In July I started to explore the concept of the Abandonment of Self and how it may be linked to laminitis (see part 1)
Three of the herd suffer with laminitis, and all for different reasons.
Chocolate started to heal two years ago when I started to share peace of mind with her on a regular basis, and then became more able to be present – right here, right now- when I was with the herd. Now I find it difficult to be anywhere else when I am with them. This is what our relationship is about. Accepting who we are, and more importantly being who we are and taking responsibility for that, always.
She has only had a couple of laminitis flare ups this year, one at the first flush of spring, and one later on when we went from really hot weather and back to cool weather. She recovers quickly now and I can count on one hand the times we have had to have a conversation about the muzzle.
Of course she also benefits from a selection of herbs that we have created for her needs together. She is managing her weight well herself noe, and has really come back into herself to manage her bodies needs. She has come back from her self – abandonment, and this is also the time period that I have given up eating meat. Co-incidence? or did we stop abandoning the management of our physical health together? We could also say that wisdom comes with age – she is in her mid-twenties now.
Risada’s laminitis is very much linked to her emotions. She is a comfort eater, which sounds silly to say about a horse, as horses eat all the time, but it is the best way I can describe it. She eats fast in times of emotional stress and pressure. Her emotional worries started with saddles I believe, maybe from a really young age, when she was backed. It is difficult to say what the first event may have been that caused her to eat to relieve stress, but over the years it has just got more and more prevalent as a reaction.
When I met Risada she was in a big herd. She was described as lazy by her owners because she was often laying down and she would eat around herself. It was seen as funny and lazy, and when I first went to meet her, she was doing this, and the owner tapped Risada’s leg with her foot and actually said to her ‘Get up you lazy mare’. I started to remember this vividly when I let go of what I thought her story was, and let her story come to me. I now believe eating around her body was comfort eating as a response to seeing a human coming towards her.
Later, to get things done, I ended up playing into this behaviour even more by giving her plenty of hay when we had to get things done, like trimming. Even saddling her to go for a ride I would distract her with hay, therefore validating the ‘comfort eating’ by sharing a feeling of ‘eat this so I feel better about what I am doing’.
Without going into her whole story, suffice it to say that over time the ‘comfort eating’ behaviour got worse and she put on more and more weight and laminitis came into play. I have worked a lot with mindfulness techniques over the last few years, but mostly what I let go of with Risada was my need for her to ‘be my friend / ally / confidant’. It sounds so wrong now to have put that on her, that I can hardlywrite it down. These past two years we have ‘done’ nothing. I haven’t ignored her, but I haven’t expected / wanted /needed anything from her. It has been a journey, and didn’t happen all at once. Having no expectations is not easy, and having no worries about her health even harder, but we got there, and in late winter she starting getting healthier in her body.
She came out of winter fitter than she has been in a few years. She has been up and down over this spring and summer, and has actually lost some weight (we can see some ribs- yeah!). She still has some stubborn fat pads, and is very very sensitive to any type of pain, but she is at the beginning of really healing physically. It will take time and the most important thing I can do for her is support her, listen to her, and let go of any emotions that I may share with her that could trigger her comfort eating behaviours. She is responding well to a good muzzle that fits her comfortably, and she loves her boots which help to keep her moving round the track when the ground is hard in summer. She has her own selection of herbs and magnesium and msm have both played a big part for her. Now we just regard the heaing process. We are now communicating with awareness.
Her healing really started when I realised how strong the feelings I was sharing with her were, and how to take responsibility for my own needs. When I did that I reduced her need to find a way of coping with what I was sharing in an environment she couldn’t leave. She has now started coming an asking for things. I have a quince tree in my garden and the other day instead of going to the pasture I opened with the herd she came over to me as I was topping up their water and kept looking at me, and at the tree until I got her a quince. It was such a joyful moment because she chose to have a conversation. Okay it was about food, but thats okay, because their was no stress attached, just love, without condition.
And then there is Querida. When she came into my life it took a year or two to figure her out emotionally. She is self-confident, stoic, and completely independant. She has little patience for human feelings and is not interested in their emotions. She doesn’t want to be ‘loved’ by a human in the sense of the stories we tell ourselves about ‘loving them’.
Querida responded well to sharing being present with her, and she came to trusting me and her environment, and let go of her need to not connect in case she was abandoned again and moved on. She could feel that this was her home until death part us physically, one way or the other.
All through the development of our relationship and her relationship with the rest of the herd, there has been one thing that doesn’t fit. She treats the other mares very similar to the way she treats me. She asks for what she needs and expects to get it, but she doesn’t show any neediness towards them, or desire to be ‘friends’, just herd mates. She is happy to spend time on her own and will always do waht makes her happy at the time. Except when she comes into season, and then she becomes extremely needy and will not let Timmy out of her sight. She squeals. She pushed into him, and it exhausts him. I didn’t really think anything much about it, until this spring when I started to ask myself whether her laminitis flare ups and her coming into ehat were linked. It is al hormones at the end of the day. This year her weight has been good and she has put on very little weight over spring, but she kept getting throbbing pulses at odd times.
I started regarding her more and when she came into season (and you know about it with her so it is easy to see) I would watch her behaviour closely, and at the same time I was checking her pulses regularly (not only when she had been on grass or any of the other normal laminitis signs showed themselves). I also started comparing with the other two. I was particularly interested in when Querida would have throbbing pulses, but the other two hadn’t reacted to the grass at all. I had also to bear in mind that the other two were also starting to manage themselves better, but when there is hugh sugar levels in the grass everything cn still get thrown up in the air.
When I was getting throbbing pulses in Querida, and not in the other two (and I mean throbbing hard), I was getting more and more a feeling that something was different. Maybe we were starting to figure out a different trigger for Querida. Her desire to breed when she comes into season is all encompassing and is having a huge effect on her body.
So what do I do now? I put the question out there from a place of peace of mind and connection – “How do I help Querida to be calmer with her seasons? How can I help her to stop abandoning herself to the need to breed?”
And now I wait. The answer will arrive and her response to the answer will show itself.