Horses, Rescues
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What Horses have to Teach us about Healing…

I have been struggling to write this piece for over a week now.  Its not typical for me to experience ‘writer’s block’ but there is is.  And as it turns out, totally germane to the topic.  Its been a tough week for me mentally and emotionally.  Engaged in some politically charged organizational rhetoric….within a task I took on voluntarily to help a cause I believe in….I found I was not thriving.   No details are required, but as a result of this turmoil, I have experienced indigestion, muscle aches, headaches, and poor sleep.  Late last evening I was given the opportunity to remove myself from this situation and I gratefully accepted.  I did feel better, but it wasn’t until the wee hours of this morning …..when I was roused from bed by the hospital to come in to care for one of my patients emergently ….that I fully released all that toxic energy.  At my patient’s bedside, as I laid my hand on her shoulder to reassure her that she would be OK…wham…I felt it.  My head cleared, my heart opened, and my body resumed its vibrant hum.  That sensation, folks, and I know you have all felt it, is a chakra (or in this case chakras) opening or releasing.

Sit for a moment and think about how it is you are alive right now.  How do you work…I mean what keeps you as an organism going everyday?  What keeps your brain thinking?  What keeps your heart beating?  What makes your muscles contract on cue?  What allows us to love, to care, to laugh?  Why do we cry or feel pain?  Where does our intuition come from? We are complex beyond imagining.  Energy.  Kinetics.  Power.  Connection.

Not to oversimplify, all living beings are made up of circuitry, energy banks that rely on each other for us to function properly.  Visualize with me a house on a hill, at night, with all the lights on, inside and out…not a very ‘green’ image, but bear with me.  Cut the power and everything goes dark, right?  But its not just the lights.  In addition, all the stuff in the house stops working…the TV, the stove, the computer, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, even the water runs dry in some cases.  So keep the image of the house in your mind and flip the breakers in the basement one by one.  As you do, a section of the house comes alive.  You see the effect because of the light, but you can also feel it…the hum of electricity!  Now the house is functioning to its capacity and all sorts of complex activities can now take place within it.  This is how I describe the chakra system to people.  Chakras are our internal circutry, our energy banks.  We need them to function physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Can we survive in a dark house without electricity?  Sure.  But we flourish when the power is on and all the connections are working.

So there are 7 main chakras…actually there are 8 major and many minor chakras, but we’ll concentrate on the 7 for now. For more specific information on each go here.  Reno, below, will be our Chakra model.  Pictured here at the height of his rehabilitation, all chakras humming with vibrant energy.   These power sources are associated with different physical organs and body parts as well as emotional and mental aspects of our being.  Power from these sources can be dialed up or down depending on many inputs.  Injury and acute pain, for instance, can shut down one or more chakras very quickly.  Our thoughts and emotions can also dial down these energy points, sometimes so slowly, we don’t even realize it.  In some cases, our mental and emotional effects on our chakras can be so powerful that we develop physical manifestations within that chakra.  And vice versa.  So you can see its very complex.

My work with horses has taught me just about everything I know about chakras.  As in most aspects of my life, horses are amazing teachers.

We’ve all seen neglected horses…thin, depressed, lethargic, injured.  Like the dark house without any power, they are surviving, but shut up within the simple structure of their bodies.  You’ve also probably seen the opposite.

I remember being at a Parelli gathering a few years ago.  I just happened to be near the entry to the arena when Pat was coming through with his stallion, Casper. I was maybe 6 feet away as he passed by.  I was stunned by the presence of this animal (that’s Casper, not Pat).  He was not just beautiful, he was connected, energetic and powerful beyond belief.  I remember feeling his presence so vividly, so positively…he made me feel joy.  I’ve since studied photos and video of Casper and have to admit, he is not the perfect horse…not perfectly built and surely not a suitable partner for most, but he is all there.  His energy centers are charged up and the juice is flowing.

Most of our horses are somewhere in between.  Just like humans, these energy centers are sometimes open, sometimes closed.   The energy flow changes, weakening or strengthening, affected by injury, nutrition, environment and socialization, herd dynamics and past history.  The powerful lesson I’ve learned from the horses is that if you provide what they need nutritionally, mentally, socially, physically, you can open these chakras.  Actually the horse opens them, we simply provide the raw materials.  When they are open, the horse has the amazing ability to heal itself….just like it was magic.  For years I focused on the physical ailments and injuries of my horses.  Manny, who has been with me for a dozen years has had all sorts of afflictions over the years, arthritic hocks, S-I joint instability, uveitis, and sarcoids.  I used every medical trick in the book for him.  I was sometimes successful and sometimes not…mostly not.  My horses have always had the ‘best of care’, but something happened when we moved to NH, they moved home with me and I began to give them the environment and social life that was natural to them.  At the time, I had not tuned into the chakra phenomenon, but I watched Manny change over that first year here.  He became sound, engaged, comfortable in his own skin.  His uveitis cleared, in fact a follow up Opthalmology consult had the doctor baffled…’this horse doesn’t have uveitis!?!’  His arthritis and back issues resolved and his sarcoids dissappeared (seriously), without any intervention from me outside good nutrition, lots of room to move and engage with a herd and horsemanship that protected his dignity and natural power.

Since then I have been rehabilitating rescues.  These are the horses that have shown me the way in regard to what was happening with the chakras.  I was introduced to dowsing many years ago by a dear friend, Sheila Ryan and have developed modest skills over the years.  Dowsing the chakras was always part of my program, but I didn’t see the connection to the healing I was seeing until the last two horses, Reno and Ripple.   You can read about Reno here and he is pictured above.  The initial work in his rehab was painstaking and I feared we would lose him several times.  But one day he just seemed better.  My dowsing revealed all his chakras were open and flowing, despite being on stall rest from a second injury.  I was perplexed.  Shouldn’t the injury be affecting his energy in at least one chakra?  But there it was.  The power of the energy available to him for healing was evident over the ensuing weeks as he made a record breaking recovery in less that half the vet projected time period.  Whoa…that is some weird science!

So I was anxious to test my theory with Ripple.  Rip has some hind end issues, probably OCD in the stifles.  He came to me pretty weak in the hind end in general, so its hard to know exactly what is wrong.  Instead of focusing on a diagnosis, I simply used my dowsing to figure out what he needed in regard to nutrition, turned him out with the herd and waited.  It was over a month before the first chakra opened….the heart…a product likely of attention from me and acceptance by the herd.  A week later came the third eye.  This one I saw immediately.  In stead of watching me move around the paddock out of one eye or the other as was his habit, he was following me with both eyes.  A couple days later the crown opened followed by the throat chakra.  The front half of the horse connected.  Not surprising given the lack of physical power in the hind end.  So I waited another week and then bam, in rapid succession the last three opened…solar plexus, base and finally the reproductive chakra.  I knew these had opened just by looking at him…relaxed, integrated, soft expression.  So now the healing can begin.  Its the power of animal healing.  We all have this ability.  I have believed that for a long time as a physician, though never understood its power until now.


  1. Dana Pleshe says

    This is incredible. Thank you for sharing this. I definitely want to learn more about this. Thank you for taking the time to write, what a gift you have given me. Thank you!!

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