Case Study – Garth

I seldom go out to a horse with many preconceptions but have to admit that I went to Garth with a degree of trepidation. He came with a fearsome reputation for putting people in hospital and I did not relish becoming his next casualty. He had put his owner in A & E 4 times and several others too. Consequently he was in DIY livery with only the owner taking care of him. Although he had improved over the period of the 12 months that she had owned him, it was clear that he still had a long way to go.

Garth had been purchased from a dealer as a 6-year-old. He is a 17hh handsome bay gelding. The owner had been new to this country at the time and was finding her feet. It was very quickly obvious when she got him home that he had been drugged when she had first looked at him, in fact he was in such a bad way that the Vet's advice had been to put him down. She clearly had a claim against the dealer but "did not want to make a fuss", not being fully aware of her rights. Lucky Dealer! She decided to persevere with Garth and little by little he came round.

To begin with, when I arrived, we chatted about Garth's general behaviour. A very curious paradox became clear that although he was aggressive towards people, in the field he was the doormat, to the point where he had to be turned out alone, not because he would attack other horses but because they beat up him. The interesting thing is that most aggressive behaviour in animals is borne out of fear and not malice. From what little the owner knew of his history it seems quite likely that as a youngster he showed a lot of promise. He appears to have been worked hard and because of this and his potential monetary value was not allowed out to "play". Horses are herd animals and learning equine etiquette and other social skill is a vital part of their upbringing if you want a balanced and mentally stable adult horse. The sad conclusion also has to be that at some point Garth experienced treatment from a person that made him extremely fearful of human contact. Whoever had placed such great value on him had actually ruined their investment through ignorant management.

When I began to treat him, he found it very hard to let go and completely relax, his over-riding fear of people making sure he kept alert………just in case. After some time he gradually began to allow his head to drop for just a few moments at a time but it was just enough for the Reiki to do it's work and unlock some of the old energy patterns of low self-esteem, sadness and fear. When these fear patterns are present the horse will react to a stimulus as a reflex action, whether or not the danger is real. Reiki helps to break these down and give us the chance to "re-program" so that the reflex "reaction" is no longer triggered.

The treatment lasted for approximately an hour during which time Garth worked hard. The heart and throat Chakras both exchanged a lot of energy. This is all about communication and the way in which he responds to the world. I told the owner to expect a cleansing period over the following few days as Garth's body cleared of toxins and old energy.

We also talked about Garth's future management, I recommend that Pirelli would be good for both of them. It trains people to effectively talk "horse" and builds a strong relationship of trust. It will help the owner feel more in control and Garth feel more secure, something which he requires by the bucket load.

Garth has started on the road to recovery, it would be silly to suggest that problems as great as his can be overcome in a single treatment but he appears to have made significant progress.

Here's what his owner had to say a fortnight later.

Hi Alison.
I must admit his behaviour seems to have changed for the better recently.
One thing is for sure, he is certainly asserting himself more when turned out in the field. He finally seems to be standing up for himself, which I am really pleased to see.
He has also been less fearful when being approached either when tied up or when in his stable, and has his ears prick forward a lot more.
He just seems a lot happier in himself.
I'm really trying to get him fully sorted. We have finally found some proper glue-on shoes, which seem to be very suitable for him. He was unusually well behaved for the farrier this time.
I had the saddle fitter out to ensure his saddle didn't pressure his back.
So hopefully we will get a happy horse soon.
He's also less nappy when being worked.
He did indeed clean himself the first days after your visit, as he passed a lot water the first week.

Many thanks again.

This article is kindly provided by Alison Hastie MGCP. MAR. PCR. TATh.
For further information please click here to visit Alison at Sandford Therapies.
Alison will be very happy to answer any questions you may have

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Updated: October 2005.