I did a site visit today that was so interesting in terms of the presenting issue and the final solution that I feel compelled to share it here.
I was called to visit a beautiful chestnut horse who was driving himself mad with stress in his stable. Box walking and weaving, finding it so hard to ever relax and as a result losing weight at an incredible rate.
And even when he did quieten not eating and just staring out from his stable. The owners had tried everything and were about to start the calmer feeding process.
I met him in the field where he was an absolute charmer, gentle and friendly and accepting of my presence and the drum. So we took him to the stable. Within 30 seconds Mr Charmer was all anxiety and stress and marching all around his box and trying stretch as much if himself over the door as he could.
I offered a little drumming but this was never going to work here. So we took him out. I found out that when he had first arrived he had lived in the stable next door – where the behaviour had essentially started. (He had not exhibited the behaviour before).
We calmed him down and then decided to approach that stable with him, he pulled back and tried to rear.
We took him away from the stables, tied him up and offered him a little hands on work to just to help him release the stress he had experienced in the stable.
I was curious he had behaved significantly differently between stables.
So I untied him and led him back, this time I took out a pendulum and asked him to show me how uncomfortable he felt about each stable. Through the pendulum he showed me that the second one was the most traumatic, though his own stable next door was little better. We established that neither would work for him. Luckily there were some empty ones nearby, so I took him for a walk and stopped outside each and asked him if each was ok.
When I got a yes from him, he raised his head and walked calmly into the empty stable, walked around slowly then returned to the door, cocked a hind hoof and stood to watch the world go buy.
He was in a stable and he was relaxed. We brought him hay and he happily tucked in. No one had ever seen him this way. Everyone had to come over and inspect this strangely “alien” behaviour, or should I say lack of behaviour. It was simply a pleasure to be part of.
All we had need to do was listen to him and let him show us what he needed.
All we had to do was reframe his “misbehaviour” as communication, albeit desperate, and then we were open to listening to him.
Interestingly, we returned to the original problematic stables and found energy lines that ran through the stable, more interestingly when we projected them forward we found a spooking place in the school and the point on the horizon that his gaze had often appeared fixed on.
Horses are sensitive animals, much more attuned to the energetic and natural world than we are. If we are to help them, sometimes we need to hear what they tell us and try to understand our world from their perspective.
(The featured images are not the horse referred to above).
© The Mindful Horse, 2016
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.