To Your Animal’s Emotional Health (Horses):The Column Dedicated to Restoring Your Animal’s Emotional Well Being


Lew, Dolly, & Sunday.
Idaho, 1994.

Q: Charger has the athletic ability I want for dressage. When I rode him at his previous owner’s, he seemed calm and willing to do what I asked, but since I brought him home he’s physically tense whenever we work. He rushes through everything. He prances and pulls on the bit when I ask him to walk. He’ll stop on command, then won’t stand still. I’m afraid he doesn’t have the mind for dressage, and I’ve wasted my money.

A: Don’t give up on him yet. With a little help, this horse may turn out to be everything you hoped for. One resource I recommend are Flower Remedies. Everything about Charger’s behavior since you brought him home indicates a need for the flower remedy IMPATIENS. Additionally, because his behavior has become habitual, there is a need for the “habit breaker” remedy CHESTNUT BUD, and the flower remedy WALNUT, which will act synergistically with CHESTNUT BUD to assist Charger in letting go of his old behaviors and adapting to a new, calmer way of being. Mix together equal parts of these remedies, and administer several times daily by adding several drops to his feed and treats, putting 15-20 drops in his water bucket, rubbing a few drops on his lips or nostrils, or squeezing them directly into his mouth. The flower remedies will do their work over a period of a few days, to several weeks. Continue them until his behavior changes.

Q: The two colts I bought last fall to raise and train as a team
are almost yearlings. They eat, sleep and play together. Both get
lots of attention, and the same amount of basic handling, but
they are turning out quite different. One is making steady progress,
while the other continues to be afraid of everything. Why is this
happening? What can I do?

A: Your fearful colt may have had one or more traumatic experiences
before you got him. His mother may have been a fearful, tense or
anxious mare. It’s possible you’ll never know why he’s so afraid,
but fortunately you don’t need that information to help him change. To
assist this young horse in achieving emotional well being, I recommend
Flower Remedies, and the stress-relieving preparation derived from five of the flower remedies.
For immediate stress, including the stress exhibited during training sessions, use the stress-relieving formula. Squeeze several drops of the concentrate directly into his mouth, or rub on his lips or nostrils every few minutes until the immediate stress subsides.

The following remedies can help relieve the negative emotions underlying
his behavior. They will do their work over a period of a few days
to several weeks. The flower remedy STAR OF BETHLEHEM
is indicated to assist in releasing any past trauma this horse may
have suffered. The remedies ASPEN and MIMULUS are indicated for the
horse’s unknown fears, and his known fears, respectively. The remedy
CHERRY PLUM can be added if the horse tends to loose control when
frightened. Mix together equal parts of these remedies and administer
several times daily. Put several drops on his feed, on treats, in
his mouth and on his skin behind and in front of his ears. Add 15-20
drops to a bucket of water. Continue until his fearful behavior is

When you work with this youngster, breathe deeply and slowly. Speak
in a calm, reassuring voice, and praise even the smallest desirable
response. Have a clear mental picture of what you want him to do,
and don’t expect him to act fearfully. If you feel yourself becoming
angry or impatient, it’s time to end the training session for the

Tellington-Jones Equine Awareness Movements, known as TT.E.A.M.TM,
are simple, yet very effective methods for turning off horses’ flight,
fight or freeze response. These easily learned techniques help focus
the animal’s attention, create self-confidence and actually teach
them to think in any situation, rather than simply react.

Q: Kelly and I love to ride together, but our horses do not. When we ride close enough together for conversation, my gelding constantly flattens his ears and tries to bite her gelding. He caught me off guard once and was able to turn and kick Kelly’s horse in the belly and just missed her. We have no idea why my horse acts hateful in this situation but not around other horses. I’ve disciplined him several times, but with no success. Now Kelly’s horse is getting nervous. Can you help?

Undesirable behaviors are very often an expression of pain or discomfort. Before you ride again, gently examine your horse’s body for painful, sensitive, and tense areas, especially his neck, back, girth area, and mouth, including lips, tongue, and gums. Do the saddle, bridle or bit rub, pinch or otherwise cause him pain? Is his back well padded? Is he clean and groomed where tack contacts his body? Animal behavior can also reflect emotions of people close to them. Tune into your own thoughts and feelings the next time your horse threatens hers.

Both horses can benefit from Flower Remedies. Your horse’s aggressive, apparently mean-spirited behavior indicates a need for the flower remedy HOLLY. His intolerance of the other horse indicates a need for the remedy BEECH. CHESTNUT BUD is indicated to help your horse break his habit of aggressive behavior, along with WALNUT, its synergistic partner remedy, to support him in adjusting to a new way of being. If you think it’s possible these horses were ever alone together where some traumatic event could have occurred between them, add STAR OF BETHLEHEM. Kelly’s horse needs STAR OF BETHLEHEM for the trauma of being kicked and threatened, and MIMULUS, the remedy for known fears, since what he fears is your horse. Mix together equal parts of these remedies and administer several times daily. Add a few drops to his/her feed and treats, squeeze directly into his/her mouth or rub directly on lips and in nostrils. You can also add 15 to 20 drops to a bucket of water.

Q: Two of us have just adopted five mares and a gelding recently found abandoned and starving. They ranged in age from three to about 15, are very thin, parasite infected, and some have open sores. Two have been physically abused. We’re starting with good food, shelter, and lots of love. How else can we help them?

A: In rehabilitating starved animals, avoid rich feed and harsh deworming compounds. A holistic veterinarian can suggest herbs and homeopathic remedies to gently eliminate parasites and address other conditions.

Flower Remedies can also help rejuvenate these horses. The flower remedy STAR OF BETHLEHEM is indicated for the traumas of starvation and abuse. The parasites, open sores, and likely toxic condition of their very stressed bodies indicate a need for CRAB APPLE, the flower remedy for cleansing. OLIVE will help those weak and exhausted from their ordeal. SWEET CHESTNUT helps ease suffering in animals who have reached the limits of their endurance. Mix equal parts of these remedies and administer several times daily as described above. Continue until conditions are resolved. Apply the stress-relieving formula, we use the brand-name “Calming EssenceTM“, in it’s cream form to sores daily.

Q: To get to the places where I can ride my horse we have to go by an old pump house at the side of our road. Every time we go by there,
Bucky jumps sideways and spins around, then goes on. I’ve fallen
off twice when he’s done it, and even though I hang on extra tight,
I’m afraid I’ll fall off again. He doesn’t act this way at any other
place. How can I make him quit?

A: What a frustrating situation! Did something once startle Bucky at or near the pump house? Was there a sudden loud noise? Did the door
fly open? Did a person unexpectedly appear? Perhaps the problem
comes from how Bucky sees the building. Horses’ vision is very different
from ours, and he may perceive the pump house as something quite threatening. It’s
also possible that it looks like (or smells like!) something from
his past that did scare him. No matter what caused his behavior originally,
it sounds like Bucky’s jump and spin routine has now become a habit.

The flower remedies, as discussed above in this column, can
help Bucky let go of this annoying and potentially dangerous behavior. In
order to assist in releasing any past traumas Bucky may have experienced
concerning this or other pump houses, give the flower remedy STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
The remedies ASPEN and MIMULUS can be given for both Bucky’s unknown
and known fears, respectively. To assist in breaking his habit of
reacting at this one place, you can give the remedy CHESTNUT BUD.
The flower remedy WALNUT can, by acting synergistically with the remedy
CHESTNUT BUD, help Bucky in letting go of his old behavior patterns
and adapting to new, saner ways of being.

Because you’ve had this experience with your horse so many times,
you now expect it to happen. Since you’ve fallen off a couple of
times, you probably have some fear, too. It’s very likely that your
fear and expectations increase as you approach the pump house. When
you “hang on extra tight” you create more tension in your body and
mind. It’s also likely that, the closer you get to the place, the
more you hold your breath. Bucky senses your tension and anxiety,
which gives added momentum to his undesirable behavior.

You can help yourself and your horse, too, with a couple of simple
techniques. First, it’s important to replace your mental picture
of Bucky’s jump and spin with a picture of Bucky walking calmly
and quietly past the pump house. Practice imagining his new behavior
a few times before you ride him. If the old picture keeps coming
back, distract yourself. How? Count backwards from 100. Sing a
song. Recite a poem. Count the number of hairs in his mane. Whatever
you choose to do, start doing it when you get on, and don’t stop until
you’re past the pump. And remember to breathe! Slow, deep breaths
will help you relax, and help your horse relax, too. If you begin
slow deep breathing before you mount, then continue as you ride, Bucky’s
breathing may even start to mirror yours, helping him to relax. Combine
these techniques with the flower remedies, and your problem
could be history soon!

The information in this column is not intended to replace veterinary
care. For all conditions requiring medical attention, see your vet

Products in this column are included for the reader’s convenience. However,
inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by either the author
or this publication.

© Copyright 1995, 1996 by Penny Case

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Written by Penny Case

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