In my last blog when I talked about the hardest part of being your horse’s healer, I told you that horses are multi-dimensional beings, and that each dimension must be addressed before a true healing can occur.
So now I want to share with you, the real-life healing journey of a horse named Ben.
Ben is the perfect example of what a true healing looks like because we not only had to address his physical imbalances, but we also had to correct his emotional and spiritual imbalances before he could become his best self again.
And now I am thrilled to report that two years later (almost to the day) that we initiated Ben’s physical transformation, he is healthy, happy, and thriving as the champion we all knew that he was.
It just doesn’t get better than this…
But first…let me introduce you to Ben
Ben is a 17-year-old registered quarter horse gelding that currently lives in Airdrie, Alberta.
Ben was started young as a competitive cutting horse. He was (and still is) a solid horse with a great mind, he tried hard, and he was trainable. His first owners recognized that he had talent, so they invested heavily into his training. And as a result, he always did well and regularly placed in the top 4 of his classes.
But he always seemed to be missing something. His original owners felt that he lacked the spark and pizzazz required to be at the top. For this reason, his first owners found him another good home.
At nine years old Ben arrived at his now forever home with his current owner.
Ben’s condition upon arrival to his new home: 2012
When Ben got to his second home almost eight years ago, it was obvious to his new owner that he had some imbalances. He appeared to have some soundness issues in his hind-end, he had a potbelly, his hair coat was dull and rough, and he didn’t really care to be around humans all that much. Even though, he was kind, calm, and patient he didn’t easily connect with people.
Ben’s first consult: January 2018
Fast forward eight years, Ben was now 16 years old. Over that period, there were improvements to his overall demeanor and state-of-being, but he still wasn’t in perfect health.
His owner had done everything she could think of. She tried different feeds. She researched the best supplements in an effort to provide more nutrition. She had regular body work done including chiropractic treatments, osteopathy and massage.
But nothing really seemed to make a huge difference and his health was continuing to decline.
When I saw Ben for the first time, I asked his owner a lot of questions. I wanted to know everything I could about what had brought him to this point. I introduced myself to him, I watched him move and then I spent some time just “being” in his presence so I could feel more about who he was.
It was immediately obvious to me that Ben had some physical health problems to correct but I also knew that his spirit needed some help too.
But first things first…I had to start by identifying the first physical layer I was going to work on.
Here is Ben before we got started on his wellness journey when he was sore, tired, and lethargic.
Physical layer #1
Ben’s signs and symptoms included:
- Intermittent lameness for the past two years on both front hooves.
- Several hoof pathologies were present
- Excessive hunger (he was an easy keeper)
- Extreme fatigue (his owner had to drag him into the barn every day)
- Depression (loss of vitality)
- Sensitive to cold temperatures (he was always shivering)
- Unexplained soundness issues in his hind end
- His conformation appeared to be off balance
The starting point
Based on the combination of signs and symptoms that Ben was exhibiting I was confident that we were dealing with a case of Equine Metabolic Syndrome and chronic laminitis.
I knew that many of his symptoms including excessive hunger, a potbelly, depression and fatigue were all indicative of Insulin Resistance caused by too much sugar in his diet. And I also knew that high sugar and high insulin, along with his current hoof pathologies was the perfect recipe for chronic laminitis.
But before I made any assumptions, I began working through the steps of the 4-step method of kinesiology I use, called The Marijke MethodTM.
Using this method, I was able to prioritize what organs needed support first, what the imbalances were and what the underlying cause was.
Ben’s first feed and supplement program
Ben was currently on a very simple program. He was getting regular hay in slow feeders, a mineral mix, and a salt block.
Even though his hay was most likely high in sugar, we didn’t have the option of changing it right away, so we had to address his blood sugar with diet, nutrition, natural remedies, and exercise.
Ben’s first program was formulated to support his digestion, help him lower his blood sugar, and to help him improve his energy. Regular healthy trims and exercise were also part of Ben’s new program.
Ben’s first feed program included:
- Beet pulp – a good source of fibre
- Wheat germ – Nutritionally dense food
- Hemp oil – an excellent source of essential fatty acids.
Ben’s first supplement program included:
- Riva’s Five Herb Digest herbal blend – Promotes optimal stomach digestion
- Riva’s Iron-up – Improves energy and mental wellness
- Riva’s Blood Sugar Formula – Helps regulate weight and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Progress report: 3-month check-in
After three months on Ben’s new program and two health trims I went for a follow-up. His owner reported that there was a significant improvement in Ben’s soundness, his hair coat was healthier, and he had lost over seventy-five pounds of weight.
However, he was still tired and a bit lethargic and he was still exhibiting hind end weakness.
Even so, I was very happy with the amount of progress he had made. We were seeing a lot of positive changes to Ben’s health. He looked better, he was moving better, and he felt better so I knew we were on the right track.
But we weren’t finished yet…
We were now ready to move on to physical layer #2.
Physical Layer #2
For my second consult with Ben I used the same 4-step method of kinesiology that I described above to assess his current health status. I paid close attention to how the responses had changed from the first consult and then determined how to move forward with the next layer.
Ben’s signs and symptoms:
- Mild laminitis (not completely resolved yet)
- Depression (loss of vitality)
- Unexplained soundness in his hind end
- His conformation still appeared to be off balance
Ben’s second program focused more on reducing inflammation and strengthening his musculoskeletal system. Even though, many of his metabolic symptoms had disappeared he wasn’t completely out of the woods yet. It was important that we continued to support his digestion and healthy blood sugar levels with diet and nutrition.
Ben’s second feed program included:
- Beet pulp – a good source of fibre.
- Alfalfa pellets – source of protein to support healthy blood sugar levels as well as his joints, bone, and muscle.
Ben’s second supplement program included:
- Riva’s Joint-Clear – Supports healthy adrenal function and serves as a natural anti-inflammatory
- Riva’s Circu+Plus – Magnesium and pine tree bark for tissue repair and inflammation
- Riva’s Vitamin B12 – Promotes energy and detoxifies the liver
- Riva’s Blood Sugar Formula – Helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Progress report: 6-month check-in
In just 6 short months we were all thrilled with the progress that Ben had made.
He looked like a completely different horse. Ben was sound and his hooves were healthy, his body had changed dramatically, he had more energy, the brightness in his eye returned, and his coat was soft and shiny.
He no longer had the appearance of a metabolic easy keeper with laminitis.
But even though Ben was a different horse on the outside, I knew that he still had some work to do on the inside.
His emotional presence hadn’t changed that much. He was still disinterested in humans and he didn’t exude the big heart we all knew that he had.
Now it was time to move on to Ben’s emotional layer
The next step in Ben’s healing journey was an emotional one. After years of living an unnatural lifestyle as a competitive cutting horse, Ben had been under an enormous amount of stress. He was never given the freedom to be himself. And after all these years, he still felt like he wasn’t good enough. He was extremely self-conscious about the way he looked and the way he moved.
Even though, his new owner loved him and had slowly earned his trust over time, he still carried a lot of emotional trauma from his past life.
His energy field was small, his heart was closed, and he had no desire for human companionship. But now that his physical body felt better, his vitality had increased, and his energy field had expanded.
He was finally ready to release the emotional burden he had carried all these years. He was ready for true connection.
Read Part 2: Ben’s Emotional Transformation to find out how Ben’s healing journey takes him right to the winner’s circle.
Want to learn how to do this for your horses?
Check out my online course, Healing Horses Their Way. Class starts February 3rd!
I am an animal lover, health consultant, scientist and educator. I am passionate about delivering safe and effective health care to all animals but horses and dogs have a special place in my heart. I believe that through education and awareness of natural animal health we can drastically improve their quality of life and longevity. I invite you to join me on my quest to make the world a better place for all of them.
Want Elisha’s blogs in your inbox? Sign up below: