Jonathan Swift idealized the “Houyhnhnms,” the race of talking horses in Gulliver’s Travels who behaved with such “equine-imity.”
In reality, though, horses can be ferocious. Or moody, or scared, or the whole gamut of emotions we (in our anthropocentric view) consider “human.” The challenge for us is to learn to read the signs, to understand horse language.
The horses at Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus have a demanding job: to be patient with the residents, who are emotionally traumatized youth. As the Youth Villages website explains:
Horses have the capacity to read human emotions with amazing accuracy. They sense trust, uncertainty, fear, happiness, and everything in between. It is in this relationship with a horse the children and adolescents at Inner Harbour begin to trust again and heal.
These therapy horses are trained to put up with displays of terror, rage, exuberance and other forms of acting out as the kids learn to work with them. They take it all in. But how do the horses chill out? How do they release their own tension and stress before it festers inside them?
That was the task that we, the Moonrise Sisterhood of energy healers, faced when we visited the horses on Sunday, August 18. Our teacher, Ellen Kircaldy Mathys, brought us there to use Reiki and other forms of energy work to set the horses — and resident goat, plus some chickens and a turkey — at ease.
But first we had to meet them and introduce ourselves.
They were a little standoffish at first.
But as we started giving them Reiki energy, they came around.
Clyde the goat even got into the act.
One of our members, Paula Linck, works extensively with animals and taught us how to find the chakras on horses to send hands-on Reiki energy
We used other shamanic healing methods as well. Tibetan bowls …
Tuning forks …
And chimes … after all, “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.”
After we worked on everyone, it was time for treats.
I found the whole experience as transformative for me as it was for the horses. My favorite moment was when Reva and Hope were both nudging me to ask for more. The horses were so friendly at the end, it was hard to say goodbye.
How long do the good vibes last? Moonrise member Karen Triana got a report from Paulina, a Youth Villages staff member who works with the horses: “The staff mentioned how relaxed everyone was today, despite needing to be patient and quiet for long periods of time. So not just the horses trying to be more open to the students, but the area was more at peace. Stella connected with 8 students today, offering to take on relationships with them, which was awesome because we haven't asked her to do that in this way yet. Clyde actually accepted a lot more attention from the kiddos today, too. It was wonderful to see him bask in it.”
And a couple of days later, Kimmy Yon, one of our Moonrise members who works at Youth Villages and helped coordinate our visit, said, “I went out yesterday afternoon and the space felt so peaceful, the barn was calm and most of the horses had their heads our of the stalls.”
It was so rewarding to be involved in something so needed, where the effects are so immediate and can lead to lasting change. We’re going back to visit again in a few months, and I can hardly wait!
Is there something you’ve been involved in that transformed your life or made a difference in more ways than you imagined? Send a comment and tell me about it.
Christin Whittington is a practitioner of energy medicine – helping people restore balance in their bodies, their health and their lives using a combination of Reiki, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Qi Gong and herbal medicine.