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Close your eyes and imagine the horse of the Wild West. Listen for the sound of his hooves pounding. Look for his mane flying in the wind. His spirit is in motion, he is free to roam across the land, and he is a living example of a wide-open landscape and an untamed frontier spirit. His is a legend of freedom, beauty, endurance and strength, transporting us into the future of possibilities.
Horses play an important part in the stories of our lives. From the Spanish to the Native Americans to the settlers to the early cowboys and ranchers, no animal on the planet has done more for man than the horse. Horses built this country by being our transportation, hunting companion, harvester, protector and companion.
The wild horse in the great American West is an icon. Something that represents raw freedom ─ a familiar feeling to an all-American boy, whose life experiences and extreme daredevil spirit led him to reconnect with his American Indian heritage and champion the cause of the American wild horse.
James Anaquad Kleinert, international award-winning documentary film director, has spent the last ten years filming the footage for his new film, Horse Medicine, a highly anticipated series that explores the profound human and horse relationship from ancient myth to modern science, how horses can be used in therapy to help heal humans and how humans can help to save horses.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Kleinert dreamed of becoming an athlete. He was a competitive Olympic-level skier who was addicted to extreme sports. His athleticism and daredevil spirit became good qualities for a documentary filmmaker.
After sustaining a serious injury from skiing that put him on hiatus from competing, he turned his talents to film making. His interest in documenting American’s wild horses began while working on the film Spirit Riders about the birth of an American Indian peace movement, as well as learning about the removal of these beautiful wild animals while living in Wyoming.
Kleinert’s journey with horses has brought him up close and personal with both the wild horses and the BLM management. His last film, Wild Horses & Renegades, won numerous awards for exposing the plight of America’s wild horses and was one of the Documentary Channel’s most popular films in 2012.
“I was shocked,” Kleinert says. “The footage is undisputable. It shows how hard they pushed those horses. They ran them for miles. They were sweaty and exhausted, overheated. What I saw changed my life.”
Riding on the heels of success, it became apparent to Kleinert that there was a need for a documentary film celebrating the human/horse relationship.
“Horse Medicine is a film that inspires us to create that authentic, heartfelt bond with these awesome and sentient beings,” says Kleinert. “Horses have an unusual ability to help us slow down and connect; Horse Medicine explores the mythological place of higher hearts and souls with the Horse Nation and Mother Earth.”
Through living the life of a respected documentary filmmaker and a true horseman, Kleinert has unique access to restricted lands, hard-to-reach places and little known corners of the natural world, as well as a large, solid network of people in the horse world in the U.S. and abroad. From the back of a horse, he has shot countless hours of astonishing footage showing wild horses in their natural environment as well as the work currently being done to expand the amazing benefits for physical and mental health.
Horse medicine is a powerful thing. It connects you to that instinct and that wild nature that is representative of being free and being one with the spirit, one with the world. It’s a way to give us back our humanity in a way that will teach us how to harmonize with our environment and our world.
James Kleinert is a revolutionary who films with an appetite for the spectacular mixed with the raw material of soul building. Through breathtaking imagery in the American West and Norway, intimate interviews with horse experts and friends, Kleinert hopes to lead his audience on a moving and majestic journey to a world transformed by horses.
His vision teaches us that each horseman has to preserve all of the things horses stand for. The clarity, the serenity and the peace they bring – that’s the medicine.
Carolyn Crew is Production Manager at Holistic Horse.