Written by What Do You Know
We are able to see healing on so many different levels with the horses that come into our program. We see healing not only with flesh but with the minds of our horses.
Many of the horses that join us have not been dealt the best hand in life. Many of them have been starved, abused, neglected, and have ended up in the wrong hands. When they join us human interaction can be one of the scariest things to them and this is when the healing process starts. As soon as they step off the trailer they are given endless love, food, water, and medical attention. Each horse has very different needs that we cater to whether it be special supplements or specific paddock arrangements. Along with that they also have very different brains and need to be approached and worked with in a completely different way.
With the horses that are terrified of human interaction they are approached in a way that makes them comfortable. Some horses only like to be caught on the left side, some you need to show them your hands, some you need to rub their shoulder before clipping the lead onto them, and some need to come to you. We do not know how a horse will want to be approached but we spend endless hours with them to see how they are most comfortable.
The healing we see with their minds is not always evident and it is not always right away. With some horses it may take weeks and even months before you see them start to heal and others you may see it on a daily basis. Sometimes you may realize they healed in the moment and other times you can be laying down to go to bed thinking about your day and realize that that horse made progress without you realizing. It’s the simplest things such as being able to walk past their stall and not have them cower at the back of the stall or being able to simply talk around them without having to whisper. Sometimes you don’t even notice all of the obstacles they have overcome until they are getting on the trailer to leave for their new home.
Being able to see the horses that jumped stall walls when they first come to get away from humans, or ones you can’t make any noises or sudden movements around, to how they are after they have learned to accept compassion, love, and learned to trust us is amazing and is healing in a whole different way for us humans. To see these horses come running to you in the field, nicker when you walk in the barn, ask for attention, and just love to be in the presence of their human is the reason we do what we do. We do not do this for the publicity, fame, money, or praise, we do it for the horses that so badly need us and sometimes you don’t even know but we need them just as much as they need us. We do it not only to help these beautiful animals but to also help us heal and overcome certain aspects in our own lives.
Working with these horses for so many hours we get to know them quite well and we grow very strong bonds with them that allow them to trust us. This bond is evident when they are learning new things that are supposed to be scary for example, tarps and the foot baths, when they start looking to us for reassurance. One of the hardest parts of what we do is trying to find a horse’s perfect match in a human when adopting them. The connection is not always instant with everyone but when the connection comes it is something that cannot be broken.
One of the most amazing connections we have seen is with a very special pony named Bullseye. Bullseye came to us a 7 year old unhandled stud with a flight reaction to almost everything. In the beginning his future was unknown. We spoke with our vets about him on numerous occasions, who thought it may be the best option to lay him to rest. But we didn’t want to give up on him. We couldn’t get anywhere close to him for the first few weeks. We spent hours just getting him used to us being close to him and when we felt he was ready we started working on accepting being touched and working with his feet. Within a few weeks he accepted being touched and having his hooves being picked up and he was able to have his first hoof trim.
With his issues we accepted that he was going to be with us forever and we were okay with this as we loved him and he fit in so well with our horses and our routine. Over his months with us he had a ton of interest in him as he is very cute and well put together but no one seemed to be a good fit for him. Until one day someone came along who was looking for a pony exactly like him. We knew the minute his new mom met him that they already had a connection. She was able to walk into the paddock and catch him without a hitch and she was able to work with him in the barn. He was more relaxed with her than he was with us. We knew from that moment that they were meant to be and he is now flourishing in his new home.
Working with these horses who have so many different issues and seeing them heal in their own ways, has brought us to notice our own issues and how we have experienced healing through these horses. Like many people do we both suffer from anxiety and through working with these horses we have been able to overcome some of our own triggers and have learned how to better cope with mental illness. Suffering from panic attacks used to scare me (Rebecca) and I had no idea how to deal with episodes. On bad days I would just spend hours sitting in the field with the horses and just having their presence around me would be able to calm me down out of a panic attack.
Over the years I have learned how to take myself to that same field in my mind and have the horses surrounding me when I feel an attack coming on and it has saved me from a panic attack many times. Through working with these horses as well, who in the beginning have no confidence in themselves ñ watch them start to believe in themselves as they progress with their training makes it easier to have more confidence in yourself as well. Days where you have low confidence and you just think about that one horse that has come so far it makes you really think about you and how far you have come yourself, even how far you can still go.
Having saved over 80 horses to date our barn is full of healing memories. That stall is where Louie (now known as Aspen) let us touch him for the first time. That corner is when we spent two hours with Hok’ee the day he arrived to get a halter on him. That paddock is where Beau walked up to us for the first time. This tie is where we spent hours upon hours working with Bullseye. This stall is where we spend hours just sitting with Mable letting her know humans are okay and we are not here to hurt her but to help her thrive. Our aisle way is where each horse has had their hooves trimmed for the first time. If you come to our barn you can feel the calm energy that surrounds us and if you stand still and just let your body relax you can feel the healing from within.
Through the healing process these horses endure with us they learn to accept compassion, love, acceptance and know that Someone Always Loves You (SALY).
This blog is written by numerous contributors from our business and other programs.