Beau is a stunning horse up in the Seattle area who has suffered a few injuries landing him in pasture for the last year to heal. His human loves him dearly but was concerned about bringing him back into the hunter/ jumper ring. Her main questions were: Would he like to retire? Does he still want to jump? Why does he shake his head when riding?
Beau clearly offered me a few visuals demonstrating how fun it would be for him to jump again. He absolutely did not want to retire and was doing the best he could to show his excitement to get back to work. We chatted about different disciplines and the possibility of dressage (no jumping) for the year while he rehabilitated. He easily understood that he needed to go slowly with getting back in shape and let me know that the dressage lease would be just fine. He felt confident about the transition and was pleased to give his opinion with regards to his future.
Lastly I asked him about the head shaking that neither vet nor trainer could find cause for. He didn't respond with images (other than what the shake looked like) or words, he gave me sensation. Right between my eyes in the center of my face I felt tremendous sinus pressure. After sharing this with his rider she relayed that when he gets a face massage he visibly relaxes. We decided it would be best for him to get specific medical attention for the sinus area.
Not long after our chat Beau had a chiropractic masseuse that specializes in head trauma. She helped to drain the excess mucus from his eye and nose area and gave supplements for maintenance. He no longer shakes his head and is currently rehabilitating at a dressage facility loving life.
Giving these incredible animals a chance to share their opinions and offer solutions is an enormous gift to them. Most horses follow humans blindly learning either to trust their caretakers into the unknown or not to. Simple conversations can offer horses (or any animal) so much relief, empower them and give them a sense of value that their voice is important enough to be heard.