reflections
April 13th, 2012 If Life Came With a Remote Control

Pause…my favorite command because it gives us the room to expand. If life came with a remote control this would be my favorite button.
The other day Kirk and I completed the end of a long day with a visit to a family whose love for a huge horse has brought them through the past seven years of their lives with more questions than answers. At least, that is what they thought.
Kirk first trimmed the big guy about a month ago and as he put it, “we were mildly successful.”
Kirk made headway as he always does because he is infinitely patient and told the owners they may want to consult me to find out what is ailing the horse.
He has improved in the seven years they’ve owned him but he is still unpredictable and explosively mistrusting. That’s a hard one on a 2500 lb horse!
We entered the barn and Mr. Draft exploded out of the doors of the stall. I noticed that ALL of the barn doors stood wide open. His explosive nature was probably the reason why I mused.
Kirk entered the stall and the big horse grew bigger, his neck arching and his nostrils flared.
“Stop!” I commanded.
“Turn around immediately.” I said.
Kirk had passed the horses tolerance threshold.
The horse wasn’t mean or aggressive, but he was defensive and he conveyed to me immediately that HE was not going to be judged for his shortcomings.
I immediately received a picture of him as a youngster, smaller than all the rest, and a line up of men in uniforms looking the herd of youngsters over, commenting on his faults.
His owners shared with me the horse had come from the Amish.
The serious about draft horse people have standards and this wasn’t the first time I’d met a draft gelding with a chip on its shoulder because people never seemed to appreciate them for just what they are.
“He’s not big enough.”
“He’s not flashy enough.”
“He has no mass.”
These are all criticisms that the horse had learned to hear.
I will repeat that.
These are all criticisms that the horse had learned to hear.
Like humans, horses are subject to definition. Tell a human they are substandard long enough and they will believe they are substandard.
Men had guaged this horse and Kirk was a man.
I instructed Kirk to back away and to stand facing away to the wall. The horse softened and then blew. He arched his neck out and gently touched Kirk on the back. It took a few minutes but the communication had been made.
Kirk had paused.
The horse responded.
Over the course of our visit we learned that the big horse had indeed had a past sketched with disappointment. He had been sold by the Amish, a driving horse with flighty tendencies.
He flunked out of one home after the other until this one had decided to give him a chance.
I took over working with him as he opened up to me about his childhood and how he had been made to believe he wasn’t worthy of an opinion because of his lack of stature and presence in comparison to his peers.
This had gently eroded his confidence until he had no choice but to put his decisions together alone, in solitude and safety.
He had a tremendous amount of stress around his head and neck and he shared with me that because Amish choose only large work horses as their favorites that he had been worked tirelessly with ill fitting equipment. They knew he was to be sold sooner or later so very little time was spent on his actual comfort during training.
When it came time to trim his hooves though he gladly presented them.
A young Amish boy he said had been apprenticed to work as a farrier and the young boy had taken pride in training a second rate horse into a first rate farrier’s dream.
I laughed out loud because he was so communicative and even covered the issues of human relationships and his anxiety over being sold again.
Yes, the people had discussed this. He had been bought by the people for their daughter and she was going to college and could not take him with her.
They had another horse she played with regularly.
Mr. Draft knew nothing of the games and found them entirely too stimulating to relate to so he’d remained on the sidelines, content in his solitude.
Next, in a spew of images, he pointed out that need for communication for the girls Mother loved him and actually had bonded deeply with him. she wasn’t a horse person and doubted her abilities.
Further, there were communication issues that she had experienced with other loved ones and certainly owning a horse she had no business having woudl complicate that, wouldn’t it?
The horse shared some private family information and in several minutes had unraveled a mystery and prompted a conversation that led to some very lively discussion about not only his future but the future of the family as well!
It was fascinating to convey the messages from a horse nobody had understood in such a way that he made EVERYBODY understand!
Truly amazing and one of the most profound readings I’ve ever had.
His manner was so gentle, yet so wise and it was without any restriction that I began to work on him and even move quickly, trimming then rasping his hooves, he stood rock solid, something they said he never did!
I could only think that he did so because he had a bridge of communication allowing him to share the reasons he had hid in his shell. Sometimes this happens. Horses completely closed from human contact will go to great lengths to shield themselves, then in an instant, become soft and pliable, punctuating their gentle compliances with soft eyes and relaxed muscles.
Mr. Draft certainly did and it caught everyone’s attention. His quiet behavior was uncharacteristic. And finally, his actions were understood. Understood as a beacon we should never be prejudiced and more, gentle in our love so as to open the spirit and give one reason to trust.