One-time learners, as horses are known to be, sometimes learn the “wrong” lesson. Your horse’s very first experience under saddle, trailering, or with the farrier will set the tone for the future. Often, problematic behaviors and bad habits are tolerated and even indulged without realizing long-term consequences.
I want to be reassured that the 1,000 pounds underneath me or sharing my space is safe, sane, and predictable.
FLOWER ESSENCES MAY HELP
My experience is flower essences transform problematic behavior, attitudes, emotions, and patterns of learning. They offer success on obvious behavioral and emotional situations and may also provide permanent solutions to chronic problems. Essences are simple, effective, and highly successful because they go to the root cause of mental and emotional problems, not suppressing or masking the problematic behaviors to resurface later. Whether dealing with an excessive personality trait, an ingrained fear or a brand new experience, remedies can resolve conflict, lessen fear, or allow enough patience to discover a better way to behave.
Simply put, flower essences are created from organic material, such as flowers or leaves, placed in water, set in the sun, strained, and then offered to animals. Dr. Edward Bach, British homeopathic physician, intended flower essence therapy to be for the layperson. The publisher of the 1971 edition of “The Bach Flower Remedies” (Keats Publishing, New Canaan, CT, originally published by Dr. Bach in 1931) wrote: “No scientific explanation of how or why these remedies worked was offered by Dr. Edward Bach. Indeed, he was wary of the ‘trends’ that science is prone to, and encouraged others to keep his remedies ‘free from science, free from theories.’ If certain observable principles were operative in nature, there was no need to complicate the issue. Wild animals did not need an explanation of why certain plants helped them when they were ill.”
WHAT TO USE WHEN
In your relationship with your horse, is there trust? Partnership? Cooperation? If not, Tiger Lily is excellent for encouraging a team spirit in the horse and rider. Clematis is integral to focus and learning complicated procedures. Star of Bethlehem is for trust, Cherry Plum for self-control, Impatiens for impatience and irritability. Rock Rose, for steadfastness and courage, is a wonderful combination of essences to help establish trust for long-term relationships.
This new attitude and outlook will transfer to all humans the horse will encounter. If essences are properly prepared and used appropriately, the improved behavior is permanent. Blending these will address the cause of the problem, the present behavior as well as positive, future behaviors.
Often the answer is as simple as apologizing. It does not make any difference if you made a mistake, the previous handler, or an accident occurred; flower essences work wonders setting the scales right, re-balancing lives and emotions.
Gentian is a great essence to use for matters of the heart, hurt feelings, or for the sensitive personality who “takes transgressions to heart.” Dandelion, known as the “Flower of Survival” is excellent for relieving deep-seated, stagnant emotions like grief, anger, and resentments. It’s also excellent for eliminating deeply rooted habits that no longer serve a purpose. Use Mimulus for known fears, thriving bravely in the face of adversity, Lady Slipper for grounding and Arnica Montana for eliminating any negative muscle memory that might cause a reactive, emotional response to a request in the future.
GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESS
First, choose your flowers, weeds, or leaves and place them in a glass bowl. Cover with water and set in the sunshine for 20 minutes up to 2 hours. Strain to prevent any organic material from being in your finished essence. Cover, refrigerate and use this essence within one week or add a preservative. I use a sweet carmalized brandy following the tradition of Dr. Bach. However, others choose vinegar, red shiso herb, vegetable glycerin, or ethanol. Some add up to 80% preservative but, if I will be using this essence up within the next few months; my mix is 50% essences and 50% brandy. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sun.
Put some drops on your hands before you pick up your lead rope, reins, or equipment. Or put 4 drops 4 times daily in the drinking water, on food, or treats. Size does not matter. A 1,400 pound Warmblood uses the exact same dosage as a 14 pound Jack Russell: 4 drops. Guideline in homeopathy is “use less more often.” In emergencies, use every 10 minutes for the first hour and then as necessary for calm composure and improved behavior. If they are unable to eat or drink; put several drops on your hands and gently massage. Tips of the ears is wonderful. If they are too far away, aggressive, or unapproachable; simply mist the environment.
Use less more often. Use until you see the positive results you want. Every now and then, while using your essences, give yourself a pop quiz. Set up some situations or circumstances that used to confuse or anger your horse. How are they reacting now? Better means keep going. Not so good means use more often, use longer, or create a different blend of essences for this personality. Make sure you are not part of the problem. Are you indulging? Spoiling? Overlooking potentially dangerous behaviors? Lastly, be positive your essences were gathered, prepared, and stored according to tradition.
Meg Harrison, creator of BlackWing Farms' Remedies, has studied and used Flower Essences to treat problematic behaviors for 38 years. Successful applications include the aftermath of California wildfires, Texas toranadoes, and Hurricane Katrina. Blends created for abused and problematic horses also benefit dogs, cats, and other species. Free consultations: 760-728-9900, BlackWingFarms.com