"When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk;
He trots the air;
The Earth sings as he touches it;
The basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the Pipe of Hermes;
He is pure air and fire."

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ignorance Prevails

My dear rescue horse, River, before and after....

I was just advised yesterday that he has been dealing with a displaced hip for...who knows how long??? The osteopathic vet surmised that he sustained an injury at some point in his past, possibly a fall, and been left to compensate for it, which he has done remarkably. My regular vet had not even detected it. High headed and extremely unbalanced, River came to me via a friend who gallantly removed him from a neglectful, and most probably abusive, home. Several hundred pounds underweight and extremely head shy, he was loving and goofy nonetheless. I fell in love.

I am amazed at a horse's ability to sustain the pain and abuse that we, knowingly or unknowingly, inflict upon them. How many horses, reprimanded for behavioral problems, have succumbed to painful punishment for physiological issues? In someone else's hands, my gelding would have been viewed as disobedient, clumsy, had his head tied down, or had a variety of other "remedies" inflicted on him. I have been riding him not realizing that I was putting incredible pressure on this unwell skeletal system. Ignorance. And what strikes me is that there is MORE ignorance than knowledge in the horse field. We have so far to go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Horse as Healer

Is it coincidence that the physician's Hippocratic oath, named after the "father of medicine" carries in it the Greek word for horse -- hippo? A horse's capacity for acting as a catalyst for the healing of the human soul is rapidly being demonstrated in relatively new modalities of equine assisted physical and mental health therapies.

The horse's role as the intuitive observer and mirror of the human lies in its prey animal status, for, in order to survive, the horse must be vigilant in all matters to a degree that we, as predators, do not utilize in our daily relationship to our world. The horse lives in the here and now, not ruminating about the past nor fretting for the future. He reacts immediately to the subtle feedback he is getting in the moment and this provides a powerful tool for the human.

After eons of the human using the horse as a mode of transportation, beast of burden, and "recreational vehicle" we are finally opening ourselves to the possibilities of the horse as teacher and physician. And he has much to say.

Welcome to Epona's Muse.