Body Tapping Therapy
Traumatized horses show remarkable results when treated with unique stress control therapy.
When I received human stress control therapy and felt the incredibly efficient and fast transformation of my fears into simple events in my past, I was compelled to try eye movement therapy and bilateral body tapping therapy on Victoor, the spookiest horse I had ever met (even after many sessions of retraining with traditional methods, Victoor, an Arabian gelding, startled and spooked constantly).
Victoor responded so well to my experimental approach that I read and studied everything I could about all the available eye movement and body tapping therapy techniques, then transformed the human protocols for the horse’s vision and physical form. That this protocol had never been tried on horses before (or any other mammal, for that matter) was surprising to me. I developed Equine Stress Control Therapy (ESCT) in 2002.
ESCT is based on human therapies that are commonly used in triage situations by therapists arriving on the scene of accidents and catastrophes. That it works on recently traumatized horses, as well as those suffering from abuse, injury or memory trauma for some time, underscores the fact that the fear cycle in humans and horses is very similar.
After the positive experience with Victor, I worked with my mare, Tuesday, and produced similar results. A field study of 16 spooky horses followed, with 14 showing dramatic improvement in lowering the automatic startle response.
It seems that TALKING about one's issues only sets the problem deeper in memory, whereas DISCHARGING the energy around an issue tends to dissipate the need to hang on to it.
REPLACE THE TRAUMATIC MEMORY
ESCT deals directly with the horse's brain through the optic nerve and skeletal structure, sending interrupt signals to it while it re-lives and then re-thinks its traumatic experience in a controlled setting. As a result, reprocessing of the harmful memory happens quickly and the horse is liberated of its fear.
Horses can return to their original fear within the situation and environment created by the ESCT therapist to re-establish as close a situation to the original as possible, and then discharge the energy associated with that fear. What is left in the horse's realm of experience is a new baseline of comfort stemming from having overcome the fear and having survived it.
The new experience creates a new memory with a new positive energetic charge and the old memory is removed. Horses want to be healthy and whole. Being a healthy member of the herd is a biological imperative so the push to healing is great. A partnership with a human is also considered a herd bond, and the same push to healing and well-being in the horse applies in its relations with humans.
ESCT STEPS CAN BE LEARNED
First and foremost, the human needs to be centered and calm. Your self-control and calm breathing can do wonders to help the horse. He will take his cue from the environment and your behavior is part of that. If a vet is on-site, all the better. Every effort needs to be made to keep the horse comfortable. Horses who have been sedated are NOT candidates for ESCT as tranquilizers of any type will interfere with the ESCT process.
Minimum requirements for the process to work are that the horse is able to stand and be handled with a halter and lead rope. It is best to work with an assistant in an emergency situation if at all possible. Moving the horse to a quiet place away from the fracas is also recommended, as working in a whirlwind situation is counter-productive.
Note that there is a definite protocol involved in healing a horse with ESCT. [The complete protocol is described in the Book of Horse Healing Secrets and in the ESCT and Pulser videos and DVDs available through www.harmonyhorseworks.com ]
It is likely that your state’s animal control network gives clinics in animal disaster relief. Many vets are trained in animal disaster management techniques. Adding ESCT to help horses in trauma situations is very effective. This is another welcome tool to help animals in need during tough situations. We recommend becoming completely familiar with the protocol and using it on many horses before heading out into a trauma situation.
Barbara Wright operates Harmony HorseWorks, Horse Sanctuary and Rescue in Conifer, CO. Contact her at (303) 816-0766, email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.harmonyhorseworks.com