A Healing Tone
By Catherine Bird

Socrates and Plato regarded music indispensable to the health of the Soul. I think most of us have heard of using music to soothe the savage beast and similar metaphors. This is only one use of music, and in this article I would like to explore how we can use music to assist our horses with certain tasks and life situations as well as on a deeper level where we can assist in the utilisation of biochemistry. I refer to the writings of Bernard Jensen, Cyril Scott and Manly P. Hall with this topic as they were two writers who sparked an interest in the use of music and its ability to heal, and who laid the foundation for my own exploration.

Music can be used with your horses on many levels. Music and its tone are simply vibrations, and the vibration they create for you and your horse can encourage a healing space, clear negative thoughts and overwhelming emotions, and set a tone to help you and your horse achieve your goals.

Music from modern times as well as compositions from the past have various applications. Many new-age compositions can be utilised to kickstart a biochemical process throughout the body - more recent popular composers that had melodic compositions will trigger the utilisation of specific vitamins and minerals, whilst older compositions can tap into generations of healing gained from their rhythms and melodies over time. Amazing Grace is a certain piece of music that stirs all kinds of emotion and Bernard Jensen noted that it was a hymn that was claimed to have more healings occur when played than any other piece of music.

You do not have to break the sound barrier when you use music for healing. It is suggested you have the music at a comfortable sound level, one both you and your horse find enjoyable.

Physical Effects

Bernard Jensen, in his Color, Music and Vibration booklet, refers to an Italian surgeon who explored the power of classical music on the body. Dr Gaetano Zappolo reported (in the New York Journal of Medicine) examples of how Bach soothes digestion, Mozart relieves rheumatic pain, and Schubert assists insomniacs into sleep, while Handel eases emotional problems.

This opens up a new dimension to the music you play in your barn. Remember some music can poison the body vibrationally so avoid playing a radio station that dedicates itself to the harsher more abrasive tones of some of today's popular music.

Ideally if you have an older horse with aches and pains, an hour of Mozart while you are pottering around the barn may assist with his physical comfort. When you introduce a new horse to a boarding facility and this horse is restless you may want to take your portable tape player down when you visit and share some quality time together listening to Schubert. The horse recovering from or prone to colic episodes, especially when the drinking water is icy during winter, would benefit from Bach being played during the dinner time.

Manly P. Hall in his booklet The Therapeutic Value of Music Including The Philosophy of Music takes this concept one step further and looks at the properties of basic tones. He stated, "the note C stimulates the growth of plants and excites recklessness in animals. It is a stimulant, and inadvisable for those of a nervous or hysterical type." This would suggest it is not wise to play music to a horse in the key of C prior to a cross-country event, or if you have a nervous horse.

"The note E has a cleansing effect, strengthens the intuitive faculties, and assists in the digestion of food." If you were to play your horse a Bach composition in the key of E when he is eating, you are likely to find better assimilation of his food. Finding soft music in E would also assist the budding animal communicator to chat with the horse, or the massage therapist to tap into intuitive skills while massaging.

"The note G reduces fevers … It is soothing and relaxing." So it definitely is worth having a CD of minuets in G tucked away in your first aid kid, to assist with any emergencies in the barn.

For Uplifting Spirits

Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, advised his disciples to open their day by listening to pleasant music, using it to purify the mind and emotions. What better way to set the tone for the day at the stables? Pachabell's Canon is a beautiful and inspiring piece of music that can be played gently and unintrusively. This canon can be used to clear away disturbing emotions that may have settled in your horse's energy field and can be very useful at times when you are facing personal challenges of your own, or challenges in your training together. It will strengthen your resolution and your horse's willingness to participate in training periods that are introducing new or what appear to be difficult movements.

Manly P. Hall in his writings takes the use of music to a deeper level, and this is an area you may want to explore:

"In the case of Bach we feel the powerful integrity … with Beethoven there is psychic integrity … Mendolson's music increases the sense of security … Chopin stimulates the imagination … Schumann is for those seeking to advance their education … Strauss is recommended for those deficient in individuality … Robert Wagner for emphasis on universal consciousness…"

Translating this to use with our horses, we could use Schumann to help with educating a young horse, Mendolson to help a new horse adapt to a new property or herd situation, and Strauss to encourage a withdrawn horse to be more expressive.

Using Music with Situations

Music can be used to stimulate memory. If you have a horse who has difficulty picking up from where the last training session got you, find a piece of music that can be played softly in the background when you want to focus on certain aspects of your discipline. Each time you want to work on this aspect, play this same piece of music gently again in the background and it will assist this horse with his memory. Having music playing like this with a horse that is slow to comprehend works to distract the mental barrier to "new ideas"; it permits information to be accepted more readily by internal faculties. When you use music for this purpose, do not choose vocal music, as it has to be listened to, rather than heard, and this will interfere with the activity.

Another interesting writer was Cyril Scott in his book Music - Its Secret Influence throughout the Ages. He describes Schumann as the messenger from the heart of the child to the heart of the parent. This composer could be employed during foaling season; the soft melodic sentiments floating through the air in the background will encourage the mare-foal connection.

Cyril Scott also described the Strauss and Wagner stronger compositions as being sexually stimulating. These may be suitable to have playing when a stallion is required to serve mares. You do not have to have crashing crescendos blaring out across the field. Remember your horse's hearing is more attuned than yours is, so softly-softly in the background will duly meet the requirements of the moment.

Giving Music a Color

As we are looking at music and its vibrational qualities, then we can do a comparison with color and how certain music can emphasise a color vibrational and help with healing. I will stay with the seven colors of the spectrum and give examples of music that expresses the properties of these colors.

Red is a projecting yang color. Ravel's Bolero helps embrace this energy for life and is a good piece of music to build up a powerful amount of energy when you require your horse to work energetically.

Orange is dual in its projection and absorption. Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #2 helps the adrenals into action when you and your horse are lethargic; or you can use Franz Liszt's Liebestraum in A or Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again to help balance the thyroid, Liszt to steady an overactive thryoid and Lynn or similar to stimulate a lazy thyroid.

Yellow is another out-there color. Heroic tenor operatic arias can be used to help the self to project when needed. Yellow is the color of the solar plexus so any sort of anxieties related to dramas can be worked through with Beethoven's Symphony #5 or Aaron Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

Green relates to the heart chakra and is a very healing vibration. Dukas's Sorcerers Apprentice and Theodorakis's Zorba's Dance help the heart project out into nature. Irish jigs and Scottish reels will bring a green vibration and will heal on many levels.

Blue is the color of communication. Dire Straits' Water of Love, Claude Debussy's Claire De Lune, and Sakura (Traditional Japanese Folk) can be used to address the pH balance in your own and your horse's bodies.

Indigo is the color of the third eye chakra. Music including Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess and Bizet's Symphony in C can assist when there is a need for evaluation whilst Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours from the opera "La Gioconda" helps you and your horse explore new possibilities. When there needs to be an appreciation of self, consider playing Dire Straits' version of the theme from "Local Hero".

Violet relates to the crown chakra and beauty. Toto's song You are the Flower will help you and your horse project beauty, whereas Grieg's Soveig's Song from Peer Gynt Suite will help you and your horse connect with your own inner beauty.

If you wish to connect with the entire rainbow of color, Rachmaninov's last movement of his 4th Concerto or the Blues Brothers' Sweet Home Chicago will bring forth the array of colors.

There are many ways to relate to music and the key to its use with you and your horse is what makes you feel good. What do you enjoy and is it in harmony with your horse's vibration? What I have described here may not be your taste of music, so explore and see what you find helps you with your relationship and training.

If a piece of music brings up an emotional response with you, use it to clear that emotion from your energy field. Feel the essence of the music and visualise the pain or aches leaving your body as the music plays. When you need energy, select the stronger rhythmic pieces of music to build your energy levels up. If you need to focus and concentrate on your work with your horse, find music that you can play to distract your active mind so you can get into the task at hand. The most important thing to remember is that music is to be enjoyed.

About the author:
Catherine Bird is a Sydney-based qualified Aromatherapist, Medical Herbalist and Massage Therapist specializing in treating animals. Her clients have included the NSW Mounted Police, Olympic level competitors, and horses in all disciplines as well as backyard pets. She is the author of Horse Scents, Making Sense with Your Horse Using Aromatherapy, which is one of a series being developed and she offers the Equine Aromatherapy Correspondence Course worldwide. For more information see www.hartingdale.com.au/~happyhorses, and http://communities.msn.com/HealthyHappyHorses, or email Catherine directly at happyhorses@hartingdale.com.au