Medium-ship and healing have been part of my life for so long that I forget how unusual my day-to-day life can be to others.
So, if anyone out there is interested, I will try to keep you informed on the journey of this very unusual pony's plight aptly named Spirit:
Spirit's owner Jessica, knew she had to try another angle to help the poor pony and found herself strangely drawn to my website. She managed to call my number at one of the odd times I was able to answer and after a brief conversation we had arranged for me to visit Spirit at his home the following day.
This strange little chap had been accused by others of being 'horrid, vicious, snappy, ungrateful and very naughty' but for some reason Jessica had fallen in love with him, she could see there was more to him than first appeared.
As I tell all my horsey clients, 'I am not horse wise but I do know my healing so please keep a close eye on both me and the horse to let me know if I need to move quickly.' More so in this case than in others!
I made my way across the gravel drive towards the small collection of stables to see Jessica talking to a ginger and white pony over his stable door. When I drew closer to greet Jessica the pony started to twitch his top lip up and down making a popping sound, this continued for several minutes and gave the impression he was trying to talk to us!
Jessica explained how she took the pony on six years ago when it was emancipated and in such a depressive state. Despite his lack of energy at that time he still managed to bite, kick and be a thoroughly aggressive character but she was determined to make his life better. He had come a long way in six years only biting her now and then! He had put weight on and made friends with Jessica's other two horses on the yard and in the field. Spirit had bonded so much with the very old and large horse Banker, that Banker frets when Spirit is out of sight. Last year Jessica started to trot him out with another horse and rider, nothing strenuous just to get him used to it, she found Spirit had a few tricks up his sleeve.
If he did not want to do something he would elegantly raise on his back legs with ease, something apparently horses normally struggle to do except with fright. If he wanted attention he would beg by raising his front leg as high as his shoulder then scraping the ground with his foot until he got it. He had strange habits of turning his head at peculiar angles and twisting his body around in a small space, the top lip was almost a constant twitch. All un-horse-like behaviours that, although amusing to watch, rather worrying.
Jessica called these traits 'tricks' and I was starting to think she was right.
If Jessica started to ride Spirit to the near-by arena for a little exercise and Spirit was not up for it he would walk nicely up the path as Jessica smiled at anyone passing, telling them how well behaved he was being, only to get to the end of the path and be taken back the way they had come from ... in reverse! Nothing Jessica could do would stop Spirit re-tracing his steps walking backwards all the way. Eventually Jessica gave up trying and shrugged her shoulders at the same people she had passed going forwards and they would end up back at the stable door.
After a short while of hacking Spirit out he started to go lame on the front right leg, over the last year or so he has been lame on and off and afflicted with laminitis (where the pedal bone in the foot drops often due to over rich food / grass). It was both this problem and because Spirit's general progress had hit a plateau, that Jessica had called me in.
We walked Spirit out of his box and kept him occupied at the front end with carrots and Jessica's strong arms as I placed my hands on his back. I knew I had to work fast as the carrots would not last forever so with a huge surge of energy I connected with this unusual soul: first impressions told me he had been treated strictly in his life before Jessica, and I felt rather harshly too but I did not want to venture down that path with him, lest it brought back unpleasant memories. The important impression to put across to Spirit at this time was security, stability and above all love. I dared to run my hands up his neck stetting about conveying energies of safety in his environment and kindness from everyone, especially Jessica. Spirit let out a healthy heaving breath of contentment, forgetting himself for a moment which made me smile and lose my concentration, in that split second he regained his defencive composure and tried to nip at me. That was all he was going to let me do for the day, this was going to take a few visits!
My second visit found Spirit looking a little brighter in himself, though still chatting with his upper lip and trying to bite me if I came within reach of the stable. Jessica had noticed a slight change in him too.
I asked Jessica if she knew anything about his past, all she could tell me was that he came from Hungary and was just that ... starving in fact, you could see every rib. After feeding him up to a good size she managed to gain his trust but he still did his tricks, even more so if he had an audience. We decided he must have been a circus pony, everything fitted, even down to the trick of removing his coat with his teeth as soon as it went on.
His second healing session went a bit better, he knew what I was going to do and I knew what he would try to do to me. We danced around a little all-be-it slowly due to his poorly legs but I managed to get more healing into him and find more out about him: Spirit had been so harshly trained he could not come out of the mind-set that if he did not do his performance and do it well he would be punished. If anyone approached him he would chatter with his top lip popping, he would do whatever he could to make them laugh and often they did, if only they knew what he had been through and the stress he still put himself under to perform.
I endeavoured to re-assure Spirit he would not be punished and would not be moved on to another yard if he did not perform. After confirming with Jessica, I promised Spirit he was there to stay regardless. I think he heard me but he was not convinced....yet!
Visit three found Spirit looking brighter and strangely taller, I even had to ask if it was Spirit as he looked so different. Jessica was pleased I commented as she thought it was her wishful thinking that saw him so well.
He was eager to go to the field so the healing, once again, needed to be swift, though he responded so well the field became a distant thought to him. We connected much quicker this time and as I was giving him, safe, happy and stable (excuse the pun) thoughts he drifted into a calm little world of his own: His eyes half closed and he gave several contented sighs, Jessica was smiling and trying to be quiet so as not to wake him from his dreams. I slowly ran my hands along his back, up to his neck not daring to miss a beat of concentration. We had Spirit still and calm, I needed to make the most of it whilst it lasted: thoughts ran through my head of being with this loving family for ever, of his past, horrid life as gone, a distant memory that would not return. I could feel his whole being breathing out the tension and his muscles soften as he started to believe me. Calmly, I promised I was not going to hurt him and asked permission to run my hands down his front legs, he did not seem to mind so I gently ran my hands down his right one, stopping at his knee. The healing was strong, I continued to his foot then back up and across to the other leg, stretching in front of him, not daring to disturb the calm with too much movement whilst keeping a watchful eye on his teeth!
As the healing session came to an end he heaved another sigh, slowly bringing his thoughts back to the surroundings and to the beckoning field, he walked off in a relaxed contented bubble all of his own.
The Farrier was due!! Poor Spirit always got himself into a state when John the farrier was due. John is a lovely old hand with horses and one of the few people that actually likes Spirit even though they end up dancing around the yard: going backwards, sideways, on Spirits back legs with his front ones out stretched to the front. Strangely, one thing Spirit rarely does with John is bite him. Spirit struggles to put weight onto his right front leg, making it very uncomfortable to lift the left front leg for the Farrier but it has to be done, now more than ever as he has no shoes due to the laminitis.
Jessica asked me to do some magic on Spirit just before John arrived: the healing went well and Spirit was quite relaxed, though the natural calming remedies also helped. I re-affirmed to him how he was staying in the family unit and that his old life had gone forever. Now that Spirit was starting to believe me I could feel an air of mischief rising to the surface in him. His tricks before were done from duty, he thought if he continued to do them, as he was forced to in his past life, then his owner would be pleased and he could stay a little longer. Now understanding he was staying regardless of the tricks he might have a bit of fun instead.
I have never really watched a Farrier in action and I must say: what hard work! They need to be fit, fast and one step ahead, I take my hat off to them. Spirit was first on the blocks. He was a bit calmer but still unhappy about it all. Once John had finished with him we all stood back to watch Spirit walk tentatively across the short piece of concrete before meandering up the field on the nice soft grass. Both John and Jessica commented on how much better he was walking
Next up was Banker, the giant puppy of a horse. Nothing could have been more contrasting as Banker responded to every one of John's requests to lift and stand. So confident was John of Banker's respectful nature that he was practically standing beneath Banker to do his work.
Before I left I told Jessica that Spirit may start to get a little cheeky.
Spirit was now doing really well, his temperament had changed: he was soft, mischievous, bright eyed and stood so much taller. He had indeed taken on board the things I told him and understood how nice everyone was being to him. life was and will be different to his horrible past, he can be a pony now. I don't think he will ever stop his tricks, that will always be part of him but his frantic lip chatter has calmed down immensely. All that is left to do is sort out his poorly front feet and legs: Today he let me stand with him whilst I ran my hands over his back and down to his front right leg. My conscious mind automatically turned to wear and tear or arthritis so when I had bizarre pictures in my head as I held his knee I found myself doubting them. I shook them free from my head and started again with the healing: the same dreadful images were there again. My heart sank, just when I thought poor Spirit was getting over his past it was rearing it's ugly head once more, physically this time.
Jessica could see I was upset and could sense that I did not want to talk about it in front of Spirit, I know he is Hungarian and would not understand my words but he would understand my feelings and thoughts which in turn would bring back bad memories of his own. The image and pain I could sense was of Spirit's leg tied harshly in a bent position with wire whilst being pushed to the floor. This was not a one off cruelty, it was a regular occurrence until Spirit learnt the trick.
On the physical side, I could feel that his knee was out of it's intended position, after so many years it had set differently, all of the muscles had been holding it there. If Spirit was to walk normally I would have to give his knee healing to move the joint back which would upset the muscles and create more pain for a few weeks whilst it re-aligned. I explained my theory to Jessica and she decided it had to be done.
There was no noise, no complaint from Spirit, no clunk or bang from within the knee but I knew the healing had done the job. Spirit would have to work the muscles and tendons himself to help the change.
Once we were away from his stable and having a cup of coffee I asked Jessica if he could have had his leg tied and why. She explained that it would have been a practise to make him bow. This now explains why his left leg was always stiff and straight and his right leg could not take his weight.
Time would tell if it worked or not.
A few days after the knee episode I rang Jessica to find out how Spirit was doing: Not so good. He was barely hobbling, often lying down and really did not want to come out of his stable. Although I knew it was going to be bad I could not help but doubt myself, should I have done it? What if it does not right itself like I said? After putting myself through the ringer I came to the confident decision that Spirit would make it work and when it does come right he will be better than he ever has at Jessica's. Jessica said she always had trust in me and believed he would come round but struggled to watch him hobble. I went to see the little soldier and was happy to see the knee was not swollen and Spirit on his feet, all-be-it wobbly. I ran my healing hands down his leg and was convinced it was the muscles and tendons re-aligning themselves to support the newly placed knee..... 'Two weeks should see him right' I said to Jessica. He is having pain relief and homeopathy to help the muscles and tendons and we both agree that he still looks well in himself.
Jessica has been updating me on Spirit's progress, he has been out of his stable, hobbling across the concrete then much more comfortable when he hits the soft grass of the field, still lying down at times but a definite improvement.
Jessica has been opening the stable door for Spirit to decide whether he wants to venture out each day and mostly he has been walking gingerly to the field. At first he was soon asking to come back to the comfort of his stable within a short time of being there but as the days roll on he is out more and walking further up the field to be with his pal Banker. He has not been off his food and I am pleased to say the knee is still not swollen. It is obviously giving him discomfort but he is doing his best to ignore it.
Spirit loves attention and has to be first in line for any remedies or massage going on the yard: Over the last few months he has allowed Jessica to massage his neck each morning before his stroll, pulling the most contorted face you have seen whilst sighing with delight (Spirit that is...not Jessica!) If Jessica dare forget to do it he soon lets her know. He is also much nicer to her when she grooms him, verging on enjoyment even!
Each time I visit the yard, wow betide me if I dare speak to the other horses before Spirit, even though I have an imaginary line I stand behind at his stable door: just out of reach of his teeth!
When Spirit first came to the yard he would bounce out of his stable kicking and bucking but has not done so for several years: yesterday he forgot himself for a moment and went to bounce then stopped just in time before he regretted it; could this be a sign that the old Spirit is returning I wonder.
Today Spirit walked carefully from his stable across the concrete, Jessica could see he was heading for the field and nipped into the food store to fetch a few carrots whilst Spirit was thinking about moving, on her return he was nowhere to be seen, 'could he have had a miraculous recovery and trotted to the field' Jessica thought as she rounded the corner, to see only her other horse, Blacky out there. On walking back to the yard she glanced at big Banker in his stable, he had a strange mystified look on his face, on closer inspection Jessica could see the two little white socks of Spirit peeping out from behind Banker's body. The rascal had ducked under Banker's chain across his door and had his head deep into the food bowl!
Titan's Tale, a true short story from Helen The Healer