Guest post by Katy S:
Last year my lifelong dream of owning a horse came true with the purchase of a nine year old quarter horse appendix gelding. However, the excitement of buying Brewer was quickly overshadowed by a constant sense of worry that I couldn’t seem to shake. Four months after I bought him, he began to display symptoms of sleep deprivation and two months after that, he was diagnosed with stomach ulcers. My concern turned from nagging to downright nuts.
After discussing his situation with several vets and fellow horse owners (and many Google searches), we tested a few small changes to his environment with the hope that we could reduce his stress and make him feel comfortable enough to sleep – a new turnout buddy, different stall, more bedding. We did notice some improvements but progress was slow, and I was anxious to find a solution.
That’s when I remembered a scene from a book I read a few years ago, in which a woman consults an animal communicator to find our why her beloved racehorse wasn’t winning. And like the crazy first time horse owner I am, I decided to give it a try.
I found Michelle in the way I imagine everyone selects a translator to speak to their horse – Yelp. Although I may not appear it, I am in fact a bit of a skeptic, so throughout our initial correspondence, I was determined not to disclose anything that could hint toward Brewer’s background or situation. Before our session, she encouraged me to think about questions I’d like to ask Brewer and explained that he would respond to her with words, symbols or physical feelings that she would then share with me.
She arrived at the barn a week later, let me know that she would be recording my session, and we stepped into the stall with Brewer.
She spent a few minutes standing next to him while he ate calmly, and then she was ready to begin. My questions were varied, from if he likes what he’s doing (he was training to barrel race when I bought him and is now learning to event) to which horses he liked best. Through Michelle, he responded that he enjoyed the precision of the dressage and jumping work and that he especially liked a young mare who lived on the other side of the barn.
While the answers to my direct questions provided some insight, it was the communication in between the questions that took me from a hopeful skeptic to a hesitant believer. She accurately described that most of his life was spent in a pasture with one other horse, not neglected by his owner but not loved. He was then somewhere else for a short while before arriving here.
She said he described a test we gave when we first looked at him (it was a downed fence post on two buckets to see if he liked to jump). He said it was the first time anyone had asked if he wanted to try something new, instead of just making him do it.
He said he was popular at his new home and had many human friends – ask anyone at my barn, and they would tell you he’s a favorite. I asked about his ulcers, and she said they weren’t bothering him anymore. He fell asleep while being tacked because he didn’t know he shouldn’t.
I was surprised when I had tears in my eyes as I asked him, “Are you happy here?” Despite being skeptical of the process, after wanting a horse for as long as I can remember and loving Brewer more than I ever thought possible, I was terrified to think that he was unhappy and missed his old life.
To my relief, he confirmed that he likes his new life and that although we are still getting to know each other, things were going well. He told her that he was confident in who he was and that he knew he’d be a good first horse for me. Not quite the deep love and appreciation I now can admit I was hoping for, but I’ll take it.
In closing, she asked if he had anything else he’d like to tell me. He responded that he sees I’m concerned about him a lot of the time, and he wanted me to know that I don’t need to worry.
Since our session, I’ve thought a lot about the experience and questioned whether there were subtle hints that led her to accurate speculation or if my horse really did communicate through her. But what I’ve realized is that whether or not it was real, I got what I needed – the reassurance that I can let go of my unnecessary worry and simply enjoy my time with Brewer.
Katy is a PR director, adult amateur eventer and craft beer drinker based in Portland, Oregon. Finally pursuing her lifelong love of horses, she began riding four years ago and purchased her first horse in 2015. Since then, she and Brewer have been learning to event together, and while green and green has caused some black and blue, she wouldn’t trade him for the world.