Flower Essences for Horses

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.

Learn more about how to give flower essences to your horse and flower essences for horses.

Flower Essences for Harmonious Transitions – Adding a New Pet to the Family

Introducing a new member to the family is a big event for all involved. Whether this is a long-planned addition or an urgent rescue situation, the whole family needs to adjust to accommodate the new member. Flower essences can help to smooth out the inevitable challenges and encourage a spirit of cooperation and harmony.

Flower Essence Basics

Flower essences are vibrational remedies, as are homeopathic medicines, and work gently to balance mental, emotional and behavioral issues. The initial essences were developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician and homeopath, in the 1930’s. There are now many systems of flower essences available, with essences to treat a variety of conditions. They are safe and have no side effects, and can be used by the whole family (including those with fur or feathers!).
Flower essences are made from plants growing in pristine wild environments, or, for cultivated plants, in a protected and healthy garden. The essence maker, working co-creatively with the intelligence of the plant, chooses a day when the conditions are ideal. On a clear day when the plant is in peak bloom, blossoms are carefully picked, floated in a glass bowl of pure water, and placed in the sun for several hours. This solarization process takes place with the intention to create a healing remedy. During the process, the essence maker attunes with the spirit of the plant to receive information about the particular healing gift of the flower. This information, combined with reports from people who have taken the resulting essence, creates a picture of the characteristics of the remedy.
Science does not yet have an explanation of how essences work. Fortunately, the work of Masaru Emoto (“Messages from Water”) has helped to show how water can hold an imprint of energy, and that the intention of humans can have demonstrable effects. A working theory is that essences interact with the energy field of the person (or animal) taking the essence. The healthy energy imprint “tunes” the receptive field, and, used consistently over time, raises the vibration and repairs the wounding to the emotional body caused by trauma.
Flower essences are taken orally or placed in drinking water. They can also be put in food or on treats, or put into a misting bottle with water and sprayed into the home environment. It is usually recommended to give essences twice daily to animals and four times daily to people, but they can be given as often as needed for relief during stressful situations.
The best results with flower essences are achieved by careful selection based on personality and symptoms. A symptom such as anxiety, shared by several individuals, might be treated with a different remedy for each depending on the root cause of the anxiety. Correct selection of a remedy is based on the personality or underlying reason for behavior rather than the behavior itself. Fortunately, if the remedy isn’t quite the right one, nothing bad will happen, it simply won’t help the condition. Although there are many schools of thought, a good rule of thumb is to select 3-5 remedies to use per individual. A more focused approach yields a better result in most cases.
The recommended essences are listed by category, with the company in parentheses. Bach essences are certainly the most available and are sold in many health food stores. The essences from the Flower Essence Society (FES) and the Alaskan Flower Essence Project (Alaska) are a little harder to find, but if you can’t find them locally, they can be ordered online.

Essences for the Whole Family

Walnut (Bach) is useful for all life transitions and helps all family members adapt to change. Often called “the link-breaker”, Walnut can help everybody move forward into a new life together.
The remedy Quaking Grass (FES) is beneficial in creating group harmony and helping members work together, balancing the needs of individuals with the needs of the group.
Hairy Butterwort (Alaska) is indicated for those who tend to experience crises when undergoing transition. It can help the individual adjust to the change without manifesting illness or injury.
There are often conflicts and disputes among group members during times of change. Holly (Bach) can soothe feelings of anger and frustration that have their roots in the fear of there not being enough love or attention to go around. Chicory (Bach) is indicated for clingy, needy or attention-seeking behavior, and Beech (Bach) can help with aggravation, irritability and intolerance for change in routine. For animals that are dominant or territorial, Vine (Bach) can be used. Of course, when introducing animals, you must be ready to intercede in disputes to ensure safety for all. Vine can remedy bullying behavior and inspire positive qualities of leadership in animals with dominant personalities.

The New Family Member

A young animal leaving its mother and siblings has unique needs and challenges during the integration period. If weaned too young or in a stressful manner, separation anxiety can develop and become a long-term problem. The Mariposa Lily (FES) essence carries the energy signature of maternal love and helps the young animal feel secure and loved. In cases of birthing trauma, Northern Lady’s Slipper (Alaska) can help release the effects of trauma and help an animal feel safe in its body.

For a young animal that is timid or nervous in a new environment, Larch (Bach) can inspire self-confidence. It helps an animal to find the courage to try new things and persevere if they don’t succeed at first.
An animal that has been abused, abandoned or neglected will need more attention and care to make a successful transition into a loving home. If an animal has suffered physical traumas, flower essences can help heal the emotional wounds that may linger long after veterinary treatments are finished. Star of Bethlehem (Bach) is indicated for any animal that has had a severe fright or shock to help them feel safe in their bodies. Self Heal (FES) can inspire an animal to heal if he or she has given up hope.
The emotional trauma created by abuse or neglect can be severe and long-lasting. In the case of fears that are vague and have no known cause, use Aspen (Bach). Mimulus (Bach) treats “known” fears, such as fear of men, cars or loud noises. These two remedies are often used together to treat general fear and timidity. Chamomile (FES) treats emotional upsets that manifest in barking or upset stomach. It is a general toner and is used in many formulas for its soothing qualities. For an animal that is distant and stand-offish, Water Violet (Bach) can help him learn the benefits of social interaction and friendship.
An animal who has been abused may be unable to trust anyone. Bog Rosemary (Alaska) gives encouragement to stay present with their fears and feel supported and cared for so that they can heal and learn to trust.
For more general support in embracing a new life, Wild Rose (Bach) remedies apathy and inspires the will to live. Gentian (Bach) is helpful for those animals who become depressed and refuse food. Finally, Borage (FES) is an excellent tonic and does wonders for any animal, inspiring courage and optimism.

Flower essences are a versatile therapy that can help in a broad range of situations and are convenient and easy to use. They can be used effectively with any training or behavioral modification program, and are an excellent adjunct to the Tellington TTouch Method. There are essences to help with almost any condition, and there are some basic remedies that would be useful in anyone’s medicine cabinet.

Previously published in TTEAM Connections Volume 11 Issue 4 (October-December 2009)

Learn more about how to give flower essences to your dog, cat and horse.