Emotions, Thoughts, and Your Horse

by Catherine Bird

What we may not realize is that our thoughts and emotions have substance and can affect the people and animals around us. Animals are particularly vulnerable to the whims of human emotion. These emotions and thoughts can take many forms. They can appear as a murky cloud of negativity or they can pass through us like a spark of anger. They are unseen by most people, however, these emotions and thoughts are why you sometimes feel tired or nauseous suddenly without knowing why.

Domesticated animals learn to take on these emotions as one way to be of service to us. These animals used to play a greater service role in our daily lives but since the Industrial Revolution, we rely on them more for our emotional needs.

This is particularly true of horses, and you may find this also applies to your family dog and, in a slightly different way, your cat. A cat's kidney function is different from that of a horse or dog and this gives its 'energy field' a different sort of vibration. Because of this you will find that your cat will respond differently.

Human Will and Its Effects

Man has been forcing his 'will' on horses since they began to co-habit. He first found the horse to be a useful source of food, and after pondering the horse's shape and movement, man realized he could harness the horse to plough his fields and provide transport as well.

Interestingly, when a horse is subjected to strong-willed individuals without much consideration for the horse's natural state, you will find a high incidence of knee problems.

Many horses that are trained in the unnatural racing stable environment, with little or no paddock turnout daily, will tend to suffer from knee problems very early in life. One could argue that racing horses before the growth plates in the knee have fully developed is responsible for this, but if you compare the incidence between a city racehorse area and a country one where horses are given the luxury of paddocks, you will find the knees healthier in the country environments.

The knee is where the horse has a connection back to its ancestor's 'natural self'. If this connection is allowed to stay open and not be restricted by the 'will of man', then the horse can move forward without fear.

There are two very strong cords coming from the knee. They could be compared to a telephone line. One cord attaches back to The Source (God), the other cord goes back energetically along the horse's genetic line to the horse's ancestral natural self.

When a horse is restricted physically or by the strong will of a human, the knee area weakens and the horse's links via these cords begin to detach and the horse cannot feel the connection as easily. This can sometimes overwhelm the horse with a huge feeling of loss.

When a horse has a strong connection with this cording, he feels secure enough to move forward without fear. To ensure your horse maintains a strong healthy connection, work with him; form a partnership. You can still ask your horse to do all the dressage or Western movements on cue or to jump jumps. Just do it in a way where you are asking and he is responding, not where you are demanding and he is resisting.

If you have to stable a horse in a complex such as the one bordering Sydney's Centennial Park or New York's Central Park, please send him out for regular vacations. It is important for your horse to get back to a leafy green environment where he can horse around and play in a paddock. Assist your horse to experience his natural self on a regular basis and where he may re-establish a connection with his ancestors.

The Burden of Emotion

Life can be difficult for anyone. We often refer to someone as carrying the 'woes of the world' on his shoulders. On a subconscious level we often find someone to subrogate our problems when they become 'too much'. We meet up with a friend for coffee and come away feeling great, while our friend will walk away feeling bogged down and needing to rest. These people have kindly taken with them some of the emotional baggage we ourselves were too tired to carry.

Horses, being a service animal, do this readily for their owners, regular riders or the staff at their boarding facilities. Sometimes they willingly do this because we provide the keys to their survival and they need us to function in a healthy way so their feed bill gets paid. Other times they are more sensitive to the flow of energy around them each day and not always able to discriminate and absorb it for the 'good of all', having surrogated these emotions for so long that their 'energy vortices' are overloaded and weak.

There are nine of such vortices that absorb certain emotions; the shoulder vortex is one that is easy to feel and identify. If you place your hand midway between the withers and the base of the neck in the front of the scapula, you have located this vortex. The horse will often develop muscle spasms here to protect this vortex when it becomes overloaded.

This is where horses often load up our emotional baggage - it's a baggage-handling department. Emotions that find their way to this area on the horse are frustration, loneliness, anger and resentment.

Many of us use our horses for 'therapy'. We go for a ride to relieve the day's tensions or to escape our problems for an hour or two. Some of us even use our horses to escape our unhappy home lives.

Now our horses are willing to share our burdens, though they do become confused when they have shouldered these emotions for you and then become the targets of your emotions because they are unable to flex or come through in lateral work because their shoulders are too sore or tight.

One simple way to relieve this burden is to massage your horse's shoulders for him with the intention of lifting these emotions from him at the same time. Try placing a few drops of essential oil on your hands at the time.

Try mandarin for frustration, ylang ylang or geranium for anger, and grapefruit for resentment.

If you are aware of which emotions are yours and can accept them back willingly to heal within yourself, do so. If you are unsure if they are yours or someone else's, you can use your intention and visualize these emotions dissolving from your horse's shoulders and being absorbed or transformed by universal light. I often silently say a simple prayer such as "God help me to help all those involved". This way I have placed no judgment on the origins of the emotion.


Negativity can come in many forms. It can be your own, it can be projected towards you, or it can just be a cloud of negativity you pass through after someone else has been in the vicinity. It may have just been dropped by someone in a depressed mood who recently passed by, or it could have been directed towards you and your horse intentionally, possibly even from a distance. It depends on the density or the strength of intention of the negativity.

The most common projection of negativity is jealousy from someone you know or who knows of you. Fortunately an emotion like this is not in a horse's repertoire of feelings.

You may have been working hard to bring your horse up the levels through dressage and managing to collect a lovely array of colored ribbons. Your horse is beginning to bring you acclaim and people are anxious to 'talk horse' with you when they see you at competitions.

Then your horse starts to go 'off' a tad. You start to place slightly lower than you have been and your horse gets sore in the back. This soreness often develops over the loins.

You think your saddle is poorly fitted, you question your own ability and you begin to doubt your horse.

What your horse is doing is absorbing the negative thoughts and jealousy being directed at you. He is protecting you, even though it is to his own detriment.

The Bach Flower "Star of Bethlehem" will help balance out and clear this energy from around you and your horse. Taking Rescue Remedy, which contains Star of Bethlehem, will give you further protection. It can be taken before, during and after each competition, by both you and your horse.

It will work on two levels - it will protect you from the negative effects of others and it will help you deal with similar emotions you may be harboring within yourself. Once you have dealt with them, you do not have the emotion in your own energy field to attract more of the same like a magnet does.

Be Mindful

Be mindful of gossiping around trailers at events as words and thoughts do have substance.

This article is to show you how we and our horses are multi-dimensional in our way of operating. If your horse is displaying unusual behaviors, look around you and look within yourself.

Sometimes we have our horse scanned, scoped, and otherwise examined for all sorts of possibilities. We jump from trainer to trainer or we move to various facilities looking for an answer to our problems. What we forget is that we are the consistent clue or factor when it comes to affecting our horses and we are also the ones who can help our horses.

Too many horses have been sold or left to laze around as lawn ornaments when an honest look within ourselves may have provided the vital key to the perfect riding combination.

What We Can Do

Become aware; any unusual physical or behavioral problem that doesn't respond to veterinary care or training techniques may have one of the emotions or thoughts discussed here as its origin.

It is no longer acceptable to 'blame' others for any circumstances in our lives. Deal with your issues before your horse has to suffer to draw your attention to them.

Discover the real you, the beautiful and the ugly. Clean up the ugly and begin to enjoy life. God and your horse love you; learn to love and accept yourself.

Be kind to yourself; this life is for questing and discovering. It has many layers and they don't all have to be conquered by 5pm tomorrow.

To help our horses we can become more sensitive to the environment and more observant to our horses' reactions.

There are some simple things we can do to assist our horses. There are many ways to cleanse the area where your horse lives if you feel the stable has become 'bogged down with negativity'. I like to sweep their stalls with a golden 'spiritual ray' which brings with it eternal peace. Essential oils such as frankincense, juniper and eucalyptus are good for cleansing and protection.. Sacred symbols such as the spiral offer protection when you are not with your horse.

Some of the tools I have mentioned were provided to me through a series of courses in Sydney called The Journey that successfully combines the use of energy and metaphysics with kinesiology. However, similar tools can be learned in higher levels of Reiki and other schools of healing throughout the world. If this doesn't appeal, the power of prayer is also effective. I find The Lord's Prayer is the strongest protection and cleanser available.

And don't forget - THANK your horse for the unconditional love and service he has given you.

Catherine Bird
Healthy Happy Horses, Naturally.
PO Box 670. Randwick. NSW Australia

Catherine Bird is a Sydney-based qualified Aromatherapist, Medical Herbalist and Massage Therapist specializing in treating animals. Her clients include the NSW Mounted Police as well as showjumpers, eventers, endurance, dressage and race horses along with dogs and humans. Catherine is a member of the International Association of Equine Sports Massage Therapists.

Catherine is authoring a series of books about natural therapies for horses, drawing on case histories gathered from her experience. "Horse Scents, Making Sense with Your Horse Using Aromatherapy" is now available. She has worked and studied both in Australia and in the United States with some of the world's foremost equine therapists.

Catherine Bird, internationally acclaimed Sydney-based Equine Therapist, will be conducting a weekend seminar on EQUINE MASSAGE at Adlou Farm, 148 Martyn Wright Road, RD3, Pukekohe, New Zealand, October 9th and 10th 1999. For details contact Jill Shires, +64-9-298-1390 or visit www.hartingdale.com.au/~happyhorses .