Honoring Pancho.

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The place reminded me of a used car lot.

Horses of all makes, models and sizes mulled around the dirt pen.  Long and lanky generic looking sorrel cow ponies blended with horses of every color.  Lean mustang-like horses had long fallow mane and hips that peeked from taut hide.  Their lineage was anyone’s guess and their stories were mysteries.

They had two things in common: the dirt beneath their hooves and a price tag. Hopefully their price wasn’t by the pound.  It’d be a bargain for the buyer but an insult to the horse.  I guessed that many came from forage challenged habitats within the deep south Texas brush country.

All were being fed and watered generously here at the trader’s. They seemed calm, actually relieved was more accurate.  The seller appeared to take pride in his herd.  Everyone was groomed and his tack was clean.

It was the last chance corral.

Stiff old horses hunted for their redemption by scouting the horizon for jobs toting grandkids.  Sorry-eyed brood mares dreamt of landing in someone’s pasture to spend their last barren years.  The beloved “Mexican Ponies” were a regional specialty.  They were humble “Heinz 57s” and could do anything. They had grit like no other horse.  Their feet and soundness rivaled those of mules.  They didn’t need anything special and always had a grateful kind of expression and attitude.

 

And then there was Pancho.

His mischievous eyes and punchy expression drew me closer but kept most horses at bay.  Both ears sort of flopped to the sides a little.  It was as if his ear hair weighed them down.  He marched up to full-sized horses and bit them. No warning and equally sparse remorse. They never provoked him, either.  Pancho never missed the opportunity to express his role in the herd. Self-expression was not his wound to heal.

He had “Little Horse Syndrome.” 

At barely fourteen hands high before his feet were trimmed, meant the ground wasn’t too far.  His stout stud-like neck meant he could have been gelded late or incompletely.  He never shared which was the case. His toughness was that of a survivor; one who had swam the Rio Grande and found a human to care for him.

Pancho was an expert at manifestation!

I’m not sure what kind of karma Pancho had. It was fortunate enough not to drown while crossing the Rio Grande. It was solid enough not to starve in the sparse border lands before he was spotted.  Though he’d not  landed at The Ritz right off the bat, he did find a person who gave him a job.

His employment was most unique.

He was the tick inspector’s mount. The two of them roped and herded feral Mexican cattle into quarantine pens to check for different kinds of ticks that could be dangerous to livestock in the US.  From that point, they’d herd the cattle into parasite dip tanks.

How could this pony do all of that with a full sized man on his back?   The border was rough country, too.  My respect for Pancho started right at that moment. I could not imagine his eight hundred pound frame

Nippy, opinionated and as tough as the terrain described him well.  He could probably eat cactus, maybe even yucca. His bare hooves were like rocks. His frogs were as tough as petrified wood and huge.  His cannon bones were solid and thick with old bumpy splints.

HIs spine rose from his torso.  It was narrow and bony.  White hairs covered each vertebrae’s deep scar tissue, the result of ungodly saddles and a heavy rider.  If he had ever experienced comfortable tack, it wasn’t in this lifetime.

Passing muster.

My dad’s standards weren’t too high.   Most of all, he was interested in an easy landing, not just for the kids. The seller said he was sound.  That was enough. If I weren’t twelve years old at the time, I’d have argued. I probably tried with the little ammo I had. All of my horse books emphasized the pre-purchase exam. This felt like a huge risk!  My dad told me, “Lizzy, never spend more than you can afford to lose on a horse.”

Pancho was $750 and negotiable.

If Pancho could somehow manage to sustain the forces of roping, carrying a heavy rider, traversing the unforgiving borderlands and be here today in one piece, that was enough. Should Pancho land at our ranch, he’d become a free-ranging pasture horse with a small herd on hundreds of acres.  Anything could happen, though the foreman checked the horses regularly.  Pancho would fit right into that lifestyle.

The seller jumped on his back to show us his “training.”

I stand corrected. He didn’t quite “jump.” It looked more like stepping into the stirrup sans mounting block.  The pony swayed to the left and caught his balance.  He let out a desperate groan as the large man swung his right leg over his back. I cringed. We had to take this pony home!  That guy was too big!

His large belly dodged the saddle horn.  That was fortunate.  Misbehaving wasn’t an option for ole’ Pancho.  Had he wanted to buck or express his opinion, I do not think it was physically possible.   His hind legs couldn’t leave the ground as the man was about a third of his size. Little Pancho Pony had a nice walk, a gaited-looking trot and a canter so smooth a rocking horse would have been jealous.  He was an efficient mover and functional.

He was mostly PERFECT!

The other horses didn’t think so.  He ate first. He went through gates first. He hogged the hay.  Above all, he always assumed he was the most important equine.  Heaven forbid the pony be out-walked on a trail ride. That was an action worthy of a bitter nip to the foreleg or neck. His teeth were unforgiving and driven by his competition.

He was a plumber’s worst nightmare. He held an advanced degree in water tank menacing.  Destroying automatic water trough pumps and hoses kept hm entertained. He had to do something to keep his pony brain busy when it was over a hundred degrees and too hot to walk or eat.

His bright white blaze and fluffy pony ears seemed to light up when he met his new friend, Julio (on the right).  No doubt he felt right at home at La Brasada ranch, just forty five minutes from the Mexican border.  They bonded quickly and did everything together.

Pancho carried every beginner rider who came to visit.

He cheerfully volunteered to go for rides and was the easiest to catch.  He was a spicy version of perfect. He’d do whatever we asked but he’d add his little bit of input as he obliged. I loved that part of him because it made him interesting.

He knew when not to go very fast.  That proved to be valuable when “expert riders” who had ridden maybe a few times at summer camp came to visit.  Pancho didn’t like to see his person on the ground.  That made him look bad.  Ego was everything for the Little Man.

The Ritz finally manifested.

When the ranch sold, Pancho’s ship came in.  My aunt Debbie and uncle Kenny adopted him and his two ranch horse friends, Julio and T.  Pancho was close to forty.  He got the royal treatment compared to the rough La Brasada mustang-esque lifestyle.  Two square meals per day and endless pasture time with green grass instead of brown crunchy forage made his days sweet.

In his last two years, he rubbed off on most of my young nieces and nephews.  He showed them all what a gentle and sweet pony really was.   He gave them a positive experience that wasn’t scary.

He loved lead line lessons. They didn’t last more than a few minutes. This was the easiest job he’d ever had. Likely, it was the most appreciation he’d felt.  Hooves down.  To seal the deal, he got paid in carrots and giggles.

He appreciated simple things.

I venture to say there were two highlights in his life.  The first was being retired from tick inspecting. Period.  The second was being loved by little girls.  I was one of them.

Introducing him to my niece, Frances was one of the highlights of my life.

She may have been about four at the time. Teaching her to read Pancho’s body language and to be sensitive to his needs helped me to feel that I was teaching her a little about empathy.  Pancho shared his calmness and curiosity with Frances. He’d found a new purpose.

He was too old to be ridden by anyone but the smallest and only for a few minutes.  He inspired confidence in each of his young students.  He gave them the gift of learning to be present with another animal as an equal in that moment.  That was more important than riding.

Pancho, my friend, you will be missed.

Enjoy horse heaven and send hoofbeats to your friends  You had quite the life and I am glad that you were one of my early sage teachers.

Have a story about a special equine who has crossed the Bridge?  I’d love to hear about them.  What was the biggest lesson they taught you? Send me an email and tell me about your experience: Lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com

 

Horse Healing from Elto

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Elto is my wise man of sorts who has taught me so much about healing! He’s a 26 year young Nevada mustang who has been in my life as an extraordinary teacher since 2004.  He’s earned “Master Teacher” status in my book!

The biggest gift Elto has shared with me this far has been about perspective. He’s changed how I see things with regards to healing and animals.  His lesson has formed the foundation of my current perception of how to support animals in their healing.

He taught me how to “show up.”

Time travel back to 2005, I was an Equine Touch student and was practicing the sequences of the bodywork method.  I had each step memorized and not a whole lot of “feel” at that stage. Evaluating horses and finding their painful areas was my favorite part because I learned to see through the lameness. The fascia and muscle had their own way of communicating to my very beginner hands. My brain had the process in a semi-congealed state and I needed practice!

Elto stood in the cross ties as I stood back with my hands on my hips.  My right hand pressed against my chin as my brow furrowed in the depths of concentration. Where should I start?

Analysis paralysis. 

He was a high mileage teenage ranch horse at the time. His trail-tired body had lots of “jewelry” and imperfections that caught my eye. I found everything “wrong.”  The rest of the horse attached to the issues didn’t enter my mind.

I studied his stance and thought…

I wonder how I can help him to be more sound. His left hip is cocked in a funny way. Does he need the chiropractor? His right front is pointed slightly forward.  Is his ringbone flaring up? His back seems tense and a bit hollow. Am I trimming his feet correctly? They seem maybe a bit off. Is my saddle causing back trouble? Is he metabolic? He sure is overweight.”

In that zone of a total lack of awareness, I put my hand on Elto’s shoulder. No, I didn’t even ask for permission! My inner critic is cringing as I write this. How rude was that to assume I could touch him and evaluate him like this? We all start somewhere.

I recall saying something like, “You poor thing, you look so uncomfortable! Am I not doing enough for you to stay sound? What’s going on? Are you really this lame?  This body work is really going to help.”

Elto bit me!

And he didn’t let go. HIs incisors held a generous roll of flesh just above my belt line. He was always so gentle and certainly, he’d never nipped me before. I thought we were friends. What was going on?

I was too shocked to yelp or push him away. My muffin top was at the mercy of his jaws. He twisted his neck enough to torque his grip a bit more. Like a kid being grabbed by the ear, I was a receptive listener. Anything to get out of his jaws.

If I wriggled away, the bite became more insistent, but he never chomped down.  The pressure never increased over about two minutes. My face had no color in it, I’m sure and I was eager to see what this was all about.

“Elto, what’s going on?”

After a long pause, I realized something big. I didn’t ask Elto how he was doing. I assumed he was in pain. I found everything wrong with him and I did not ask what was working for him.  I wanted to fix the problems my limited vision could see. I never even asked permission to approach him, never mind do an assessment or bodywork!

I had clearly assumed too much and apologized for my very limited perspective and asked him to show me what I needed to learn.

He released at that moment.

I stopped looking for what was “wrong” and stopped trying to “fix” Elto.

I chose not to give energy to his “broken-ness.” Instead, I stayed in a neutral frame of mind and simply acknowledged what he was showing me through his stance, body language, energy and how I felt around him.

My brain jumped in frequently. I so badly wanted to identify what was wrong! Prove my learning! It made me feel right when I could find something wrong.  My ego was satisfied because it validated what I knew in my brain.

The problem was, this limited my heart’s receptivity to Elto’s voice. And it muted my hand’s ability to listen to his body. Without his engagement, how far could healing go? Never mind our relationship.  It meant the horse did not engage in the process and did not grant permission for me to do anything with him.

The respectful alternative.

If I could wait and ask Elto to show me what was working for him, I had a willing participant.  He knew I was listening and that I was interested in HIS perspective.  After all, it was HIS body and he knew better than anyone what was working and what was in need of balance.

It made him softer, more engaged and able to receive me in his world. He was wide open and our bond grew. Over time, he would show me how well he was doing. I stopped seeing faults and started seeing little things that amazed me. The issues that needed help were always brought to my attention when he was ready. When he needed something, he came to me, showed me the area that was of concern and the invitation to help was set. I had permission and it was on his terms.

Animals are so willing to teach us if we respect them. 

They’re in the driver’s seat. After all, it’s their body and they’re on their own path just as we are. Finding a balance within the relationship means being willing to see the whole picture. Then, asking permission to approach, touch, address the issue, carries us a long way in that relationship.

Contrast this option to what I did with Elto back in 2005 when he made me see his point of view. It’s quite the difference!

Yes, there are times we need to help them sooner than later, like in an emergency. Taking a second to see what’s working and the bigger picture pays off. Horses are very willing to work with us in those uncomfortable situations. The same ideas apply and we can be respectful while still listening to them and asking permission.

We are the stewards and have the honor of caring for them.

With respect and trust they always show us their beauty and their wounds. They ask for help very willingly once they know we do not see it as a fault or weakness.  Horses and most other animals seek wholeness, balance, ease and the option that feels “better.”

If we are willing to be just a little bit patient and ask permission to see from their perspective, I find that it eases the whole situation between human and horse.

I’ve partnered with the Animal Wellness Summit and am presenting this Saturday, November 18th on the topic of healing with animals.  I’m sharing what the animals have taught me so you can apply it to your own fur family. Would you be my guest?

Here’s the link to sign up and yes, there are free options to listen in:  www.animalwellnesssummit.com/lmeyer

special thanks to Kate Zimmerman Photography for these lovely images of Elto and Gaia

Cooling the Hot Horse.

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Cooling Summer Mash for Hot-Blooded Memphis

Memphis is one of those hot horses with thin skin and a reactive brain.  I mean that without any judgment.  Being equal parts Holsteiner and Thoroughbred means that he’s wired for work; even when he can’t do it. The wings on his hooves haven’t stopped flapping since he retired as an ex-jumper who has continued to live on overdrive.

He shows his short fuse during the hottest part of summer.

He can be more reactive and at times, a bit cantankerous towards his herd. Confinement or a moment of not seeing his entire herd drive his internal heat into orbit.  The equation it takes for Memphis to go into zen mode is:  a cool breeze+darkness+quiet nights+living in a herd+cooling foods = calm horse.

Supporting him with cooling foods is something I CAN do! 

During moments of kitchen alchemy, I combine foods that are mineral-rich, grounding, earthy and mostly cooling.  The key players this time are: chia, kelp, rosehips, spirulina, blueberries, green cabbage, apple, Redmond salt and garlic (yes, it’s hot but he needs it for the bugs).

Stirring everything in to his hydrating base mix of soaked alfalfa and Renew Gold (copra+stabilized rice bran) makes my heart slow down and my cheeks stretch. My feet feel heavy and sink into the floor as I mix up his groceries.  It just feels good when the combination is right.

Click here to watch this video of Memphis enjoying his yummy mash.

He licks a clean track (over and over again) around his feed pan.

The foods create magic in Memphis’s belly and reset his thermostat.  Ultimately, it sends his nervous system on a vacation and puts him into the “zone.”  Good things happen there, like healing of mind/body/spirit.  He’s more tolerant of the heat and is able to relax. That means I can, too. By the way, the whole herd is in support of a well-balanced version of Memphis because it means less drama for them.

Feeling his velvety tongue lick my legs, his breath blowing on my hair and nuzzle painting my cheeks with garlicky smelling green slime feels great!   This is how he says we’ve got it just right. Watching him meander peacefully among the herd in turtle gear feels endlessly satisfying.  Seeing him move with more ease and confidence confirms the food combination is a keeper.

Mud is cooling, too. This was taken in the spring when he was already feeling too hot.

No time to concoct cooling combos? Do you need the “Easy Button?”

Here’s a whole food supplement specifically geared to cool your horse.  It can be fed dry as a topper on your horse’s normal feed.  Letting it soak for a few seconds in water makes it even better.  Just click here to get Cool Star EQ from Biostar US.

Let me know!

Do you feed your horses seasonally? What’s their favorite summer food?  Have you noticed they seem cooler with certain foods than others?  Please leave your comments in the section below if you’d like to share what cools down your horse.  Maybe your finding will help someone else with a hot horse!

Horse Lessons from Bo

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I love diving deeply into the World of Horse.

Sitting on my porch this rainy morning with Stewie purring on my lap, I’m asking for clarity about what drew me into the web of horses.  At what point did I become a “Friend of Horses?”

Somehow I didn’t stick with the normal stuff like showing, training, etc. It felt like there was so much more to these animals.

Where was the fork in my path?  What is it about the relationship between me and a horse that is so attractive? How did the bond or the connection become so vital?

A rainy morning exploration with Stewie.


Going back to the feeling when I’m near horses, my senses are pleasantly overwhelmed!  My heart pumps blood full of warm peace, fueling my recollections.  My hands are sticky with sweat and horse hair and grime; the kind that sort of rolls off when you rub your fingers together.   The grassy air drifts from the horse’s muzzle and wafts into my nose.  The dirt melts into the soles of my feet, creating a bond between me and the Earth supporting both of us.

A huge 16-hand chestnut Tennessee Walking horse with a wide white blaze flashed in my mind’s eye. It’s Bo!

I was four years old at my grandparents’ farm, also Bo’s home.  My feet crunched the dry grass underneath them as they dodged fire ants and sticker burrs.  Grasshoppers tickled me behind my knees.  Sticky sweat between my skin and T-shirt reminded me of that summer.

Bo came into my life long before my parents gave me my first horse.  Choking up, I’m seeing the gifts that Bo gave me; my earliest foundation with horses.

Alligator tears stream down my cheeks.

Gratitude imbedded in saline forges a waterway down my face.   Flooded with thanks, I see that Bo started it all.  He offered a bond with his heart, sharing our love-language in common.  His gift was my earliest reference point for connecting with a horse.  Belonging to my Aunt Debbie and my grandmother, Bo always felt like my very own.

What do 5 year old girls talk to horses about? Bo never leaked my secrets.

Horses are a gift.

Most weekends my two younger brothers and I went to my grandparent’s Whippoorwill Hill Farm in Roundtop, TX, population 81. Even if the rest of the family couldn’t go, I went with my grandparents.  Being around horses was my medicine as a city kid.  Completely horse-crazy, but not in pink pony kind of way, Bo and I studied each other.

His head was longer than half my body.

My first love at age 4.  My brother Charlie is getting something good from Bo, too.

When I first saw Bo…

I was four years old.  It felt like he “knew” me. He did.  In utero. My parents visited the farm most weekends. long before my two feet were on the ground. Did we recognize each other’s energy from the very beginning at some karmic level?

Too nervous to touch him, I stood stock still in the humid air thick with mosquitoes. Shocked by his gargantuan stature and purposeful approach, my eyeballs rolled skyward and my neck bent backwards to get a full view.  I was in the presence of something VERY big.

He touched me first.

Bo sifted through my short brunette hair and tickled my sunburned cheeks with his coarse peach fuzz muzzle. I stroked his sticky sweaty neck towards his chest and watched his head drop and eyes glaze.  I rubbed the stray white hairs off of the margins of his blaze and breathed his breath.

They’ve always been my equals.

My dad taught me about the Golden Rule as a kid. Applying it to animals made my heart sing.  Lots of people do this as it isn’t anything new!

Recalling riding lessons, I remember loving just BEING with the horse. Riding was icing. I wanted to go deeper into the relationship with the horse as my friend and teacher.  I thought everyone felt this way.

Anything that could be uncomfortable to a horse made me nauseous.  I didn’t even like squeezing with my legs to ask the horse to move forward. I did it though because everyone told me that I needed to be “the boss” and that the horse had a job to do.  Talking to the horse about going forward as if he were my best friend always worked.

I slowed horses down by singing “Amazing Grace,” rather than pulling on the reins.  It calmed both of us down and led to a successful halt. Anything but pulling on the reins!

Horses gave me my early training as: a negotiator, a partner, a student, a listener and a ultimately as a communicator. Everything I did resulted in the horse and I remaining friends.

While there are people who spend the time to deeply bond with their horses, just because they love the relationship, it’s not as common as I once thought.

I wanted to bask in the horse’s presence and bring them the peace that they brought me.

More than anything I wanted to know what the world looked like from their eyes.  Later, I learned that I was studying the inner garden of their heart.  Funny enough, that’s the core of my current work; the basement layer of connection. Learning what made horses tick became my life-long project.

Totally content grooming them, watching them eat, taking care of them, nothing else mattered.  I felt what they felt. They wanted to feel as good as I did.

Anyone CAN do this!

I don’t recall the first time someone perched me atop Bo’s back.  What shines is the FEELING that Bo gave me over three decades ago while we were just BEING together.  I still get choked up while feeling those moments, before I knew anything else. I honestly didn’t even know what to do with a horse at that time in my life other than to just love and adore them.

Bo gave me the earliest kinesthetic memory with horses.  As if branded into my nervous system, it returns each time I connect with them.

Their purpose is greater than simply serving us. 

Many horses are happy to be of service and that includes being ridden. Taking the time to form a genuine connection with them so that they feel respected and appreciated for what they offer is the minimum agreement in my world.  Showing the horse that you care and that you’re willing to do your best to listen to him matters.

Intention trumps technique, even if you don’t get it right! 

Loving the adventure of it all, I realize that the relationship is more important than whatever job they can do.   Riding?  No riding?  I couldn’t care less.  Having a horse as my teacher, friend, equal and to help guide me?  Priceless.

Horses have such gifts to give if our eyes are open to see them!  Each horse carries their own “medicine.”  They generously share it  if our hearts are receptive.  It’s not about them working for us.  Top riders, horsemen and women know this.

I absolutely love helping people gain this type of relationship with their horses. No horsemanship. No tricks. Just creating understanding and compassion for the connection.

I’m inviting you to visit your early experiences with horses before you knew they could be “used” in some way.  Remember the time when you believed in your heart of hearts that this horse was your friend, your equal?  Has that changed?  Do you want a more heart-centered relationship with your horse?

As adults it’s easy to lose touch with the parts of horses that bring us so much joy.

If you’re looking to rekindle the core of your bond with your horse, I’d love to help you in that process.   Email me at: Lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com and it’d be my honor to assist you.  Thanks for your thoughts on this topic and for your feedback left in the comments section below.

Artist with Animals

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“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brené Brown 

Our animals are always seen for who they are.  We may not like their expression sometimes, but they’re authentic!  In the name of being as “on purpose” as the animals are, I’d like to share some insight along my path to being fully “on purpose.”

People all over the world are answering the collective call to put our true purpose into action.  In doing so, we not only help ourselves, but our animals and our Earth home also benefit. Here goes nothing on my venture to be at 100%!

I’m the only daughter of two artists.

My mother paints sacred landscapes as an artist of land, water and Earth.  My father is an artist with people, business, land and wildlife photography.

Could I be an “artist with animals?”

My tag line is “Holistic animal care husbandry education and consultation.” Is that the most comprehensive use of my abilities?  Definitely not!  It represents one aspect.

Here are the “juicy bits” that got me here.

My forever prayer has been:  “To help people and animals for their Highest Good as well as my own.” My heart’s desire has been to be of service in whatever way the Creator sees fit.

Letting go of that exact definition and trusting that I’d be guided along the way has been the only way through this rabbit hole.  I’ve spent a lot of time searching for breadcrumbs in the maze. I’ve replaced a lot of batteries in my headlight and my night vision has gotten to be pretty good!

Over the last couple of years, I have asked myself if I am living my TOTAL purpose.  Plagued with an uncomfortable “No!” felt awful.  Unhappy with offering singular aspects of holistic animal care education left me feeling unsatisfied.  I took the deep dive inside and discovered my truth.

Distance energy work for the human-animal pair.  There.  I said it.   

That’s my other half!  It’s the part of me and my work that’s been dying to break out of the closet!  I’ve kept it locked up and well-contained until my innards showed me their great disharmony and drained my energy.

I’ve suppressed that niggling pain for too long.  The constant degree of conflict made me physically ill more than a few times in the last two years.  Should I put it out there?  Should I not?  A mental tug of war made from a rope knotted with “shoulds”  wore me out.  I was exhausted.  All the time.

Fear of being seen held me back.

As a result of my own soul-stirring conflict, I’m inspired to share my process.  I’m not the only one in this boat.  Our animals push us to be at our best.   How can we ask them to bounce back to health if we are not working on healing ourselves?

Marianne Williamson said, “You playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure around you. As you let your own light shine, you indirectly give others permission to do the same.”

Knowing that I can help people, animals, and the world in a deeper way and choosing to not do so because of my own discomfort in how to present my own magic left me with a gaping wound of clarity.

To stop the bleeding, I called in a courage transfusion from super-hero, Brené Brown.  “What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?”

Working on my inner landscape, turning up stones and pulling out thorny bushes left me in a different state of mind. Working in a “parts and pieces” mode to figure out management issues solved my clients’ problems.  Boring!  I didn’t empower them to make further changes in the grand scheme-as much as I thought I was.

The WHOLE picture includes: human, animal, land, food, energetics and the bond.

“Fixing” one piece of this network of variables isn’t what my work is about.  Feeling drained and in a constant state of conflict was not fun. Helping others to see the whole and how everything is connected makes me feel that I am doing my best work.

Often times that work is done energetically with the client. We work together with their land, their animals, and themselves. I engage them in the process and invite them to work with me and with their beloved animal.

 Could I replace being afraid with being brave? 

Putting my WHOLE self out there to the world to help the collective spider web of inhabitants and environment is my intention.  Could I do more and still be safe but find some of that feel-good stretch? Absolutely!

The idea of marketing my most nurtured and coddled gift to the world for the last ten years is being birthed RIGHT NOW.

The timing is perfect. I’ve polished this skill set for the last ten years with countless animals and people.  It’s ready to debut. My intention is no longer limited to only helping an animal and a person at a time.  It is also benefit the greater net of Creation.  Energy flows where attention goes.

I’m braiding my gifts, knowledge and abilities into a service offering.  

What if I took the risk and told you that the part of my work that gives me the most joy and sense of purpose is something that isn’t nested on my website?

It’s not on my cards, brochures or anywhere!  Why not?  Artists are a funny type.  They go deep into the womb of creativity and work on themselves. They clean up the stuff that’s held them back.  They take the time to buff tarnished treasures within the deepest recesses of their heart.  Somewhere within, they know that their art will be stronger and more beautiful if they work on the conduit from which their inspiration flows.

It’s time to take a chance!

I am an “animal artist.”  Trying to figure out a way to deliver this news has kept me in metaphorical labor for the last two years.  I was trying to control every aspect of its delivery and make it perfect and painless. Ludicrous!  Flooded with debate and fear, I felt waterlogged and unable to take the next step .

When a baby’s ready to come OUT, it doesn’t stop and ask if it’s a good time!   Our world is calling all of us to do our soul’s work, without fear of the risk of failure.

Here goes: I facilitate healing for animals, the people who love them, and the land that supports them.  

For ten years, I’ve quietly served human-animal pairs via long distance or in-person energy work with the intention of assisting them to restoring their vitality. It’s officially a full-fledged offering, fueled by your word of mouth referrals.

There are messages and opportunities within each session. I share all of those insights with you.

There are huge opportunities for growth when working this way.  The understanding alone causes incredible peace and clarity to wash over people who are struggling with their animals.  Part animal communicator, part healer, part intuitive and part experience drives me forward to offer customized sessions.

I provide the voice for those who are struggling to be heard. 

Seeing the truth of situations between people and animals is something that comes naturally for me.  Relieving the owner’s stress creates a sort of freedom for the animal to restore their own energetic systems. That’s when they do their best healing.

As an artist with animals, I create the space for well-being between people, animals and the Earth. 

With the permission of the person and invitation from the animal, I use my gifts to facilitate long-distance or in-person energetic healing. I involve the client, the land, and the animal.  I use my tools and skills to sense where there’s balance and where there’s a need for change. Making sure everyone has clarity and confidence in the animal’s ability to be whole is the most vital aspect of my work as an artist.

 Let me know your thoughts and needs.  I’m here to help. You can reach me by emailing: Lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com     

Maestro Part Two

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I’ve got to get to the bottom of this!  Maestro’s muscles are slowly melting away and he’s lethargic. I need to know WHY.  The vet and the blood tests say he’s fine.

Studying Maestro one evening, “EPSM” comes to mind.  Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy is a genetic, progressive, neuromuscular disease. There are two types. Type II is what applies here.  Type II manifests later in life than Type I. Maestro is thirteen, which seems to be the sweet-spot for most Type II horses (average age at diagnosis is between eight and early teens).   Dutch Warmbloods (when compared to other warmblood breeds) are well-represented in the Type II category but rarely with Type I.

Maestro before any MAJOR symptoms, albeit overweight…

In veterinary technician school we were taught about equine neuromuscular disorders, briefly.  EPSM was just a mysterious acronym for my classmates. Thankfully, I’d been out in the horse world my whole life and had managed Type I horses.

Type I affects many breeds especially drafts and Quarter horses.

Both Type I, and Type II symptoms can include muscle wasting. Type I usually occurs earlier in life and often manifests by the horse “tying up,” in the most severe form.  Here, the horse stands camped out, outstretched with a tense back and painfully hard hindquarter muscles. The horse is unwilling to move. During an episode, the horse’s urine may be coffee-colored.  This is from the muscle pigment, myoglobin, being released from the dying muscle fibers after being filtered by the kidneys.  There are more subtle symptoms of Type I as well and it’s easy to diagnose with an inexpensive genetic hair test.

My local vet and her colleague had no awareness of the second type of this syndrome and little experience with the first.  One acquaintance, a board-certified equine surgeon, had only diagnosed a couple of horses with EPSM.

Although everyone who saw Maestro believed he looked “fine,” he’s shown consistent symptoms of Type II recently.

Recalling a severe stent of kidney colic and tying up eleven months ago, everything added up.  He recovered brilliantly with the help of intensive supportive care, homeopathy, a gifted holistic vet and energy medicine. Maestro’s main symptoms after this acute episode have been:

  • progressive muscle wasting throughout body
  • exercise & heat intolerance
  • occasional mild tying up episodes
  • standing camped out (outstretched)
  • unwillingness to move forward when working
  • “stickiness” in the hindquarters
  • lethargy & lying down often
  • occasional cough

Recalling other horses in my life, I started to see that this is not an uncommon disease.

In fact, I’ve likely worked with many “problem” horses who have been undiagnosed but symptomatic of EPSM.  Discomfort caused by this disease may have been the reason for much of their behavior challenges and physical symptoms.  These signs sound familiar to many horse owners.  The problem is that they’re generalized and could mean MANY things.  It takes time and persistence to put the puzzle together and discover what may be the cause.  Of course, horses never lie…

Studying his bloodlines, his records and talking with his previous owner revealed that Maestro has had seemingly random symptoms during the time she had him.

Top veterinarians never suggested EPSM as a possibility.  They did their absolute best to help Maestro.  Vets attributed each problem to a variety of lameness issues, hoof pain, chronic colic, compensatory pain, etc. His owner lovingly treated him to the very best veterinary care and holistic management, but to no avail.

Given his multiple soundness issues and lack of suitability for upper level dressage, my dear friend could no longer keep him. He had a different purpose in life.  Since I love rehabilitating horses and could care less about riding, she gifted him to me.  The teacher had appeared; quite literally.  I decided to learn from “The Maestro.”  To understand his his lineage, I talk with warmblood breeders and learn about his bloodlines.  Learning of the possibility of genetic proclivity to EPSM made me want to dig deeper.

The journey begins by going straight to the horse’s mouth.

I find one of the world’s experts on EPSM.  Dr. Stephanie Valberg, DVM, PhD is a researcher at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and is also board certified in internal medicine.   She’s been a respected pioneer in equine neuromuscular diseases for many years the Equine Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory.

During our conversation, she agreed based on my description of Maestro’s history, breed, age and symptoms, that he may have Type II.  She requested that he have small muscle biopsy from his hamstring.   That sample would be sent to her team in Michigan for microscopic evaluation and diagnosis.

Considering that his surgical site would have several stitches, he’d need to be confined to a smaller turnout area for a couple of days.  No big deal for most horses.  However, Maestro becomes stressed in any kind of confinement and his body becomes acutely painful.  Taking him out of his herd creates tremendous distress on top of it. For now, it’s not worth it.

Recognizing how nice it would be to have a definitive diagnosis, I feel confident it’s not in Maestro’s best interest at this time. 

Plus, I am not excited about having Maestro undergo a minor, but nonetheless invasive standing surgery at this point.  His condition is in a precarious state and it doesn’t feel right to proceed.  If we need more clarity at any point, it’ll be done. Trusting that the time will be right and Maestro will be well-prepared leaves me feeling relieved.

Dr. Valberg generously shares other strategies that may help him.  She suggests a feeding trial including a very high protein commercial feed, moderate-low starch and whey protein for amino acids.  The objective is to provide ample building blocks for muscle repair and development.  Stopping the muscle wasting is the main target.   Should he need to gain weight, he could have additional calories from fiber and fat but not from starch.   She stressed progressive walking exercise to help his muscles. Depending on his response, we’d have a better idea of his status.

Talking with EPSM researcher, Dr. Beth Valentine, DVM, PhD at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine gave me more information.

She’s been studying the disease for 25 years.  Her recommendation for all types of EPSM is a high fat, low starch and high protein diet.  Exercise and full-time turnout without rich grass is critical.  Maestro’s response to this diet could take four months.  Dr. Valentine cautioned me there would be good days and bad days during his metabolic shift and to focus on the good ones. Feeding fat from a vegetable source was absolutely key, regardless of type, in her experience.  Calculating 20-25% of Maestro’s daily calories coming from fat meant feeding him well over two cups of oil per day!  I feel apprehensive about feeding that much of any oil to Maestro.

Everyone has a strategy to manage this disease, but it’s defined as incurable.

In talking with other people with Type II horses, it seems that these horses are a challenge.  The idea of treating the horse who is manifesting symptoms of the disease on a more “constitutional” level hasn’t yet come up, except with my holistic vet. What Maestro is expressing is actually a collection of symptoms that could be labeled as EPSM.  The diagnosis is not the answer.

Homeopathy is something we are using in Maestro’s case to help the whole horse recover.  Regardless of a diagnosis, he needs the right foods, exercise, low-stress and unlimited turnout.  My intention is for the “Whole Maestro” to bounce back into a state of health

Meanwhile, Maestro’s genetic hair test is negative for Type I.

That’s no surprise.  I insisted we check muscle enzymes (AST and CK), vitamin E and Selenium.  All were normal. Muscle enzymes are often normal in Type II horses.  Low vitamin E and Selenium can cause muscle pain and tying up in any horse and are an easy fix.

I sent more mane samples off for a brand new Type II genetic test.  It’s not yet recognized by many vets, as it just became available.  The science behind it makes sense and others have obtained consistently accurate results.  It will at least tell me if he has the genes for EPSM and which type. It’s something I can do.

I have nothing to lose in changing his diet.

Carefully preparing Maestro’s dinner gives me hope!  Not relying on a bag of pellets means I can see that what he eats and feel it with my hands.  He’s always eaten a whole food diet but this one is further customized to support his healing efforts.  Feeding the whole horse, not managing a disease, is my mantra.  No processed foods, no soy, no GMOs, nothing artificial and no pro-inflammatory food will EVER cross his lips.

To reduce starch, I eliminated the tiny amount of oats he was eating. Adding just a cup per day of organic coconut oil gives him medium chain triglycerides, one of the most rapidly used muscle fuels.  I’m not using the typical vet recommended vegetable oils such as corn, canola and soy.  The majority are GMO, hexane (a carcinogen) extracted, deodorized and are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6.  I add chia seeds into his recipe for critical omega-3 and other nutrients.  I’ll add a bit of hemp oil and camelina oil for their specific properties soon.  Doubling his organic alfalfa pellets raises the protein.   Tossing in a small amount of un-denatured, grass-fed whey gives him a full spectrum of amino acids for muscle repair.  His low starch hay is always free choice along with grazing on sparse native pasture.  A variety of super green foods like AFA algae, spirulina, kelp, and nutritive herbs provide his vitamins and minerals.

The King LOVES his Green Mash!

Green Mash is food for health, not disease. Watching Maestro savor his dinner feels amazing and lowers my stress. Within twenty-four hours, I’m shocked!  His eyes are soft and he’s moving well.  Each day I make notes on his condition, attitude, any changes and whatever we did that day.

 The physical shifts are slight at this stage, but everything else is clear!

3/1/17
3/29/17

Here are the changes I’ve noticed in about four weeks since implementing his new diet & exercise program:

  • standing more square (happened in 48 hours of new diet)
  • improving condition
  • not urinating just before feeding time
  • playing with herd mates
  • more energetic & napping less
  • eager to walk in hand
  • no “stickiness” or hesitation when asked to move forward
  • not grumpy
  • overall calmness
  • loves to be touched & groomed
  • stands quietly for hoof trimming
  • muscle development behind withers and between hip and stifle
  • soft muscles along lower back and hindquarters

Stay tuned to learn about his progress, what I learn about this dis-ease and my conclusions/opinion about this all too common but often under-considered syndrome.  As always, your feedback is welcome.  Please respond in the comments section of the blog or send a note to Lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com.

 

The Guts of Connection (part two)

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The guts of connection.

Connection between human and horse is simple.  Together we have love, trust, and mutual respect for eachother.  I believe that each horse is perfectly healthy for their divine purpose.  When all of these aspects are bundled up, I call it acceptance.  It means I’m not trying to fix anything “wrong” with the horse.

Letting go of what I WANT the horse to be is therapeutic for the horse’s soul.  It dissolves stress for both of us.  Stepping back and receiving whatever medicine our horses offer us is is quite an experience.  Trying so hard to give them something we think they “need” quickly loses, by all comparison.  Staying in a receptive mode is the only way I’ve been able to work with horses and witness their healing and feel shifts in myself.

Let me take you though a sample of my routine.

It goes like this: observe horses from a distance, approach carefully with consideration to their personal space, stand back once our energetic space integrates, breathe with the horse, ask for permission to approach further and to be touched, ask how his day is going, see how his body feels, ask him what he’d like to do,  hang out in the pasture as he eats, maybe walk together.

Having no expectations of the horse is where the magic is!  I’m interested in what’s important to him.  This says to the horse, “I care about your world, help me learn about you!” Can you imagine what a great relationship this could be?

Learning to drop my own agenda was hard!

Every horse I’ve been given to work with has inadvertently suffered due to someone else’s goal. I hold no judgement or towards these people. In my heart, I know we are all doing our best.  Nevertheless, there’s always mental, emotional, energetic, and physical baggage to sift and sort.  It’s all the same. Being invited into the hearts of these horses has always meant doing the opposite of what others had already done.

Schooling and conditioning plans went out the window.  There was no structure.   All I could do was read the horse via their behavior, energy, and body language.  My ego was upset and my mind was flooded with doubt.

The horses became my structure and my guide.  I learned to be flexible and to carefully listen with my heart and hands.  The horses quickly confirmed we were on the right track. Their movement and expression gave me all the information I needed to move forward.

Being totally present with each horse and treating them as my equal gave me more results than any other thing.  I thank my mom for drilling, “Patience is a virtue” into me as a kid. Horse time is not linear!

Horses have always schooled me-not the other way around!

Loving every horse that was given to me as a “project,” I learned that investing time in forming a true friendship was our foundation.  I promised them that I’d not engage in any method that used fear, force, intimidation, or pressure.  Anything that took advantage of the horse’s flight mechanism was also off the docket. My intention was to be with horses who genuinely were my friends.

Blown away by the relationships they gave me, the healing events that I witnessed, and their willingness to teach, my whole perspective as an equine professional and lover of hoses changed. I was keenly interested in their perspective and in their world.

I gave up riding for years to learn more about their hearts, minds, bodies, and ability to connect in a variety of ways.

Forever a learning nerd, I experimented with different ideas and approaches.  The horse’s feedback gave me the ok to keep going on whatever track or re-direct my energies.  Surrendering has never felt so good.

Being a student of the horse became my life.  I asked them to teach me how to see from their perspective. I wanted to know what to do differently. It intrigued me to know if things were making sense to them.  And I received as much healing as they could give me without trying to heal them in return-unless they made it clear they needed help.

I began to get a body-sense of what connection with a horse felt like.

It was an unmistakably solid feeling in my solar plexus.  Nothing could push me away from that sensation because it was the truth and the most valuable guidance.  Seeing the peace in the horse’s eyes and relaxation in their body was all I needed.  Any iota of doubt meant to stop and check in with myself and the horse. There was a message.  Ignoring it NEVER served me or the horse well!

I help horse lovers to develop a sense of true connection with their horses.

The kind of relationship and friendship with horses that I am talking about is a feeling.  It can be taught!  It’s my heart’s delight to help other people obtain this sensation and deep knowingness of truth with their horse. Horses are asking us to see them not just as an equal, but as teachers, healers and guides.

It’s a sacred opportunity when a person is drawn into the inner world of the Horse.  It’s an equally deep chance for the horse to form a bond with a person. I’d love to hear your special stories of relating with your horses.  Reply in the comments section below and I’ll have part three of this series ready for you soon!

 

Connection is a Beautiful Thing!

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Describing the concept of connection with horses used to mystify me!

This “gift” of connection with horses is not something special that I have. Plenty of people have it!  It’s a marriage of skill and patience with lots of practice.  Horses and trusted mentors have helped me to develop this for as long as I can recall. Everyone has the capability to experience this.

Here are the things that have helped me in finding connection with myself and the horses in my life. 

1.) Having an honest and open heart with a quiet mind.

2.) Having the ability to see oneself as a part of the relationship.

3.) Having a willingness to be taught by the horse.

4.) Having the courage to drop one’s own agenda.

Let me take you back to 2000, when this all started for me. 

I was a Biology student at Sweet Briar College, when the Director of the Riding Program, Shelby French took me and a few other “Intro to Schooling Horses” students to the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Exhibition in Lexington, VA.  Mid-terms were in the air and I was a nerd.  Shelby assured me I *needed* to go-that it would be REALLY good for me.  I took my books and never opened them.

I saw horses doing things I’d never seen before and was stunned that there was a METHOD that I could learn! Shelby let me use all of her tools, videos, and pocket guides.  Endless hours of education went into studying all things related to equine behavior and training.

As a part of the horse re-training class, she assigned me project horses that were newly donated to the program.

I used Natural Horsemanship techniques with each one of them as they all had “issues.”  Even though I applied the techniques with great sensitivity and care, it didn’t feel complete.   Horses were able to work on a far more sensitive level, free of all pressure.  What that looked like was a mystery to me, but I could feel it was possible.  I continued to practice all things Horsemanship and worked through the levels with great empathy for the horse and with heart-centered communication.

During this time, Shelby gave me the freedom, support, and encouragement to study other methods and to experiment. She empowered me to find my own strength in order to continue when I felt like giving up, many times!  The only way I could move forward was to read the horse every step of the way and keep tuning into myself, sensing how we were both feeling.  The opinion the horse had of me was the MOST important thing.  If that was positive, then we were on the right track and we both felt great.

Although I am not a fan of any particular Natural Horsemanship technique, I’m grateful for the foundation that it gave me.

It was a stepping stone that helped me to see how horses think and what motivated them.  I approached the Dean’s Office with a comprehensive syllabus with the intention of creating an Independent Study course in Equine Psychology and Behavior! They approved it for full credit; a first for the College.

During the that time and throughout my college career, I applied various techniques to connect with my assigned “project” horses.  I wanted them all to enjoy the good life as a Sweet Briar school horse.  Many were able to join the ranks as incredible teachers with compassionate riders.  Others needed a different lifestyle and found suitable homes.

Through it all,  each horse taught me to see the world from their perspective.

They made what was important to them, clear. They showed me what made them tick.  They gave me insight into their world.  I felt their past and helped them to be in the present.  I gave them choices and witnessed incredible healing in both their minds and bodies. Each day, I saw them as my teachers.  Their lessons were medicine for my soul and encouragement to stay on this path, no matter how challenging.

My mind shifted from problem-solver to equine empath.  Every day, I asked each horse: “How can I help you?”  The next request was always “Show me what I need to learn.” In hindsight, the horses were helping me just as much as I was helping them, probably more.

Stay tuned for the next piece of how connection feels and what it looks like.

In the meantime, thanks for your curiosity and for having the desire to form a deeper bond with your horse!  There’s nothing more valuable or better-feeling.  I’d love to hear your own stories of connection.  You can reach me at: lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com

Merry Christmas to You and Your Horses!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM WHOLE HORSE CONSULTING!

Many of us are in the “Holidaze” spirit right now, so I’ll make this newsletter brief! The video below features ONE HELPFUL TIP for your horses this winter! It’s easy and costs absolutely nothing. It’s one of the most valuable and health-giving things you can do for your horses, especially this winter! Best of all, it’s only one minute long!

My intention for 2017 is to give my Whole Horse Consulting clients an opportunity to learn the foundational aspects of TRULY holistic horse care and management. That’s right, we’re going back to the basics. So many issues can be solved and prevented all together, if we consider the nature of the horse.

My goal is to share what the horses have taught me so that you benefit without all the time in the trenches! There’s tremendous power setting a strong foundation for our horses. Don’t worry, I’ll help you get it right for your particular situation, horse(s) and environment.

To make life with your beloved horses easier for you, I’ve recorded several podcasts. These will be available for purchase soon from my website. These will build your holistic horse care knowledge bank and greatly benefit the connection you share with your horse(s). All of this information is from my experience as a veterinary technician, stable manager, holistic horse educator, and horse owner.

For now, enjoy this little video and make some Hydrating Winter Mash for your horses! Hint: you can use any feed your horse is used to with this idea. The emphasis is on hydration and digestive health!

Here’s the video link: Making a Hydrating Mash

Thank you for being a loyal holistic horse caregiver and WHC subscriber. As always, I appreciate you forwarding this email to your animal-loving friends. Thank you for helping me to reach more people!

If you’d like holistic horse care education or help building a more intuitive connection with your horse(s) this winter, I’d love to assist you! Please send me an email: lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com or click here: Working with Lizzy.

Dancing in the Rain…not quite!

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DANCING IN THE RAIN
That’s not quite how I recall the last two weeks.  Torrential rain, wind and flash flood warnings, I’m reminded of my “wet behind the ears” status as a total newbie managing my little ranchette in the hill country of TX.  This region has been in severe drought for years.  Last spring it seemed a little wetter than usual,  but this spring?  Heaven has let loose.
With the pending storm, I put two large round bales in the back of my truck to drop them off in the high places in the horse’s pasture where there’s good drainage and shelter. My little herd is eating twice their normal amount of hay in this weather.  As it turns out, we are all stress-eaters.
Suddenly, my truck is floating in the mud.  I had underestimated the dry-looking high spots. I have a sickening feeling of being totally out of control.  I’m royally stuck. Hmmm.  Low four wheel drive wasn’t working to free me, the truck and the round bales from the seemingly invisible sucking mud.
I stopped and took a deep breath and prayed for an angel to unstick me.  It  worked instantly.  I felt the wheels grip and we were out of the sludge. Angels, Thank You.
Waiting for the lightening to stop, sitting in the truck, I stared at the horse shed, a tall and long solidly roofed structure with no walls.  All I could see was mud and gushing water.  The top soil was completely gone. Rivers of mud barreled through my not so dry sacrifice area.
There’s a good foot of brown gunky earth under the shed.  It’s about 15 feet tall, 12 feet wide and 40  feet long.   How in the world can I possibly provide a windbreak and divert the water tonight?   The horses simply cannot stand in the mud any longer.  Improving this shed has been at the top of my list, but it has not stopped raining long enough to bring in equipment and do the work!
Although I’m wearing my mud boots. I may as well be barefoot.  The boots are taking on water and teaching me what being “stuck in the mud” is really about.  Quickly thinking of a solution I bought a huge industrial tarp, the finest from Tractor Supply.  It’ feels like it weighs at least 80 pounds.  While I struggle with the unwieldy tarp, the rain pounds. Eventually I wrangle the plastic into submission.
Water from the Gods fills my boots.  I want nothing more than to hang this tarp to make a temporary shed wall.  I ask the Angels for help again and the storm momentarily abates. I toss the rope up over the rafters, or,  I try to toss the rope up over the rafters with a rock as its lead.  “Chuck, chuck, chuck”…”Chuck, chuck, chuck”…   Damn it!    “Duck!”
The rock hits the 15′  beams more times than it goes over.  Dodging the rock that seems more like a boomerang, I’ve flattened myself into the mud.  In a moment of pity, I imagine my mother having this glimpse of her daughter; mud is seeping into my underwear, my undershirt is completely covered in filth and my face is all shades of brown.  As if poked by a cattle prod, I leapt up to finish the job.  I built a berm with sand bags and rocks which diverted the water and anchored the tarp.
Thunder rolled in and I have managed to suspend the tarp with snaps and strong rope.  Awesome!  I’m so proud of myself!  Mission accomplished!  The horses clamored into the area and I felt a huge weight lift as I dragged myself towards the house.  The drain just outside the feed room is backed up and now there’s water inside!  I put a pasta strainer over the drain which filtered the debris and resolved the back-up.
Wet and exhausted at about 10pm, I sat down for a dinner of organic canned beans.  Nothing has ever tasted this good.
The storm barreled through the night.  High winds downed an oak tree onto my deck, grounded trees throughout the property and lightening struck two trees close by.  Gushing water rushed through the pasture and 75% of the property was flooded. Truly, I am glad the horses and house are on high spots!
At 6 am I awake to witness that my tarp project did not work.  The horses are scattered, their ears perked and their necks are arched.  Nobody likes a blowing sheet of silver and black plastic!  The industrial tarp had crumbled onto the ground and was shredded.   With bare eyelets dangling from the snaps I asked for more help.
My friend Andy,  a retired firefighter and currently a park ranger sent me a text checking on me;  “How are you and your animals doing? Let us know if we can help. You have a lot more rain than us. Or most people for sure.”  Angel Andy was on his way to help me build an actual shed wall.
We shoveled mud and slog and took over a week to improve the area so that it would be mud-free. I collected supplies and together we put up a wall and a concrete curb to divert water.  I dug a trench to create a drain.  Gravel and rock dust are on order to be packed on the top.  At last, my horses will have a shelter where they can stay dry and protected.  My gratitude for Andy is immeasurable.
With all this mud, I’ve learned a few things about keeping dry-land horses in the sudden dramatic dampness.  Managing mud-induced symptoms made me appreciate the resources I have at home. I love my homeopathy kits, homemade herbal oils, foods/herbs that I keep to feed horses for healthy digestion and immune function.   Everything I have needed to help my animal family cope with the stress of sudden weather changes has been right at my fingertips.
Let’s see, I used homemade herbal oils from native plants for Elto’s scratches, clay and honey dressings for Memphis’s thrush, homeopathy for Gaia’s double hoof abscesses and managed Angel the donkey’s white line disease with essential oils.  Sage the mule got lots of extra emotional support and energy work.  I’m very grateful for my friends who have given me emotional support over the last couple of weeks.  I am also thankful for my well-stocked all-natural first aid cabinets.   We’ve all come out the other side in better shape than when we started.
More than anything, I am grateful for the sun and dry land.  Relief and gratitude streams through me as Angel Andy and I near the end of the shed project.  My cowgirl hat goes off to all of you who have managed horses in the recent floods and the mud. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!
Watch your inbox for tips keeping your horses healthy in the mud, upcoming horse management workshops and to learn about horse care products that I love.   What topics matter to you?  What would you love to learn about pertaining to horse management and care?  I want to know!  Please send your ideas to lizzy@wholehorseconsulting.com
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