Posts Tagged With: healing

Healthy “Neglect”

That was something my Mum used to talk about a lot… She watched people over water their house plants, over water gardens, over feed pets and buy everything their children wanted. She always let me know I would have everything that I needed. She would support my dreams. But, she would not submit to whining, begging or tantrums when I felt “deprived”.

Now, neglecting any being’s basic needs or health requirements is criminal. Caving in on whims or trying to win over someone else with bribery and indulgence is just poor judgement. These things end up biting us back in the bum because there will never be an end to the demands!

Our own minds and emotions can lead us astray… I’ve done it. When a starved horse arrives, the temptation is to just pour out delicious food and comfort them (and ourselves) with abundance. We all know that’s wrong. To swing the pendulum to the opposite side is equally detrimental to health, especially for horses. But, I have watched health and “flesh” return over the proper months’ time and just not quite backed off early enough… ending up with a chubby equine.

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Now, that’s not dangerous in our barn because we feed only hays and pelleted hay. For a horse getting hard feeds, the consequences can be debilitating. The middle way best serves the equine metabolism!

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Hooves of horses are another realm where “less is more” when it comes to manipulation. The unshod hoof has the best potential for long-term health while an injured or badly wearing hoof could best be served by applying boots or shoes. The problem for horses is when “how the hoof looks” becomes a priority over how the horse feels. If it takes 2 or 3 weeks for the horse to recover from a hoof trimming, something’s not right! If all hooves are shaped to a static and singular standard, something is very wrong. I have always found that leaving the hooves to find their own best shape over a 3 to 4 week period can often change much for the better.

All things with horses are best changed or rearranged over a gradual, calculated period of time. That “healthy neglect” factor can temper intentions and emotions with the common sense of  actual well-being. Horses like to get dirty. They like to interact with each other. They like to be horses.

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I remember showing my Morgan and Arabian geldings Saddle Seat as a youngster. I knew a girl whose grooming of her mare was so important that she used “Nair” hair removal creme on her horse’s inner ears. She trimmed “split ends” on her main with a special razor… she shaved the mare’s muzzle and saved rain water to rinse away sweat (I’m not kidding!).

That mare lived in a box stall. She was beautiful, I’ll admit it. She was not happy, that was easy to perceive by all of us except for her owner/rider.

I want our horses to be happy as well as healthy and calm. I want the same things for them that I want for myself. We will never neglect a horse at Dharmahorse! We also will pause for thought in any situation where extremes are suggested, recommended or required. A little bit of restraint can be the difference between long-term damage and slowly correcting a situation. Patience is easy here.

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Water Therapies: H2 Ohhhh

 
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Flowing water moves Lymph and stimulates circulation of Chi (Qi or Ki), the energy that moves through the Meridians of the body. These meridians are channels where the acupoints are found (for acupressure and acupuncture).

A cold, moving sheet of water over the body has another profound effect when the water is stopped and the area is wrapped properly or a light blanket used.

The circulation of blood increases and great warmth is produced.

This effectively creates lymph drainage where the capillaries ooze serum through their walls. This lymph nourishes tissues and takes up worn out materials and toxins which then are separated out by the glands to be excreted.

In hot weather, an overheated horse should be covered with tepid water that is then immediately scraped off to pull that body heat out and away. The senior horse needs to warm up slowly and cool down slowly when exercised, with gentle aftercare as needed.

Hoof soaking is a traditional way of treating disease and injury. Dissolving Epsom salts into very hot water will make a soaking bath to draw out abscesses, imbedded objects and pain. Use two cups of Epsom salts to each gallon of hot water. Test until you can just hold your hand in the water, then soak the hoof by placing it into a tub of the hot salt bath. Linger until the water has cooled, then immediately dry and wrap the hoof with cotton and a bandage; placing duct tape across the bottom of the hoof for support.

Essential oil of tea tree can be added to the soaking bath (one teaspoon per gallon) if there is fungus present.

Essential oil of lavender (up to 2 tablespoons per gallon) will help fight infection and pain. It is also very calming for the horse’s mental body and soothing to inflamed tissue. Lavender oil is indicated whenever there have been external parasites irritating the skin.

After soaking, the skin can be rubbed with half olive oil, half sesame oil to prevent chapping.

Fomentations are large towels soaked in hot water; often with the addition of herbal infusions for specific treatments.

It is the penetrating heat from the wet towel that causes extra circulation. This movement of blood helps to carry away the fluids of edema, toxins within tissues from injury or disease and relaxes the muscle fibers.

Boil water and keep it in an insulated container to maintain the heat. Because you will wring out the soaked towel with your hands, scalding of the horse is prevented (you can tell how hot it is by your touch – be cautious, for your sake, too).

You can add Epsom salts for drawing properties and the magnesium in them relaxes muscles.

Calming and healing herbs can be added as the water is boiled, then strained out before the water is used.

Soak the towel in the liquid, wring out to just wet, not dripping. Apply to the horse’s body where needed (especially for chronic, old injuries and deep soreness – acute conditions respond to cold). As the towel cools, soak it again and repeat until the water is no longer hot.

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Courage Willow

That’s what I often think, while remembering the scene in the movie, “Willow”. He is a tiny being standing before a frightening situation. He whispers to himself, “Courage, Willow”.

Life as a horse trainer and instructor requires courage. Life as anything these days requires courage! I think perhaps it always has.

Courage for me, as a stablewoman, means taking on another horse for our stable when needed….  it takes courage to decide to be responsible for one more. I think it’s because I take these responsibilities seriously. Horses are my family and each family member is not a possession, but a friend. It takes courage to have so many friends!

 

I see courage all around me. I had a student who had suffered a severe head injury in a car accident (and had been in a coma). She used her riding to regain motor skills and balance. She would call herself “wimp”, “chicken” and so on. I thought she was the bravest woman I knew. I know a man who broke his hip and was up, back to work in weeks and facing limited funds with an animal family to care for. He found a beautiful place to live where he could keep his horses and dogs and, by staying courageous, created a new, happy life.

 

I know a man who cares for a large herd of horses and runs an organization almost single handed. He has had a shattered ankle, broken hip (and replacement), a heart attack, had a branch embedded into his eye, the list is long of his “battles” and yet, he is still the strongest man I know. I can’t keep up with him loading hay! Courage is his mantra, I believe.

And I watch friends who rise every day to care for an elderly parent or an infirm child or who go to school while holding down a job (or two!). They practice great courage daily.

I dig the post holes for railroad ties for the fence to hold a new horse that is coming and soak in epsom salt baths each night. I remember looking at my shriveled arm as a child, after a devastating injury, and proclaiming that I would still ride. “Courage, Willow.”

 

We cannot presume to judge the courage of another. It may take more of it for someone to drive at night or to climb a ladder than it does for others to ride a bull. We are all facing different battles, different paths. But we all know what courage is! We all conjure it up on a daily basis and we need to pat ourselves on the back every time we take a deep breath and push onward.

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Managing Pain

The obvious fact that makes the management of pain in an animal so difficult is the inability of the animal to actually tell us in words what is happening. We can certainly speculate with injuries and illness and know that a horse is hurting; even likely pinpoint the location of the pain. And having a clear guideline is profoundly helpful.
In cases where we do not have clarity or certainty, we can observe the horse for “pain indicators”. These include, but are not limited to, increased heart rate, rapid respiration, sweating and shaking. A horse in pain might drop to the ground and roll violently or press himself against walls or fences. He might throw his head about or kick out in anguish. It is important for us to stay safe and alert when evaluating and treating horses that hurt.
A Veterinary exam can rule out some causes of symptoms and pinpoint areas of trauma or imbalance. Medications that suppress the symptoms are necessary, but equally important is discovery of the cause of those symptoms. Relief is realized by addressing the actual cause of pain after that pain is lessened.
In general: cold is applied to new, acute injuries and heat is applied to old, chronic injuries. In cold weather, application of blankets to the body and deep bedding in a proper pen with shelter will aid in comforting the horse and speed up healing. Leg injuries will usually require some type of support through bandages and/or boots to the leg and the hoof. If a single leg is injured, support of the remaining three legs will aid healing by keeping them from becoming stressed and injured. The horse is walking on “digits” – each leg is the equivalent of one of our fingers, so extra loading of uninjured parts can escalate to increasing injuries and pain.
Internal pain can be the result of digestive disturbances, even ulcers. A Veterinarian can properly assess the horse’s condition and supply the medications that relieve immediate suffering. The reasons for internal distress can be determined and any future reoccurrences prevented with proper diet, abundant water, an anti-parasite program and a stress free environment.
Inflammation can be a common cause of pain and anti-inflammatory drugs help short term in the beginning. Herbs that can prevent inflammation over long term use (ingested) are: white willow bark, celery seed, turmeric root, meadowsweet, yucca root, boswellia and devil’s claw. Herbs for external use as infusions are: arnica, comfery, peppermint and rosemary. Essential oils for pain are peppermint, lavender and anise seed. Do not use any drug or herb on pregnant or lactating mares without professional guidance.
Pain in a horse’s hoof can often be caused by bruising which can lead to abscesses that can be excruciating! Soaking the hoof in very warm epsom salt water for 30 minutes 3 times daily will draw out pain and abscesses. If you suspect a horse’s hoof sole has been bruised on a ride, dose him with homeopathic arnica or belles remedies as soon as possible. This can prevent or reduce the bruising.
Pain can be like a ghost that appears and disappears in a horse’s life. Tracking it down, identifying causes and choosing treatments can be challenging but rewarding. In the end, we must always see the horse as a whole and support the body’s good health at all times.

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Healing Spaces

So, when my Mother was hospitalized a couple of years ago, I stayed 4 days and nights with her there. She came to my home afterwards and lived for six months in my bedroom. My brother had cable TV installed so she could watch shows and we could play the soothing “Soundscapes” all night. I slept on a futon in the livingroom, listening for any sound from her so I could help her to the chair potty by the bed or hold her glass of water so she could drink from the straw. I cooked the most healthy meals; gave her the meds and, for the first few days, injected blood thinners into her tummy.

After the six months, with my friend Jer’s incredible help, we scraped a foundation, built water run off berms, laid water lines and put in a mobile home so my Mom and Brother could move in on my property. With a good diet, Co-enzyme Q10, hawthorn berry, krill oil, B12 and many natural healers – my Mom’s heart was much improved (the cardiologist’s words) and last month, her prescriptions were reduced and one eliminated. Lots of healing happened and still is happening.

I now return to my office after checking in that same bedroom, my little 21 year old dog, Basil. She spends most of her time in that healing space because, if she slips on any tile floors, she can get stuck. I carry her down the (now padded) back step to the dog’s yard and usually catch her before she comes back inside – but she can get up the step just fine most days.

There are many crystals in that bedroom. There is a Himalayan crystal salt lamp, a blue light for calming and a green light for healing (my Mom has her own salt lamp and green light now in her bedroom across the yard in her home). I open the window for fresh air whenever it is warm enough and fill the room with Reiki. A white Tara thanka hangs above the bed.

Basil has a soft, fuzzy saddle pad (they are thin and easy for her to step onto) in the bedroom and livingroom for her beds.

I write about this tonight because I sleep in my bedroom now… again. With my small dogs, I delight in the feel of the room. When Basil needs me, I hear her immediately and can get her outside or offer her water… I love that bedroom. I love this life.

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Harmony by Design

LIFE-WAVE INTEGRATION:

The way we see life is in a proactive, balanced way for the embodiments of all beings. We each have a physical, emotional, mental and spirit body. I am constantly being asked how one determines which natural healing method to use. In seminars, I teach the principle of “Life-Wave Integration”: using specific modalities for the specific embodiments.

Using Nutrients and Herbs for the Physical Body; Flower Essences for the Emotional Body; Essential Oils for the Mental Body and Crystals for the Spirit – we can support good health and address disorders from their root causes.

An example of alignment with an embodiment is sleep – if you cannot sleep because of pain, your physical body is in need of balancing. If you cannot sleep because of fears or anger, etc., your emotional body needs support. If you cannot sleep because thoughts just overwhelm you, your mental body seeks healing. If you sleep well but never feel rested, the spirit body needs support.

Bring the Balance Back!

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THE WELL OF EXPERIENCES:

Every being has accumulated experiences that “fill a well” and determine what he or she will expect in new situations. If the majority of “drops in the well” have been negative, he will expect negative things. If they have been positive “drops”/experiences, he will expect positive things. We can even overfill a well of negative experiences with enough positive experiences to eventually overcome the negative – and, sadly, the opposite is also true.

The “training” of a horse or dog (or spouse!) that conditions responses, cultivates trust or fear and allows progress or regression is solely determined by the types of “drops of experiences” that are added to the “well”.

Click here for unlimited information on healing and balancing with Nature.

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Blame it on that moon!

My assistant instructor, some students, some parents and my brother all felt very funky today. It was a strange morning, all about finding care and loving kindness for each other. I remember a situation in my past where a leader was often quite upset if infirm interns or staff would come to a meeting. She felt vulnerable and I understand that. No one wants to get sick!

An industry has grown up around that concept. From over the counter drugs to vaccinations to prescriptions of potentially deadly compounds – feeding the fears of citizens has become big, BIG business in my country.

I spend a good chunk of my time making our own medicines through “phytotherapy” – healing with plants.

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I have a friend who also runs her own stable. She used to say that she could not afford insurance and she could not afford to be “out of commission” with any type of illness or injury… so she just plain stayed healthy. I use several modes of prevention when faced with dis-ease around me. I carry a little piece of Osha root in my mouth when I’m around large groups. Osha is anti-viral and keeps me from “catching” anything (it can cause a miscarriage, so is not for pregnant persons!). If I feel a sniffle or sinus rawness, I start taking oregano oil caplets and they do the trick in a matter of hours. I also “snort” colloidal silver into my sinuses, use the silver as eye wash, as gargle and will drink small amounts. I rinse my hands with it when I go to prepare my Mother’s meals.

When an intern would get a cold or flu, I would make elderberry syrup for them to sip on all day and the malady resolved itself within 24 hours. There are so many ways to boost our immune systems and to eliminate pathogens that are simply not based upon attacking symptoms. Symptoms are messengers. They alert us to what needs support and cleansing.

So, my brother had a long soak in a warm epsom salt bath. My instructor used the holy basil hydrosol. A student’s Mom took oregano oil and another mother went to get the oil for her daughter. I will be cooking elderberry syrup tomorrow and starting another batch of colloidal silver. We all find our own systems; our own paths to health. There are essentially 3 ways we can look at healing:

  • The Scientific Tradition uses chemistry to alleviate symptoms.
  • The Heroic Tradition uses herbs in a similar way to address the disorder according to the herbal effects.
  • The Wisdom Way nourishes the body to support its own innate healing.

There are times and places for all of these methods, but if we use Wisdom and support our own defenses while nourishing our bodies and the bodies of our animals, the other traditions are not needed very often.

Today I saw people I care about suffering in varying degrees. To me, the important thing was to share what I do know and what I have to help them, if possible. We all decided that huge full moon with her eclipse is partly responsible for some wonky-ness we are all feeling! It also reminds me to eat better, to stay healthier and to “stand porter at the door of thoughts”, keeping the mind numbing assault of dis-ease rhetoric at bay. It is no small task!

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The In Between Places

I was watching the sun light fade and night fall around us in the stable yard tonight… thinking about those “in between” times and spaces and ideas. Instead of just being black or white, the gray areas of dusk and dawn; of the beach between the hills and the sea; of life and what we call death. All of these are not just transitions, but places in their own right with a reality to be experienced, certainly, if not savored.

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I also see the value of the dynamic approaches of horsemanship styles. And the multiple ways in which good health is preserved by natural methods. Those in between places serve to blend ideas and make useful all manner of things we might miss with a rigid mind-set. I love using Australian saddles for my riding lessons and I tell students that they are like a combination between western and english styles.

My Mother used to say she put sugar in her tea to make it sweet and lemon to make it sour, but the combination was better than either. The in between places are of blending and easing from one thing to another. The in between places are where we can linger, experiencing that gentle shift.

From this life to the next life is an in between place where I think elderly beings visit and sometimes linger when deep in sleep or daydreaming. Spring eases us into summer; autumn eases us into winter.

If we are going to climb to 14,000 feet, we linger at 8,000, then 10,000 feet, making an in between place to adjust to the altitude.

So, I wonder why we would expect such immediate, total obedience from an animal, a person or ourselves when faced with a change or a task? Depending upon the degree of the shift and how much change is required, there needs to be an in between place where the transition can flow with grace. When that cannot happen and a sudden or violent shift occurs, it is shocking and that shock will need to be addressed one way or another later on.

Being decisive is powerful. Being decisive is clear and planned and directed. It can be immediate in its application from the space of transitioning, but cannot act like the cracking end of a whip that then ricochets aimlessly. The in between place holds the form of the concept, decision or path and allows its unfolding without interruption or distortion. It may only hold it for a moment or it may hold the form for years.

My Mother likes limes and mint in her tea now. I ride and school horses in bitless bridles. We leave giant Yuccas in our turn out (that also serves as an arena) because we like Yuccas (and riding a circle around a giant “cactus” will sure keep a rider from leaning inward!) and the area becomes a kind of transition place between the round pen and riding out on the trail. An in between place…

We kind of “ride between worlds” at Dharmahorse –  taking what we find the best from many styles and methodologies in horsemanship and in healing. And we help horses and people shift gently from place to place; idea to idea. The world is full of possibilities.

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