Transfer of Emotions
by Meg Harrison
Be aware of your power to influence your animals’ behavior – for better or worse. I used to tell my students: Every time you han- dle your horse, you are training.. where he stands when you open the gate, how he passes through the gate, grooming, tacking up, and riding. A related important suggestion is: If you are not feel- ing 100%, and not at your personal best, don’t handle your horse. Why? They pick up on everything. Everything. Sure, we might feel better after being with them, but how are they at the end of our time together? Confused? Tired? Ready to be left alone for awhile?
If you are not at your best, then sit down and hang out. Figure out what your problem is and take care of it. Do your flower essenc- es. Are you worried about bills? Mimulus is excellent for known fears. Are you fighting with your family? Figure out your part in it by taking some Clematis essence to expose your part in the mis- understanding. Don’t daydream through a difficulty. Depression is rampant these days with all the bad news in the world. Mustard is for lingering depression that keeps coming back day after day. Dandelion is for depression that seems to have settled into your bones, exhausting you, depleting your innate courage. Aconite is an answer for sudden bad news.
What I am really saying here is don’t worry about your animals until you fix yourself – before you inflict damage on them. If there is existing emotional or mental damage in the animal from previ- ous experiences or events beyond our control, then use essences to address the damage. It does not matter how long ago the experi- ence happened. One Australian Shepherd, Daisy, witnessed – from her apartment window – the Twin Towers coming down on 9-11 in New York City. She was alone. Her guardian had to walk home 2 miles amid debris and chaos arriving late in the afternoon to a traumatized dog. Ever since that day, Daisy reacted to loud noises, thunderstorms, and traffic by going to the window, staring out- side and trembling. Her guardian gave her Sweetgrass essence for welcoming change, Gorse for re-newed hope, Yarrow for environ- ment and homeopathic Aconitum 30x for shock. Daisy stopped her fear-based shaking, switched her focus to her guardian, and had no more trembling episodes.
Mirrors and Escalators
Did you ever notice that when you are having a bad day, so is your horse? It’s not a coincidence. It is a mirror. They reflect our frus- trations and impatience. A veteran horsewoman once advised: “If your horse is not understanding what you are asking of him, stop and put him up for the night.” This went against everything I knew about “never give in or they will be spoiled”. But she has been proven right dozens of times. I once was schooling a 3-year-old Paint mare who was not understanding my request for a side pass. I got off her, pushed her, got on, used heel, rein, and scratched her shoulder so she would move away from the pressure. NOTHING. Actually the harder I tried, the worse the whole thing became. I re- membered what the older trainer told me and stopped. Reluctantly, I dismounted, gave the mare a reward and ended the lesson for the day. In that reward was Impatiens essence for patience, Mimulus if any fear arose during the session, and most important, Chestnut Bud.
Dr. Edward Bach wrote in The Twelve Healers about Chestnut Bud essence: “For those who do not take full advantage of observation and experience, and who take a longer time than others to learn the lessons of daily life.” (The Twelve Healers published in 1931 by CW Daniels Co. Ltd., London. Re-printed in 1977 by Keats Pub., Inc New Canaan, CT under the name “The Bach Flower Remedies” quote from page 97.)
The next day, she was excited to work. I thought it was because I had quit the previous lesson early but after her warm-up, she took one awkward step without being asked, so I corrected her. But she did it again. Lo and behold, I gave her a loose rein and she started sidepassing. She stepped to the side with ease, grace and balance. I asked her to sidepass in the opposite direction and she performed with the same grace and balance, nothing I could have achieved in weeks of pushing myself on her. The day before, she was confused, which created frustration for us both, escalating negative emotions and behavior and thus heading us straight for anger. Chestnut Bud is my favorite for these situations.
I recently visited a place where I thought negative emotions would be running rampant, our local therapeutic riding center. I expected negativity because of the emotional burden and stress of families living with a disabled or challenged person. To my surprise, every single person, rider, sibling, caregiver, instructor, volunteer, and every horse appeared content and happy while caring for each oth- er. Emotional transfer at its best.
In this day and age of bad news and focus on all things negative, the afternoon spent watching miracles rejuvenated my faith in mankind. It was an incredible shout-out for the horses and the part they play in these children’s therapy. In 90 minutes, I saw 2 young people who were never expected to walk, talk, or sit up. Both were not only able to talk, walk and sit up – they rode horses! How can hope have a limit? Positive emotions transferred from the horses and environment to the riders and their families = priceless.