Sundance: Part 1
Recently I embarked on a mission to get to the bottom of Sundance’s on again off again lameness that has recently become more on than off, and gotten worse. In the last year or two he developed ringbone in both front feet on top of what he already had going on in his hind quarters. He has been a bit of a train wreck, with no interest in working with me to see if I could help him feel better. Last week I finally decided to call on my friend and colleague, Diane Barrett. We had a fascinating session in which Sundance was able to explain that he just felt this was his lot in life. He’d go lame, breakdown so far that he had to be put down, and that was fine with him.
He’s not the first horse I’ve taken on that has felt this way about life. I never used to speak openly about how I do my rehab work with horses. I spent a lot of time trying to fit in with the traditionally minded horse training world. Maybe it’s because I’m over 50 and don’t care what anyone thinks anymore, but I’m no longer sweeping what I know to be true under the rug. My approach is anything but mainstream! And that comes in handy with a horse like Sunny.
I’m not one to just let it go so easily when a horse has this bleak outlook- So, we asked him:
‘What if it could be better?’
‘What if this isn’t just your lot in life?
What if you could feel better in your body and really enjoy this life?”
Curiosity peaked, he wondered what that would look like for him. You know, he’s wondering what he’s going to have to do for me in order for this to happen. If he gets sound, is he going back to what he had before that got him in this position to begin with? The question stopped me in my tracks. How should I know? So finally, I just said:
“I don’t know, because you, Sundance, have a say in what your future looks like, including what I do with you.”
Well, that stopped him dead in his tracks. It never dawned on him that he could have a say in what he did going forward. We talked about it, with Diane’s help. I shared that my goal for my herd here is that they ultimately help me teach people, so that fewer horses have to go through the things he’s been through.
He LOVES this idea! But there are details in understanding what that means as well. He wants to know if there is a way to do that without him needing to be handled by people who are still learning. Why yes! We can share his healing journey via blog, and in my online classes. He’s all in, and so here I am, sharing his story. It’s in this sharing of his story that he feels like his life, and what he’s been through, serves a greater purpose. Now he’s found a reason to live and to thrive. As long as he doesn’t have to be ridden to do that. Fair enough. I don’t need him to be a riding horse to help me teach! If we could shake hands on it, we would.
Now it’s important for me to keep my side of the bargain and honor our agreement. For now, we work on helping him heal, physically and emotionally. And I share what we learn together.
One thing I know from experience is that if a horse is not committed to their own healing, I’m spinning my wheels trying. Last year, with Mom sick, I didn’t take the time to delve into Sundance on a deeper level. I felt bad about that as I watched him get worse in his lameness. I found ways to simply manage his comfort levels with herbs and pharmaceuticals. But, ongoing management of pain is not my goal. That can only work for so long as the underlying conditions worsen until that kind of management is no longer effective. My goal is vibrant health that doesn’t require massive amounts of support to maintain. Now that Sunny is game I can’t wait to see how things unfold.
I know from experience as well, that how his healing journey unfolds from here is anyone’s guess. Once he’s free from the impact of past traumas he could find soundness again. Or, he could be ready to move on from this body at peace with himself. I’m open to all possibilities and recognize the healing in both outcomes.
The consultation with Diane came about because I was experimenting with using homeopathy to work with his symptoms, but had no luck with the usual remedies one thinks of for ringbone. One of the things I wanted to get out of the session with Diane was a way to zero in on the right remedy for him. A big key that came up was how well he’d been started by his first person. That person was skilled and appreciated Sundance’s power and intelligence. But then he was sold to some people who didn’t know that much, and just thought he was beautiful. They did not have the skill to appreciate his power. It scared them, so they basically fed him such poor feed he was too malnourished to have any energy to object.
This kind of squashing of his confidence, power and grace, was a great blow to him, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I have a lot to say on this subject in terms of how we train horses when we really should be focused more on training humans. A beautifully trained horse with their sense of power intact is not easy for an unskilled rider to handle. We do a great deal of harm to horses when we ask them to tone it down instead of asking their humans to step it up. But that’s a blog for another day!
Ultimately, Sundance had a bad wreck at the hitching rail. Diane and I both catch glimpses of what happened. What I do know is that he pulled back hard, and sat down just as hard. I get the impression that the halter, the rope, and the rail all held fast so he seriously injured his pelvis, neck and poll. After that he was quite lame and no one could pinpoint the exact source of the problem. It was assumed he fractured his hip. He was relinquished to a horse rescue in hopes they could help him. The rescue took him on knowing he would come straight to me.
So, there is this history of abuse in a way that was humiliating. And with that the remedy comes clear. It was not one I would have even thought to look at but once I began dosing there was a clear response in Sunny for the first time. Sometimes, when working with homeopathy things appear to get worse before they get better. And so it was with Sundance. It’s so hard to resist the temptation to do something about it when things look worse. But in waiting it out for a few days we have a better picture of what’s really going on, and he was still okay to eat and drink, go out to pasture with his buddies and so on. Not the end of the world.
It is a combination of things that create the space for the remedy to work. The communication session where he and I came to an understanding. The fact that he made a conscious choice to let himself finally heal. I know that opened the door. Then the right remedy started doing its work and the changes have been nothing short of miraculous – not just in terms of his soundness shifting, but in terms of his attitude. His entire body is changing. He’s still not sound. We have a way to go, but that door to healing is now wide open. He’s interested in engaging with me to see what I have to offer. There is no going back.
Next week I’ll share the message he gave me when I did my own checking in with him! Stay tuned.
If you’d like to learn more about my work, or continue to learn from the horses that teach along side me:
The Tango with Horses Tribe (private group on Facebook):
The Tango with Horses Online Classroom (sharing courses that teach people how to do their own detective work, rehab, bodywork, animal communication, and beyond):