This morning I go out to throw some hay out for the herd and find Timmy limping badly. He appears to have hurt his front right leg. He is picking it up as though the knee feels sore. I checked for stones first just to make sure but it wasn’t that. It was a good start to our day though as I had to ask him to pop his toe down so I could clean it out as he couldn’t seem to lift it. You will see him lift it a couple of times in the video. The fact that he couldn’t pick it up for long made me think it was something else and we would need to discuss it.
What is interesting though is this leg is the leg he leans into when he cribs. He rocks backwards and forwards put weight into and taking weight off that leg. I just kept an eye on him for a while and saw that he was struggling to find a comfortable way of cribbing and the frustration was having the affect of him moving into a place of not cribbing. Now was the time to find an alternative way to manage any pain. There is always a bigger picture and the picture just got bigger and bigger..
After I had had something to eat myself and the herd had eaten so were all feeling comfortable and relaxed I invited Timmy to tell me about this problem.
Firstly I approached slowly going into the present moment and inviting him to join me. I wanted to start from a distance as I had done two sessions over the last two days where he had told me where he was happy for me to be and it was quite a distance away. I got closer and closer just going into the present moment for as long as he could and then using mindful regard as soon as he came out. His thinking levels were at about four to start and came down to a three and he was accepting me at his shoulder. He also allowed me to just check his leg for any swelling but I didn’t find any. After that he led me into the barn, the same place we had done the long session about sensing into his first moments as a foal.
I spent quite a bit of time just being present and then regarding him when his mind came up. I kept feeling that there was something more going on but it seemed he needed me to work with him on his leg first. Then I got a sense of his back. When I got that sense he pushed me with his head on to the other side of him. This is where I have started the video clip as you can see his response. I sensed a really uncomfortable feeling at his sacrum area, or in me I sensed it at my lower back like a fiery ache, not a throbbing pain, but a burning aching sensation.
After a little while it was as though Querida (the pony at the front of the video) got a little uncomfortable and had to come out and eat so I asked her to back off a bit and went back to the present moment. You will also see the rest of the herd and their various reactions to this moment. Risada, the grey furthest back, responds beautifully when Timmys’ back is acknowledged. She seems to show us what is about to happen.
Timmy moved forward, and rubbed his sore knee with his head. Then I felt the desire to put a hand on his back and this act seemed to release something in Timmy and he yawned a lot out.
That wasn’t the end though. We went back into the present moment / mutual regard for another hour or so (my camera battery ran out as the clip I have included was already an hour in). He did stretch into his back twice and we had a bit more licking and chewing. No more yawns. He did get down to a level two and almost a one but couldn’t quite do that.
It was an amazing session not only from the perspective of finding a lovely communication with him, but also that this is coming out from the cribbing sessions. It is like we are finding a way together of breaking the cycle of cribbing to mask pain / cribbing causing pain. The entire diagonal issue causing the discomfort in the knee and back is the diagonal he always cribs on. It never changes. But I did get a sense that the back issue is probably older than the cribbing.
We will see how things are in the morning.