As promised last week, today I will update you on my journey with the horse and mule I rescued in January. You can hear the beginning of the journey as episode 24 https://positivechangewithdorena.com/can-horses-facilitate-trauma-healing-pc024/ But let me summarize the back story here.
When I was looking into rescuing a horse in December, I contacted Glen Philips, an animal whisperer. He helped me pick out the animals and told me that if I was to ride the horse 2 hours a day the tension held in my right side would dissolve. As this was something I had been working on for years, it sealed the deal. Episode 31 is my interview with Glen and we talk about how animals can heal trauma. https://positivechangewithdorena.com/animal-communicator-tells-how-animals-clear-human-trauma-pc031/
Based on FaceBook photos and Glen’s advice I adopted a 5 year old Mule that was advertised as “Molly the Mule” and I named her Moon. However, Molly turned out to be Max the Mule and now he is called Rusty Moon. I also adopted a blonde mare that I named StarHealing as an inspiration for her proposed role in my life. Star got sick while on the feed lot in Texas, but the rescue that she moved to rehabilitated her before transport.
The transport was difficult. It took a full week for the trailer with Star and Moon to make it from Texas to California. The animals arrived late one night and although I am usually timid around horses, I was surprised to find myself confident. Fearlessly crawling underneath them and around them as I settled them in. I attribute this to having spent the time before their arrival communicating with Star and the fact that both animals are very respectful.
I’d like to say my confidence extended in to all aspects of horse care and that we continued on peacefully. Instead, I was worried about everything. Star had lost weight since they took the original photo and you could see her ribs, she seemed well when she arrived but the second day she got a runny nose. Rusty Moon had diarrhea. I don’t think all of this would have been too stressful, but I was part of a FB conversation with the other people that had horses on the transport and that conversation was creating internal pressure for me.
It started with the woman who had the horse that was delivered after me. She posted a picture of her horse collapsed on the ground and covered with open wounds. Her vet said the horse had a contagious disease called strangles, although later lab tests indicated her infection was salmonella. Other people on the transport were claiming similar issues and reporting vet bills in the thousands of dollars.
I was following the FB feed in black silence. People were being pretty reactive and the energy felt very judgmental. They were unhappy and looking to blame someone. My attitude is that we create our world. If my horses get sick it is a creation of my mind. Not a conscious creation, but nether-the-less a creation. Further, if my horse gets sick, blaming someone just perpetuates anger and makes me sick.
I would have stopped following the FB feed, but I was getting some benefit. For instance, someone mentioned bot eggs on her horse and sure enough my mare had a bunch. I thought they were just dust. Thankful for someone mentioning that, I got a special tool to get rid of the eggs and prevent an intestinal infection. All and all, I had the sense that my horses weren’t sick, but I was feeling guilty not running to a vet, especially when following the feed. I had to remember, these people probably also go to the doctor when they are sick. That is not my way. I am an alternative medicine person. So instead of the doctor, I did energy healing and focused on supplements to nourish the animals back to full health.
I continue to fret a little about diet and supplements, but I am certainly more relaxed. After all, everyone has survived the last four months. And, I’ve even made it through the stress of a farrier coming twice. What is routine and natural for the horses is new for me. I remind myself that they know more about what humans do with horses than I do. However, I also seek to honor my intuitive sense of what is the next right thing to do, despite being a horse novice. And now, I am finally ready to consider getting the animals a well animal check with a vet.
Perhaps you wonder how the trauma resolution is going. Am I riding 2 to 3 hours a day? Have I noticed a difference with my right side tension?
Nope, not riding yet. In fact, I’ve backed up to zero. Before the animals arrived, I had a couple lessons with an amateur trainer and started studying Stacy Westfall’s DVD material after watching an amazing YouTube of her bareback and bridleless. I liked her approach and was enamoured with her ease and skill until the clip where she introduced the bit and bridle to the horse she was training. Wait! I want to be bareback and bridle-less. What’s this bit all about?
Nether-the-less, when Blondie arrived I took her to the round pen and started going through the exercises. She was advertised as “broke to ride” but I was still very impressed that when I pointed, she would follow my suggestion. She really knew more about this human to horse communication than I did. At one point, I had my trainer come out to show me what an experienced horsewoman could do with her. I wanted to see someone ride her. I was gathering more information. What I saw I didn’t like. She could be ridden, but she wasn’t really into it. The trainer could control her, because she could sense when the horse was preparing to buck and force her head turned to prevent it.
The most dramatic part of the trainer’s visit was the reaction of the mule. We were all in the round pen and he was off a couple hundred feet away grazing. When the trainer started to ride the horse, he bolted over. He dragged himself through the brush to circle the pen and then started bucking and braying. What a sight and sound. He was literally acting out what she was feeling. He didn’t actually kick the pen, but it was what he wanted. I decided I wouldn’t be forcing the horse to ride, regardless of how good it would be for my health. There had to be another way.
When I worked with Star in the round pen, she could lunge in a circle and respond to my requests to move back and sideways. It was lovely and wonderful. However, when she was off line she would go on automatic pilot. I would ask her to walk in a circle and she would just take off going round, the whites of her eyes showing. I was baffled. I didn’t ask for that. Did she want to be running? I got the sense she was disconnected. When I asked her to turn directions she would sometimes rear. That scared me to death, but she remained respectful and I had a stick-n-string that I used to maintain a safe space between us.
I finally had my partner observe our round pen antics and he concurred that she was sort of losing it during those times. I wasn’t sure what to do, but a quick Google search on “my horse runs wild in round pen,” revealed that my situation was not unique and lead me to Caroline Rider, the founder of the Tao of Horsemanship Training. Her approach was based on creating relationship with the horse and she taught true bitless riding.
I watched videos on her YouTube Channel and material on DVDs I purchased. Just watching her work with horses put me in a better state of mind. I was more calm, accepting and patient with my animals. I was interested in enrolling in her online training program and actually went to put it in my basic a couple times, but I never could complete the order. Something just didn’t seem right. I even went as far as to contact her with questions about if the course or individual consultations made more sense. She answered my email, but misunderstood my question. So, instead of ordering her course, I went back to her free YouTube channel to investigate more and that is when I found the Trust-Technique.
James French, founder of the Trust-Technique, was advertising on her channel. Instead of hitting “skip video” I took the time to watch his video of “I have a dream”. In this video he demonstrates sitting quietly while horses are plopping down around him and falling to sleep. Absolutely amazing!
He offered me a free sample of his video course and before I knew it I had purchased a lifetime subscription to his material. He was going to teach me how to use being present to create a feeling of peace that could facilitate healing and communication with me and my animals.
My discovery of the Trust Technique makes me chuckle. Once again, I have found another version of a practice I have been doing for decades. In one of the introductory videos he describes the state we access when we are present as our “true nature”. I was surprised to hear him use the words of Dzogchen, what is considered the most direct path to enlightenment in Buddhism and is a secret teaching. His method is also the same in essentials as that practiced by Christian Contemplatives. And, of course, the Trust Technique is in alignment with my realization from my last retreat – that the only thing I need to do is be present.
Next week I’ll finish my horsey report and reveal how using the Trust Technique has unfolded.
I noticed two things in particular about my process and the results. First, I had no hesitation in purchasing the Trust Technique course. This reminds me that if I am hesitating then I should explore the reasons. In the case of Caroline Rider’s course, my hesitation and subsequent exploration led me to a more appropriate teaching. I may still find Caroline Rider’s course useful – just not right now.
Second, I am directed to the same practice over and over again in different forms. This affirms to me the appropriateness of the method. Well, actually being led to the same thing over and over again doesn’t actually mean it is the right thing to be engaging in. This rediscovery combined with the positive results I am getting affirm my path. For instance, if I continually find myself in abusive relationships which I find unpleasant, that would be a sign that I need to do something different. Instead, I continually find myself being encouraged to be present and that practice increases the peace in my life that I desire. I like that I can find the same practice in so many different forms.
Once again. If you like the results you are getting in your life – keep doing what you are doing. If you don’t then it is time to try something different. You are not a victim of circumstances. You are a powerful creator. Create the world you desire.
If you are feeling stuck and would like a Change Anything Now Session with me find out more at ChangeAnythingNow.com. Sessions to be aired on this podcast are a great benefit to everyone and I do those sessions for free.
Cheery Monday by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Podcast: Copyright 2018 Dorena Rode – All Rights Reserved