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Mare Came From An Abusive Background

15 August 2011 No Comment

Mare Came From An Abusive Background
We asked horse expert Susan Travis.
More about Susan.

Two years ago a bought a gaited trail horse. As soon as I got her home it was obvious she had been mistreated and hated people. I spent 2 months trying to work with her and at my wits end sat down in the middle of her stall one evening. It took her 1/2 an hour to come over and to make a long story short that started us on the right track. Today she is a wonderful horse. Confident, sweet, and the best trail horse I could ask for. She still has two areas that I don’t know how to deal with yet. One being anyone within sight that raises their arms, she still gets upset and tense, the other being anyone that raises their voice, same reaction. She still must have terrible memories of the way someone treated her in the past and I’d love any help I can get to get her past this. She was only three when I got her. I am very careful with her so as not to ever violate the trust that has taken two years to build and I never yell at her, however she is kept with two yearlings and we do sometimes correct them verbally. This is when my mare will get upset and turn for the hills! I should mention most of the time I spend with this mare she is loose and has the option to walk away. My goal being to get her to stay put because she wants to not because she has to. Will I ever be able to erase her bad memories or at least over ride them? Considering the fact that I saw her teeth anytime I made direct eye contact with her or the soles of her feet when ever she thought she had a clear shot, we have seen many miracles these past few years. And all without raising a hand to her. It’s been slow going but so very worth while. Now for some help with the finishing touches please. Thanks for your time,


Dear Amy:
This mare told me she feels very foolish when she runs at the sound of a raised voice or flinches from a raised arm. So she’s aware of the work you’ve been doing together and is desirous of overcoming her fearful reactions. Time is your ally in this – and patience. The more attached you are to the outcome, the more pressure you create – pressure that she feels and to which she responds with more rather than less tension. As in all things in life, if you can “allow” her to be/feel whoever/however she needs moment to moment, that’s “love”. That allowing, loving energy is what will help her to feel the inner peace and confidence that you long for her to feel. Once you embrace this paradox, it will help you immensely with all of your animal friends and life’s issues and goals.

At the same time as you accept her just as she is, with her thoughts, fears and reactions, hold a picture in your mind’s eye of her being relaxed, confident and joyful and “feel” the joy and satisfaction you expect to feel when that occurs. See it and feel it as if it is happening now. Thought plus emotion creates reality. Picture the results you desire, feel the expected emotion, and you will create a picture she can embrace as her reality. Horses are very intuitive and very willing to work with humans so are adept at picking up our pictures and helping us to create them. Please don’t have a timetable. She tells me she’s pretty happy with developments so far and has achieved a satisfactory, comfortable level of happiness so doesn’t feel the urgency you feel about this, although again she assured me she’s working on it.

Her reactions are ’embarrassing’ to her; what she takes away from an incident of flying off is not lasting fear. She is reacting to stored fears but isn’t creating new fears as a result of the incident. Be patient and enjoy your success!
Good luck,

Susan Travis

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