Holistic Harmony



Natural therapies for horses

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An introduction to my horses

Posted on 2 March, 2019 at 21:00 Comments comments (0)

The following blog posts are all dedicated to my horses past and present. They have all touched my life and made me who I am today so I would like to introduce them all to you in the following posts.

Harry

Posted on 21 February, 2019 at 0:20 Comments comments (0)


Harry is a 15 year old Australian riding pony that has been living with us for approximately 18 months now. When I met Harry he had very bad laminitis and insulin resistance and was being treated with veterinary prescribed medication and corrective shoeing. He was spending hours a day lyeing down and was not moving around much when standing, he was in considerable pain. I had been asked to try some acupuncture to see if could help him. When his bloods were retested and the insulin was still around 300 the owners thought it was the most humane decision to put him to sleep.

I had grown a soft spot for Harry as he was very sweet and reminded me of my horse Simon. My partner is a bare foot trimmer and had some really good successs with laminitis rehabilitation so under consultation with the Vet and owners we took Harry home with us to see if we could help with rehabilitating him. 
It has been a real journey of balancing his feeds, forthnightly hoof trimming and bodywork but Harry now is a happy member of my little herd of horses. Once he was out of the woods and able to gallop about he was able to live out with the other horse and this has really helped him. Horses really need a natural environment, or as close to, to be able to thrive. They need room to move, friends and constant forage. 

It is still a constant balancing act to keep Harry's sytem functioning correctly so he doesn't get laminitis but he is out of the woods and enjoying his life in the herd. He may never be sound as a riding horse but he will also have a place to live out his life with us.

I have a lovely video of him galloping around with the other horses that I will upload when the internet service allows.




Hank

Posted on 20 February, 2019 at 19:45 Comments comments (0)


Hank is a registered Paint horse and is currently 17 years old. I originally bought him in 2009 for my younger daughter who was 15 at the time. He was bred and trained by a lovely lady that I now call my friend in Boyland Qld. He was trained as a western pleasure horse and had been doing some showing at the paint horse and western pleasure shows. We actually didn't know a single thing about western pleasure or paint horses but we loved Hank and he came home with us.

My daughter took him to pony club, did some dressage and jumping with him, learnt some western riding and went to a couple of paint horse shows including the state show.

Once she finished school and started University she really didn't have time to ride or look after horses anymore,  as I had just retired Pharoah I decided I would learn to ride Hank and keep him as my riding horse. And so my journey started........and to this day Hank has been my biggest teacher in making me listen to and respect him and his opinion without my own agenda in order to build a relationship. 

Hank is 16.2 hands and built like a tank but has a very soft nature and reminds me a bit of a labrador puppy. I consider him lucky as he has only had two homes, with the lady who bred him and with me. He was even trained at home and not sent off to a trainer, which can be not the norm as many horses by the time they come to you have been at multiple homes and a few trainers and can be quite shut down. 
I believe because of this Hank was still able to feel like he could express himself if he didn't like something, especially seeing as I was a bit of a softie. He started telling me "no" to a few different things like not wanting his rug on, not wanting the saddle on, not wanting to go on the float, for instance. These were new behaviours that he seemed to like to keep for me and were not in his past. So I thought that my bad horsemanship skills were basically ruining my horse and I started to look to improve my skills so that Hank and I could move forward as a partnership.
I went to clinics, got help and also learned natural horsemanship and yes I improved my skills and got Hank to do some of the things I wanted but, I felt Hank was just becoming obedient and was not actually happy with what we were doing together. I was also struggling as I am naturally quiet and calm in nature so becoming a dominant leader was very unatural and uncomfortable for me. I had to have another rethink as to how to move forward with something that was going to suit us both and really build a good relationship and a happy horse.

I now look at Hank saying "no" to me in a different light. I see it that he feels he is in a safe space to be able to express himself and I feel happy about that. I have now learned to listen to his "no's" so that he understands that I will listen to him if he feels uncomfortable with something. He has also taught me a lot about my own energy and agenda based ideas. If I just go out into the paddock to hang out with him he is more than happy to follow me around and hang out and get scratches but if I go in with an agenda the energy totally changes and he knows before I even step foot in the paddock. He has been a really good mirror for me and taught me so much about listening and respect. He has taught me that although we may feel like we own a horse we do not own their body or their mind and we don't have the right to do anything to them without their permission.

We have started some positive reinforcement training and so far we are enjoying it and look forward to where this make take us.

Stay tuned.....the journey continues.





Barney

Posted on 20 February, 2019 at 19:20 Comments comments (0)

 Barney is a 23 year old Arabian gelding who has been living with us for coming up on 5 years. He originally came for my partner to ride but had some dental issues and a strange abscess that came out on his neck then a bout of laminitis in the first year, so his health was not great. He was also incredibly hard to catch, if he saw you coming with a halter he would run circles around the paddock as there was no way he was going to let you get that halter on him. No traditional catching methods would work with Barney. 

He has come a long way since then and is in great health, and yes he is able to be caught. He has also really come out of himself and is a real character. I am trying to upload a couple videos of him as he makes me laugh with his antics. He spends most of his time now doing his favourite past times which is mostly eating, sleeping with a bit of bossing the other horses around. Nobody can step outside the house without Barney calling out to them for some food or a treat.

He will always have a place with us as part of our herd.

Pharoah

Posted on 20 February, 2019 at 19:00 Comments comments (0)

Pharoah is an Arabian gelding. He is 31 years old and has been living with me since he was 14 years old. He has been the most amazing horse that holds such a special place in my heart. I originally bought him as a riding horse for both myself and my eldest daughter when I think she was about 12 years old. He took her all the way through pony club and was one of the fastest sporting horses in his time burning around all the novelties. He also loved a good gallop up any hill (whether you wanted him to or not) or along the beach. My younger daughter also went on to ride Pharoah at pony club when she out grew her pony and he has looked after us all.

We have spent a lot of years together and he has not only been the leader and protector of the other horses in the paddock but I also felt a comfort in his presence like he was looking out for me and being my strenght too.

As he was getting close to 30 years old, thoughts started to cross my mind about how my little herd and also myself would go when our leader was no longer around, I felt we might all be lost without his strong energy to look after us all. The past winter as he turned 31 years old he trained another horse to take over as leader and allowed himself to be pushed down the pecking order. This was at first very traumatic and heartbreaking for me to see, but then I realised how much more relaxed, calmer and softer he became in his new role. It was almost like he knew how I had been feeling and allowed this to happen so we could all adjust and find our own strength and be comfortable with the new order of things before the time of his eventual passing would come.

He is an incredibly smart horse with a huge heart. I feel honoured to be a part of his life and be able to give him everthing he deserves in his retired life.

He is pictured here with my Grand daughter Evie.


Possum

Posted on 15 February, 2019 at 1:55 Comments comments (0)

I bought Possum for my youngest Daughter when she was 9 years old and Possum was 8 years old. She was a cute 12.2 hand riding pony with a lot of attitude. She spent a lot of time biting or pushing my daughter over and loved to squeal and kick the other horses in the paddock. She was also a bit spooky and liked to take off at times.  She became a great teacher in training and ground handling skills.

We found a lady who did natural horsemanship lessons who worked with Possum and my Daughter together to give her the skills to handle Possum on the ground and in the saddle. She went on to be a fabulous pony, and after my Daughter grew too big for her she taught a number of other children to ride and became an amazing beginners pony. I never had the heart to sell her.

She came back to live with me and my partner to retire and died at age 22 years from colic. She was a one in a million pony that was loved and missed by many.

Simon

Posted on 15 February, 2019 at 1:25 Comments comments (0)

 Simon was a horse that I leased in the early 2000's for my daughters to ride. This photo was taken at Cabarita beach in around 2003 with my Daughter riding him at around 8 years old. He was a beautiful, sweet aged Arabian gelding and was so quiet and took great care of my girls. He came to me with many health issues and it was because of him that I started to delve deeper into horse health and natural therapies. He really taught me so much. He had an array of issues from teeth to hoof to poor condition, so I quickly learned the importance of regular dentisty and corrective hoof care. I attended lectures and hoof trimming workshops and anything else that I could find.

In my search for natural health alternatives to improve Simons condition and help him gain some weight I started looking at a natural diet and herbal supplements. One of my resources was Victoria Fergusons book "A practical horse herbal", so when I saw Victoria was coming to do a talk in my local area I jumped at the chance to go. This would of been around 2002 or 2003. The lecture was split up with Victoria speaking in the morning and the afternoon lecture was about Bowen therapy for horses. I had never heard of Bowen therapy before and was intreaged to learn more. One of the Bowen therapists was a local lady who treated both horses and people and I subsequently went and had a treatment on myself, my daughters and my horses all treated. I was amazed how gentle yet powerful this treatment was, and so began my journey. The following year I trained as a Bowen therapist and received the Diploma of proficiency as it was called then.

Simon gained weight and health and lived the last few years of his life well looked after and loved. He was a gentle soul.

He passed away in 2006 when he was around 26-27years old.


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