Challenges and Triggers

Last week I started the story of how a handsome young gelding came into my life.  This week I’d like to formally introduce him!  In his previous home he was known as Lucky, however I felt drawn to giving him a new name to mark the start of this new chapter of his life.  I believe that names can carry a significant energy and I wanted to find one that would represent the relationship I hope to develop with this amazing being, and so I chose ‘Dakota’, which means friend or ally, as I hope that we will establish a close connection and partnership through our time together.

Dakota (Dax) and I on the evening of the day he arrived in his new home

This beautiful boy had rather a hard start in life – he was separated from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve.  He was then rescued, and after a while ended up in the care of his lovely owner.  She spent a considerable amount of time, care, attention and money in getting him healthy again and now, at 6 years of age, you would never imagine that he had had such a history.

In his previous home he was living barefoot, non-ridden and with 24/7/365 turnout, on a diet of ad lib hay and a few wonderful Thunderbrook supplements.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find facilities in this area that quite match this, so we’ve had to make some compromises.  This has triggered me in ways that I was not expecting!

I feel such a huge sense of responsibility for this animal who is now solely in my care.  I might know the theory of looking after a horse, and have practised it in various ways in the past, but it has never been all on my shoulders before.  With other people’s horses, I wasn’t the one who had the final say on decisions such as:

  • when and how to introduce him to the other horses on the yard;
  • or when might the grass be safe enough for him to go out on it,
  • and for how long.
    (When he arrived he was in the ‘winter field’ with ad lib hay and very little grass, but that was not going to be a permanent arrangement.)

We also, obviously, need to fit in with the others on the yard, as I’m not on my own land…

I know that all this takes time, and is a matter of trying things, then tweaking them as necessary.  The others on the yard are there to discuss any concerns I might have, which can be helpful, but sometimes it is actually more confusing – and stressful – when everyone’s opinion is different.  It has pushed old buttons within me and raised some uncomfortable feelings for me to explore – about my abilities and also my sense of worth and the value of my opinion and views.  I know that these feelings relate to old fears and conditioning that no longer serve me, so this is a great opportunity to look into what my discomfort is showing me:

  • where do I have old needs that have not been met?
  • how can I best learn the lesson that they have for me in order to let them go?

Previously, my coping strategy was often to push down my feelings, however I’ve learnt that this actually makes things worse in the long run.  In fact it has made me ill in the past, leading to migraines, eczema, digestive issues and anxiety.

Over the last few years, on my journey of learning more about myself and how I can support my own wellbeing, I’ve learnt some very valuable techniques that generally work well for me.  This can be a very individual thing, as each of us is unique, with our own challenges and personalities, but next week I’ll share some of what has helped me, in the hope that it might be useful for you too.

 

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Could your horse benefit from some energy healing? Part 4

Frosty – a case study
Frosty is a 12 year old Exmoor X mare.  She looks like a typical Exmoor pony: brown coat and darker points with a pale muzzle.  When I first met her she was living at HorseWorld in Bristol, a centre for Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming of equines. Prior to this she had been living semi-wild and unfortunately the herd had been through some traumatic experiences which left Frosty very wary and nervous around people.

Straight away I could see that I would need to take things very slowly and gently with her, respecting her needs and allowing her to set the pace.  On my first couple of visits she would be brought in to the stall for me to offer her healing and I would stand a couple of feet from her and just send healing from a distance, keeping my energy low and allowing her the space and time to process.  Each time she showed signs of accepting and responding to the healing – licking and chewing and her eyes becoming softer and sleepy.

After my first visit I received an email saying that there had been a visible difference in Frosty.  She had seemed less anxious and had initiated contact when out in the field, something that she would not previously have done.

On my fourth visit Frosty came to greet me at the stable door, something she had not done previously.  This time, when I went in, she was loose in the stall and she didn’t move away or show any signs of being nervous.  As I started to offer healing she sniffed at my hands.  She still reacted a little anxiously to noises outside of the stable and I sensed that it was still difficult for her to relax completely, however the healing energy fascinated and enthralled her, pulling her in with its quiet, loving reassurance.  I felt that she wanted to release to it but that she still wasn’t ready to do this 100%.

She began to mouth and chew and then she let out 2 massive yawns which was the first time I had seen her release in this way.

As I continued standing quietly, offering healing she took a step closer to me and began to snuffle at me – my hands, my clothes and my ears – and then stood quietly with her head in front of my chest.  She appeared to be much more comfortable with me and to be enjoying the healing energy.

On one of my last visits to see Frosty, she allowed me, for the first time, to move down one side of her body and to give healing there.  This felt like a big step with her.  She was not comfortable with me working on her off side, however, and apparently she is generally more sensitive there.

I recently heard that Frosty has moved to a new home and is settling in well.

Sometimes animals, like us, require time to process and let go of the past and their fears but it has been wonderful to watch this little pony as she slowly becomes less anxious and more settled.

If this blog has struck a chord with you, you might also be interested in my workshop entitled “If horses could talk... looking at providing a more natural environment for the equines in our care in order to support their wellbeing.  It covers topics such as diet, lifestyle, body language and interaction with the guardian / rider.  If you would like to find out more about how this course could help you to develop a deeper understanding of your horse’s needs, helping him to be happy and healthy and strengthening the bond between you, just give me a call.

For further information or to contact me with any questions, please see my website: https://www.equenergy.com/

 

* Healing is a very good complementary therapy and is beneficial in any situation, however you should always seek veterinary advice if your animal is unwell in any way.

  

(You can read this article in full here)

 

Could your horse benefit from some energy healing? Part 3

So what can you expect from a typical healing session?

When working with a horse, it is helpful for me to begin by getting some information about the them and the environment in which they live.  It can be helpful to see them in their stable, or in the yard, and for you to put a headcollar on them  and to loosely hold the rope while I work.  It is best for them not to be eating during the session, however it is good to have some fresh water within reach.  Healing works best when the body’s cells are well hydrated as this allows the energy to flow most effectively.  Animals are in tune with this need and will often drink during a session.

I spend a few moments being quiet before putting my hands on or near the horse to begin healing.

This therapy works holistically, treating the whole animal rather than focusing on any particular symptom.  It is completely natural and non-invasive, offering a sense of calm and deep relaxation.

 

(I also have a powerpoint presentation explaining more about how energy healing works.)

 

After the session
After having healing it is advisable, where possible, for the horse to take it easy for the rest of the day – no long hacks or strenuous work schedule.

It can take up to 48 hours for the effects to fully work through their system.

The cleansing process
After having a treatment the horse may go through a cleansing and rebalancing process.  This can result in them feeling a little ‘under the weather’.  This is due to previously stored toxins and tensions being released and eliminated as the body adjusts to the new energy.

Senior / ill horses

One area in which healing is especially helpful is when an animal is getting older, or has become terminally ill.  Healing can support you and your animal through this time, helping you to share a special closeness and to make the most of the time you have together; through this challenging period, and beyond.  Please feel free to download my brochure on bereavement and loss.

Next week I’ll share a case study of a lovely little mare that I worked with.

 

(You can read this article in full here)

 

For further information or to contact me with any questions, please see my website: https://www.equenergy.com/

 

* Healing is a very good complementary therapy and is beneficial in any situation, however you should always seek veterinary advice if your animal is unwell in any way.

 

Could your horse benefit from some energy healing? Part 2

Animals are particularly receptive to energy healing as they are generally very open and accepting, without the conditioned concerns that we humans often experience.

Energy Healing:

  • involves the transfer of natural energy
  • relaxes and re-energises
  • stimulates self-healing ability
  • is non-invasive — there is no physical manipulation or massage involved.
    Only a light touch is used

It can be used to support many issues including:

  • the immune system
  • cell repair
  • detoxification
  • enzyme function
  • oxygen uptake
  • absorption of nutrients
  • wound repair
  • pain relief
  • balancing
  • release of endorphins
  • a sense of wellbeing and calm

Horses are a little different from most of the other animals that share our lives, for several reasons:

  • their size – most horses are much bigger than the average ‘pet’
  • their nature as a herd animal
  • the nature of our interaction with them, particularly riding

When we domesticate an animal and keep it in a human-controlled environment we can find that the animal begins to exhibit unwanted behaviours.  I believe that these behaviours can be viewed in a similar way to dis-ease, in that there is a trigger which we can discover and so learn how to improve the experience of the animal in question.

Research has shown that “horses are sentient beings…reflecting various emotional states when stressed or happy” – Ellen Kaye Gehrke, Ph.D.  They also act as mirrors for us, helping to reveal stresses and discomforts in our lives.

Gehrke and her team studied Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and discovered that:

During the experience of negative emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness or depression, heart rhythms become more erratic or disordered (or incoherent). Conversely, sustained positive emotions such as appreciation, love, or compassion are associated with a highly ordered, or coherent, pattern in the heart rhythms, and can be regarded as an indication of physical and mental health states.”

When they put a horse together with a human, and measured their respective HRV they found that:

The horses perceived, in the moment, coherent or incoherent human HRV and began reflecting that human HRV in their own behavior. It became apparent that the horse’s heart rate would synchronize with the human’s, although it did not appear that the human would reflect the horse’s emotional state.”

This has profound implications for the horse-human bond.  Horses pick up on what we are feeling and their behaviour mirrors those feelings back to us.  For this reason it can be very beneficial to share an energy healing session with your horse.  Not only will it help you both to feel relaxed and promote wellbeing, it will also enhance the bond of love and trust between you.  When I offer healing I am working at a level that impacts on these heart rhythms.  I become still and ‘present’ and invite you both to share in that feeling of peace and inner harmony.

Next week I’ll look at what to expect from a typical healing session.

 

(You can read this article in full here)

 

For further information or to contact me with any questions, please see my website: https://www.equenergy.com/

 

* Healing is a very good complementary therapy and is beneficial in any situation, however you should always seek veterinary advice if your animal is unwell in any way.

Could your horse benefit from some energy healing? Part 1

Energy healing in its many forms has become a very popular way for people to enjoy deep relaxation and enhanced wellbeing.  If you are a horse owner and have experienced this sense of peace for yourself, you might have wondered if your 4-legged friend would benefit from some healing too.  If this is the case, read on, because I’ll be explaining a little bit more about how healing works and how it can benefit not only you but also your horse and the relationship that you share.

Albert Einstein said:

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. 

Match the frequency of the reality you want

and you cannot help but get that reality. 

It can be no other way. 

This is not Philosophy, this is Physics”

We can measure this energy, and even photograph it (using Kirlian photography).

Kirlian photo of a Coleus leaf

Energy Healing works with the life-force energy, enabling the body to fully relax, which in turn allows healing to take place on many levels.  This makes it a very powerful therapy and yet it has no negative side effects.

Each of us may have a slightly different understanding of the term ‘wellbeing’.  To me, it is not simply the absence of disease.  I believe that wellbeing encompasses all layers of our being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  The details of how this looks and feels may differ for each individual, but for me it’s about being able to truly enjoy each day to the full, being comfortable with who you are and feeling confident and capable to deal with anything Life brings.

All animals (including humans!) are made up of millions of cells which are inter-connected and inter-dependent.  Chemical and electrical messages (in the form of hormones and nerve impulses respectively) constantly flow around the body, co-ordinating all its functions and — when well — maintaining a state of balance and harmony.  This is known as homeostasis.

If something disrupts this balance it results in dis-ease.  Thankfully the body is an intelligent system and so it generally knows how to restore its equilibrium.  Although this is a natural process, sometimes the body can be overwhelmed, or get stuck in a condition of disharmony.  When this happens it can benefit from support to help ‘kick-start’ the journey back to wellness.

Our modern world has come to believe that disease is a ‘mistake’ of some kind, and that it is to be feared and avoided wherever possible.  In contrast, I believe that dis-ease has a purpose.  It comes from the body’s response to something that isn’t working and, if we explore the nature of the disease, it can lead us to identifying a trigger and thus deal with the issue and make any necessary changes in order to return to the natural state of balance.  This greater awareness also helps us in maintaining a good level of health and reducing or avoiding dis-ease in the future.

Next week I’ll look at the benefits of energy healing and how this relates to horses in particular.

 

(You can read this article in full here)

 

For further information or to contact me with any questions, please see my website: https://www.equenergy.com/

 

* Healing is a very good complementary therapy and is beneficial in any situation, however you should always seek veterinary advice if your animal is unwell in any way.

Shall we dance?

I’d like to reshare this blog that I wrote some time ago, because I love this concept and it is still very relevant to my work:

I’ve been having some rather vivid dreams recently and last night was no exception.  Between that, and some half-awake musings in the small hours, I woke this morning with a picture in my head – a new image and understanding of my relationship with my beautiful feline friend Kali, and indeed, to a greater or lesser extent, with all the animals I’ve ever known.

the gorgeous Kali

Obviously our animal friends don’t share a spoken language with us, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less expressive.  Perhaps my work as a sign language interpreter comes into play here.  I am used to having to process meaning from a visual source.  Obviously this is again using a form of human communication, however it is very much dependent on facial expression and body language.

Animals also communicate using these channels, within the physical parameters of their species.  As with Deaf people who cannot learn to speak as hearing people do, due to the lack of auditory feedback, animals also cannot learn to use our vocal language.  It is therefore down to us to learn to communicate in ways that we can share.

This morning it was as if some connection suddenly became clear for me and I saw this interaction in terms of a beautiful ‘dance’ and Kali my wonderful teacher.  She has an amazing range of styles at her pawtips!  Sometimes she instructs me with great flow and elegance, like a ballerina.  At other times, thanks to her Oriental blood (she’s a Cornish Rex, related to Siamese) her style is more passionate, fiery or elemental.  I, on the other hand, often feel like I’m clumping around in hobnail boots!  However with infinite patience, forbearance and grace she repeats the lesson, showing me when to advance and when to withdraw, when to raise my energy and when to hold it in.

This amazing teacher – and all the others I have met along the way – seem to look deep into my soul and challenge me to bring out the best in myself, to go further within, accessing resources I barely knew existed.  What Masters they are!

She teaches me how to hold my space and how to use my energy to be authentic and powerful in myself, without needing to engage in competition with others.  She also shows me how to be in the moment and how to know joy in the simple things in life.

What are your animals saying to you?  What lessons are they seeking to share?  What messages lie behind those eyes?

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE HORSE – part 5 of 5

Something we need to consider when our horses are stabled is what and how we feed them.  Think about how the horse eats and drinks in the wild.  Here they graze for up to sixteen hours a day, eating grass growing on the ground.  In contrast we often feed concentrates at set meal times and provide hay in nets tied to the wall at head height.  This is not natural for horses and can lead to tooth and digestive problems.  It is far better to provide food at floor level for indoor horses, with a good supply of hay that they can graze on throughout the day.  Water too should be at floor level and it is best if it is given in a bucket, rather than a self-refilling trough.  This means that the guardian can keep an eye on their horse’s water consumption which can be an indicator of their general health.

Hard feed is often high in sugar (even, sometimes, the ones that claim to be suitable for laminitic horses) and in chemicals such as mould inhibitors and preservatives.  These can be harmful to a horse’s digestive and metabolic systems and should be avoided.  You can find organic feeds through Thunderbrook’s, Simple System Ltd, The Pure Feed Company and others.

Another point I’d like to mention here is that much of the pasture land that we have here in the UK is actually designed for fattening livestock for market.  It is often high in sugars which can lead to laminitis and other metabolic diseases (you can read more about this in another blog post, here).  A horse’s natural diet is actually made of tough ‘old’ grasses, more like those found in wild meadows.  Also the chemical that are often used on pasture and surrounding farmland are toxic and can affect horses’ health.  It is therefore best to source hay made from unfertilised, unsprayed meadow grasses.

Horses will also appreciate having things to do.  This could include:

  • spending time with his buddies in the field
  • playing in an arena or school
  • going for walks to explore the local area
  • browsing in the hedgerows
  • being groomed by their guardian.

When they are on their own in the stable it can be a good idea to leave toys for them to investigate so that they have mental stimulation.  Anything new should be introduced sensitively and of course it must be safe to leave with an unsupervised horse.

Taking the time to empathise with your horse will help you to develop a deeper understanding, and thus a closer relationship with this amazing animal.  They in turn will respond as your communication becomes clearer, and they will thrive in this richer environment.  I’ll be writing more about this in the next series of posts.

 

(You can read this article in full here)

 

References