Does your horse have choice? An exploration of touch and consent…

Does your horse have choice? An exploration of touch and consent…

Yesterday, I had the chance to work with an amazing mare. Ever since beginning of my career as an equine sport therapist in 2003, each horse I meet builds on my knowledge and understanding, and over the almost 14 years since it’s become increasingly obvious that each horse is a unique individual, with their own preferences, quirks, conditioning and genetic legacy. Every day, at the risk of sounding cheesy, I am humbled to be allowed to work with them and by their generosity in sharing wisdom and understandings that, I hope, contribute to me being a better human being. My love of horses is a deep, deep well, a constant filling of my cup.

Alright, enough of the sappyness and back to my story. I relate this particular story partially because of the rising awareness around touch and consent in human beings and where the line is, and partially because very little has been said about this subject when it comes to animals, particularly horses.

How do you know if you’ve found your heart horse?

How do you know if you’ve found your heart horse?

When did you discover your horse obsession? For me, the age is unknown (I was wee), only the feeling. A feeling of utter awe and inexplicable understanding. A feeling right in the centre of me that knew that these powerful creatures would be my north star from this day forward.

Thousands of wheelbarrow loads of poop, rides, grooming sessions, hay bales, hoof pickings, dollars spent and bum rubs later, and the addiction does not appear to be fading. On the contrary, it seems to be picking up steam. It may have a little something to do with my mare Diva meandering her way into my life and heart almost exactly 13 years ago and flipping my world, quite literally, on it’s head. Perhaps?

Get-it-done Horsemanship: Effective or abusive?

Get-it-done Horsemanship: Effective or abusive?

I remember the moment as clear as day. It is that powerful a memory in a brain that doesn’t hold onto many (I always say my brain does regular clear outs of information it deems unimportant).

I’m fourteen or fifteen and I’m riding a lesson horse in a ring. We’re jumping, or we’re trying to. It’s not going well. My instructor is screaming at me. Screaming. My horse is, looking back in reflection (hindsight is indeed 20/20), terrified. He has refused a jump, more than likely because he’s scared of it. My instructor is screaming this at me over and over. “Get it done!” and “Don’t let him get away with it.” Eventually, with much kicking and whipping, he carried his terrified self and mine over the jump. Our heart rates were both racing. We were both scared, bordering on traumatized. Both in a place where we are unable to think or be effective in any way.

My horse has chakras? And how to balance these key energy centres that you just found out about….

My horse has chakras? And how to balance these key energy centres that you just found out about….

To be sure, energy is a big part of my life. Everyday I work with it with horses and other animals as a part of my job.

But the truth is that energy is a big part of everyone’s life, whether you work consciously with it or not. Energy makes up everything that is us, or our horses, or the food that we all eat. In fact it is the very essence of each cell of every animate object and each particle of every inanimate object. Energy flows and moves in different frequencies and makes up our blood, bones, muscles and organs. It is the composer who miraculously creates harmony in our thousands of bodily processes. The fact that to the majority, this energy is intangible, does not mean that it doesn’t exist. We can feel it if we stand in the middle of a crowded city, or if we stand at the edge of a peaceful forest. Most importantly, we can feel it with our horses.

Animal Wisdom for Living Well…

Animal Wisdom for Living Well…

Stop what you’re doing. Come a little closer. Breathe deeply. Listen with all your senses. Animal wisdom is subtle but potent, filled with aha’s, new perspectives and potential growth. The animals in our life, whether they’re chasing squirrels, hunting bugs or napping for what seems like an eternity, seem to have this whole living well thing sorted. Even the birds and the bees have a thing or twenty to share about living a rich and vital life. And even though we’re spread out across the globe, our animals remain the same – unconditionally loving, beautifully expressive and a beloved and essential part of our families.

As an animal intuitive and Equine Sport Therapist, I have the distinct pleasure of spending my days connecting with animals and their awesome people, and getting a backstage look into their connection with us, how they stay vital, and what really makes them tick. What I have learned and keep on learning about these incredible beings never fails to blow my mind. I’ve realized that our animals have this life thing a whole lot more figured out than most of us do. They tend to live well balanced, relaxed, fun and connected lives. In fact, when it comes to living well, you may have a powerful teacher napping it out on that cushy bed across the room.

What Element is Your Horse? A Look at your Horse’s Health with the Help of the TCM 5-Element Theory.

What Element is Your Horse? A Look at your Horse’s Health with the Help of the TCM 5-Element Theory.

It goes without saying that humans have distinct personalities. But, there are some who would argue that a horse is a horse, meaning, that there is no real uniqueness in their way of interacting with the world. As a practitioner and horse owner, I would disagree. Experience has proven time and again that each horse is beautifully unique and has something akin to a personality. Whether they tend to be expressive, bold, timid, fearful, stubborn, humorous or even herd-bound, it seems that each horse finds a unique form of expression that is truly their own. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is thought that these unique attributes are often related to the five recognized elements; fire, earth, metal, water, wood. These five elements are a large part of TCM, believed to play an important role in the maintenance of health and well-being. Each phase is a balance of yin and yang, two opposing energies whose interaction determines the general vitality of each individual. When there is harmony in the elements, life flourishes. As well, there are two energy meridians related to each element, with the exception of fire, which has four. These meridians circulate “qi” or life force energy throughout the body, and their steady flow is crucial to the health and well-being of the body in which they circulate. So, what does this have to do with equine digestion and nutrition? Over thousands of years, practitioners of TCM have noticed a correlation between certain types of people and animals and dis-ease or dis-comfort. For example, in an extremely expressive, bright and sensitive person, with and affinity to being...