when compassion becomes the key component to success after she discovers an entirely new paradigm regarding equine understanding and practices.
This understanding leads her to walk away completely from riding and training horses and into a world where relationship is all that matters. These innovative currents of change reveal themselves to be demanding and controversial, but also exceptionally rewarding and unavoidably far-reaching into Ren’s personal life. She embarks on a wild quest of radical transformation, finding an ever-deepening compassion for herself and all life around her.
This book is the story of a woman’s metamorphosis through her falls, rises, and life-changing insights, under the wise and benevolent guidance of a mystical and fascinatingly powerful animal.”

Here’s a quote from the video below where Ren shares some meaningful information from Riding on the Power of Others; it’s clear that she’s grown to understand these animals to their very depth: ​

"Today I'm going to talk about why horseback riding is exploitation. We'll get into all of the harm it causes in other videos. It really wasn't that long ago that I myself also believed that I had a right to climb on these animals and call that connection relationship and love and I really believed it. That seemed normal. It was condoned and celebrated. Then I met a horse that was unconditioned previously, and suddenly I realized I didn't know much at all. I had created a career and identity out of using and exploiting them. I understand that a lot of people really believe that their horse wants to ridden and wants to be’s so deeply ingrained. This is about taking responsibility for the way things used to be, and creating a new world…."

Riding on the Power of Others is an extraordinarily brave and wise book about connecting with animals and ourselves on deeper levels, and a much needed understanding in our world today. It’s pretty obvious that our past and present ways of living and relating are not working well for us, and it’s become vital that we restore our connection and balance with nature and one another.

This is why I am so thankful that Ren is growing and continuing in this great work, and has another book on the way that is nearly complete. I am so looking forward to reading Animal Kin: Restoring Connection to Wild Wisdom which will likely be even better and picks up where Riding on the Power of Others leaves off.

Ren covers some very inspiring evolutionary tools that we can all use to get back to our authentic and natural selves, and learn how to connect with animals and each other in new ways. We’ve allowed ourselves to mutate in so many artificial directions. It’s time to un-domesticate ourselves and initiate ways of living that reflect who we really are. Here, Ren covers some important issues that are definitely calling for change:

“I took what I had learned through the horses and began applying it to my dogs and any other relationship in my life. The results were incredible. The work proved my theories true, and in Animal Kin, you get to follow my journey with Denali -- a wild, uncontrollable husky I brought into my life for all the wrong reasons. For the readers of my first book, that probably sounds familiar. The other familiarity is that this journey proved and continues to prove just as transformational as the last, but the implications are even more far-reaching this time -- making what I've learned applicable and available to anyone with any sort of animal in their home or life, not just in the pasture.
We have become a domesticated society full of people and animals exploited for another's needs -- even in our most intimate, personal relationships. The devastating result has been a worldwide forgetting of our true nature as well as the very meaning and power of love. Whether we realize our own domestication or not, many of us perpetuate this state through our relationship to animals. I'm here to show you how to turn it around by reclaiming the deepest truth of unconditional love in relationship to those who have modeled it for centuries -- the animals in our lives.”

This is so true and something that more and more people are waking up to. And I’m confident Ren has more than enough insight, wisdom, and love to make this book a complete game-changer. It’s revolutionary and exactly the type of information that many are ripe for. But Ren can’t do it on her own. She needs help to support her family and work while she completes the last 25% of it:

“My life took a radical turn back in 2013 when I left everything I knew behind to pursue a deeper truth presented to me through my work with horses. The entire story of that journey is the subject of my first book, Riding On the Power of Others: A Horsewoman's Path to Unconditional Love (see reviews on Amazon).
The revelations and transformation that have happened since the first book was written have left me in a unique position of caring for the 27 animals from my old life without the career or income from that life to do so. I've had to completely start over with 13 horses, 6 mini equines, 3 pigs, 4 dogs, and a cat to be responsible for with no way to produce a steady income while I meet their needs and explore what they have taught me.
For four years, I've been living, learning, and developing a teachable body of work around these concepts, depending a great deal on the generous support of those that believe in this work. I am currently camping full time on a beautiful new property we have leased for the horses, completely off-grid, in order to care for all the animals in sanctuary while I develop the work into a sustainable income. That time has come, and the work is ready to teach, but I need financial support to meet our basic needs, make it accessible, and develop the sanctuary.
The greatest need right now is heat and electricity. We are headed into Winter, and the off-grid life is getting even more challenging. Ideally, this book will help launch a new career in writing, speaking, & educating, but the only way I'm going to get it finished or be able to produce other valuable content is if I have access to power, internet, and can pay for the basic needs of my family. Other than day-to-day expenses for the animals and two humans that make up my family, we hope this successful campaign can purchase a small solar system to provide power and the installation of an internet connection here on site. Anything beyond our campaign goal will go towards the development of the property as a model sanctuary and education center for my work.”

Here’s a bit more about her new book:

“This book centers around my evolution in relationship to Denali. About 18 months ago, I began applying the same principles with her that I used to heal my relationships with horses. The results were amazing. I knew in theory that it would work, but testing the power of love on an adventurous husky with a mind very much her own was daunting. I am happy to say I now know for sure that this work transcends all species and levels of domestication.
You have the power to heal your life and relationships and the ability to reclaim the wild within us all, making fear, control, and the need for any and all training modalities completely obsolete. This book is the manual and takes you along my journey with Denali, interweaving the story with the reasons this work is so important and how to do it yourself. You get an in-depth explanation of Sanctuary13 -- the 13 principles I have developed to move you into unconditional love and out of codependency forever.”

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s absolutely possible if enough of us allow it to be. This means we have to see certain parts of our behavior clearly and be honest enough with ourselves and each other to make the changes necessary to live in a world that is truly peaceful. We really need to stop trying to impress one another and just get real. This is about personal and collective responsibility. There are so many painful and destructive personal and societal habits that have been passed on for numerous generations which we need to let go of now in order to evolve. We share this amazing planet with so many other amazing beings. It’s time, more than ever, to restore our connection to wild wisdom and truly live the Truth that animals are here with us, not for us. And we all help and inspire one another grow in these ways of love and harmony so this is not at all about judgement.

As JR Westen, Executive Director for the Conversations with God Foundation, writes in the foreword to Riding on the Power of Others:

“The intention of the author was not to make anyone feel “wrong” for how they had chosen to live their life. Rather, she encourages us to explore what life would be like if we embraced change, continued to explore answers to larger questions, and sought a grander way to be and become, not only with ourselves but with every living creature we are connected to here on Earth.

Please remember as you read this book, or move through any process in life, to look through the eyes of love and compassion. Be willing to let go of judgement, which leads to condemnation and serves no one. The outcome of judgement is predictable, painful, and pointless. Simply choose love again and again. This is the highest choice any being can make.

If I were to sum up this book with one quote, it would be the following attributed to Jimi Hendrix:

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.’
Ren invites us to embrace the power of love rather than the love of power. Her relationship with horses showed her the true healing power and potential of unconditional love. Many of those horses now assist in her work of healing not only other horses, but humans, too.”

If you are interested in learning more and supporting Ren’s new book Animal Kin: Restoring Connection to Wild Wisdom, here is the link to her Kickstarter campaign:

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Below is a video of the wild Salt River horses - there are less than 500 of them left. Learn more about them here.

Peace to all beings…

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