Horses naturally graze on a wide variety of plants, not simply grasses. They selectively eat herbs of many types, meeting nutritional needs or perhaps addressing imbalances. The use of herbs to treat physical conditions in domestic horses has become mainstream, and they naturally enjoy consuming this type of medicine. Flower Essences are less commonly used but, in my experience, horses respond very well to these remedies and show significant improvements in behavior and temperament.
Flower essences to help the aging horse
Tawni is a 23 year old Arabian mare who has Cushing’s disease, an autoimmune disorder which is common in aging horses. The disease manifests in a variety of problems, of which founder is one of the most severe. Founder causes a great deal of pain in Tawni’s hooves, and is truly debilitating. The pain has made it impossible for her to be ridden and has kept her from her favorite pastime, spending time on the trails with her person, Melanie. Tawni was having a hard time adjusting to the loss of her trail riding job so Melanie called me to see if I could help Tawni with Flower Essences. Melanie and Tawni have always had a close relationship fostered by the many hours spent together exploring nature. Tawni took pride in her status as riding horse and the two made a beautiful pair. During our consultation, I recommended the essences Laceflower and Gold. The Laceflower essence helps her feel inner worth when she is no longer able to do the work she has always done. Gold is the perfect Gem Elixir counterpart to Laceflower, buoying self-esteem and providing a sense of inner value. Melanie reports that Tawni has regained her natural confidence and outgoing personality and is much more cheerful. This combination of essences would be helpful for any animal (or person!) who is no longer able to participate in work or activities due to age or injury. Life transitions can be damaging to self-esteem. Laceflower and Gold both help individuals find their identity beyond their job and realize that there is still life to be enjoyed while finding the inherent beauty and value in being themselves.
Flower essences for recovery from illness
Cheney, a 12 year old Paint gelding, had once had emergency surgery for intestinal impaction. There were numerous post-surgical complications and by the time he regained his physical health he had developed severe anxiety about being handled. He became very worried about routine things, like going on a walk or being in the arena. When he became nervous he would strike with his legs and try to run away – dangerous behavior for both him and his handler alike. Eileen had known him for 3 years and hoped Flower Essences could help him recover his old, fun-loving self. She described him as always sort of clumsy and accident-prone, not completely aware of his body in space. Eileen noted that Cheney had always been very aware of how other horses are treated. She told me that he had a strong sense of what’s fair and would become upset when he saw other horses being mistreated. The first time I met Cheney and Eileen, I was moved by the commitment and determination Eileen showed for Cheney to get well. She had explored many avenues to help him and it was clearly a challenge to work with him because of his fears. After discussing his situation and history with Eileen, I created an essence formula for him. The essence Pineapple Weed helped him to get more in touch with his body and legs. When horses become afraid, they often lose awareness of their legs and hooves. This is valuable for a wild horse, enabling him to be able to react quickly and escape a predator, but it is dangerous for a handler who may inadvertently be stepped on or knocked down. Cheney, who already had a weak connection to his body, became even more out of touch when frightened. The Pineapple Weed helped ground him so he could feel safer in his body and environment. Tundra Twayblade, an essence used to release trauma from the body, was another important component to his formula. He had severe emotional “scar tissue” from the medical procedures that had saved his life. The Tundra Twayblade helped him release his fears about being handled and worked with. A few weeks after starting his Flower Essence formula the massage therapist who had been working with him for some time remarked how much more present he was and able to accept bodywork.
While nonviolent methods of training horses are becoming more popular, traditional methods relying on force, pain or dominance are still very much in use. An Australian veterinarian who specializes in equine behavior, Dr. Paul McGreevy, postulates that some horses are like “canaries in coal mines” and show the stresses that affect all the horses in an environment. Eileen feels Cheney may be one such horse. The Tundra Twayblade essence addressed the karmic issue of abuse, in this case, the abuse of horses as witnessed by Cheney. It has helped him release the trauma he stored in his own body and mind, and hopefully has also helped heal some small part of the karma of the abuse of horses by people. Cheney is now much improved, and has moved to a less stressful environment where he spends most of his time grazing with friends.
The system of Alaskan essences is deep with potential to help our animal companions, and they are thankful for all the help we can give them. Modern life for horses can be as stressful and unnatural as it is for humans and it is up to us, their caretakers, to assist them in any way we can. They will thank us for their improved health and quality of life, and in turn, enrich our lives immensely.
Article originally published in the Alaskan Flower Essence Project Newsletter, March 2010.