Animal Medicine: Horse Medicine Teachings From My Friend Chad
A Story About Horse Medicine
Our horse, Chad, has been a tremendous teacher in my life. Horse medicine, in general, is about personal power and
more specifically, proper use of personal power, so typically their lessons may be rather intense.
Mine with Chad certainly fit into that category. The story I want to share with you involves the day that Chad got
hurt, very badly, during the exact time period in which myself and my soulmate, Mac, were having a heated argument
inside the house. When we both got up from the table and left, going outside to cool off, we saw Chad. He had gotten
his leg (back, right) caught in Barbed-Wire and cut it to the bone.
The vet did not hold out a lot of hope for his survival. I wasn’t sure he could make it either. I remember staying
with him for two and a half hours, the day it happened, and being sure he was passing on. He was lying down, barely
breathing, when his eyes began to glaze over. Suddenly, I was gripped with a desire to tell him how much he had meant
to me. I began to talk of all the lessons he had taught me. Since I had known Chad, he had helped me walk through
a great deal of fear. He used to regularly terrorize me when I tried to walk through the pasture to the creek, raring
up as if to kick me or following behind me and trying to bite me.
At one point, I was so full of fear that I decided I just wouldn’t go to the creek at all. I went through the cycle
of fear and then, helpless anger, until somehow I got the courage to stand him down. I learned then, that he had
only wanted my attention and that I could actually hear him speaking to me, when the fear was absent. I knew when
he wanted a treat, like a banana peel, or when he wanted to be brushed. I could really hear him. This strong telepathic
awareness was such an amazing thing to me.
I shared all the memories of our time together, thanking him over and over as he lay there. I knew the wound would
be slow to heal. I knew it would be very, very painful. I told Chad that we’d help him heal if he decided he wanted
to stay and that, if he decided to pass on, I would honor that decision too. I promised to stay with him until he
passed, if that was his choice, and to do prayers for his good journey to the other side. As I said these words,
tears streaming down my cheeks, Chad took a deep breath and let it out. The sound of silence was deafening for the
next three seconds. Then, suddenly, he jerked his head up, sat up, and jumped straight up. I said “Okay, I Guess
You’ve Made Your Choice. You Want to Live.”
I pondered the timing and the serious nature of Chad’s injury, knowing it to be interconnected with my own life
that of and my soulmate, Mac. The Creature Beings around any person automatically carry burdens for their human friends.
Injuries and illness among “Pets” is never random. It is my experience that they are always related to
the people closest to the animal who is injured. That morning, Mac and I had been in conflict. We had just exited
the house, walking toward the creek, when we spotted Chad. I knew our conflict was connected to the injury to Chad’s
leg. I also knew it was more than that, but I didn’t know what.
Time passed. Mac left to go on a trip and I had to take care of Chad for several weeks by myself. It was a hard,
hard job. The wound was Horrible-Looking and changing the bandages was painful for Chad as well as nauseating for
me. I couldn’t eat for hours afterwards, and it takes a lot to make me not want to eat. I went through feelings of
resentment, anger, compassion, sadness, fear. I worried over how to best treat the wound. I couldn’t sleep at night,
worrying that Chad might hurt the leg during the night and I wouldn’t know it or that Coyotes might get at him.
Then, Chad began to come to me in my dreams. He would be in the form of a man, talking to me about how to treat
the leg. He was very specific. He also helped me with other aspects of my life, teaching me many things. I began
to realize, about half-way through the ordeal that Chad was giving me a gift, for the care I had been giving him.
Even now, I am awed by the capacity of his Spirit. I had read about “Horse Medicine” in several texts and
noticed that most spoke of personal power as part of the medicine of this Four-Legged friend. Chad certainly taught
me a lot about personal power, both negative and positive aspects.
I learned, for example, that you cannot make a horse do anything. You can incapacitate one, to the point that it
cannot move, but you cannot force it to do anything. In fact, Chad actually hurt himself once, when I tried to force
him to stand still. He chose to wound himself, rather than do something he didn’t want to do. I also learned that
you cannot fear a horse and work with them too. A horse can smell fear, or sense it, and they do not respect it.
I learned that horses must be listened to, with attention and respect, or they are capable of holding a grudge about
it. When I thought about all these infuriating habits of Chad’s, the thing that infuriated me the most was how much
he reminded me of me. It really ticked me off to have to deal with my own unreasonableness and rigidity. The irony
is that, once I stopped getting angry at Chad for mirroring me, he stopped doing it and became docile as a lamb.
All the lessons were valuable but I still had the feeling that something else was in progress. It came time for
the Sundance I had planned to attend in August. I was torn between wanting to make sure Chad was okay and wanting
to go to the Sundance. For those who might not be familiar with Sun Dance, it is a very powerful spiritual ceremony
lasting four days.
Mac went early and I waited, to see how Chad’s leg would do. For no apparent reason, Chad began literally chewing
on the wound. It was an insane thing to imagine him doing and it drove me crazy for three days, trying to keep him
from doing it. Finally, I realized that his biting on the wound might be related to my indecision about Sundance
so I worked to accept that I might not be able to go at all. The next morning, his leg looked better than it had
in a week. It was close to miraculous, the difference. It was so much better that I felt okay about leaving him to
the care of another, long enough to go to Sundance for the last two days of dancing. It was there that the final
gift of Chad’s medicine was revealed. When I first arrived, after greeting Mac, I went to dance and Chad pranced
up in front of me (in Spirit, of course. He told me that his injury had been a flesh offering for the Sundance. I
cried tears of gratitude, feeling my heart explode toward the Sundance Tree. I knew, in that moment, that all was
as it should be and that there was something very good coming for the people.
The fourth and final day of dancing, I became very ill. I was nauseous and could hardly stand. I decided to stay
away from the arbor and rest, and go home when I felt well enough. Then, someone told me that a close Relative was
piercing in the next round. I wanted to dance in support of my Relative so I decided to try and stay. There were
four or five Horses outside the arbor before that round local riders from the surrounding community had been curious
and had ridden up to see what was going on.
As I walked toward the arbor, one of the Horses neighed. It was a piercing sound and pulled my awareness toward
the animals. As the round began, I took my place at the circle but, after only a few moments, became so sick that
I knew I couldn’t remain. I turned to leave but was motioned, at that exact moment, toward the West Gate. I was barely
able to walk but was summoned to be part of the round, inside the arbor, as was Mac. I will speak only of my own
experience, honoring the oral tradition of Sundance and leaving Mac and the others involved to speak or keep silent,
as they will. For me, it is important to share this experience with my Relatives. On my return, I was handed a black
horsetail and asked to call the Horse Spirits to come dance with us inside the arbor. It was a tremendous round,
far beyond any describing by words Multi-Dimensional and vastly interconnected with each person there.
Feel my heart. Sense the awareness of Horse coming into the body with such strength and uplifting power that the
body which moments before could barely stand, now pranced and lifted Spirit Hooves high and proud. Feel the energy
of the Sacred Prayers that Horse Spirit carried to the Tree. Share the moment when the peace which passeth all understanding
embraced me at the base of the Sacred Tree; a moment of quiet so loud and absolute that nothing of the normal world
could penetrate that Circle of Prayer though I was instantaneously aware of everything else that existed outside
of it. Feel the profound urge to stay forever, within that moment of perfect joy and calm, mingled with the bittersweet
knowing that to stay was not possible without leaving the earthly form that the assignment was much harder to return
with some small glow of that moment alive in me. This, I did. It flickers still, a promise bright.
This amazing, magical round was a long one probably over an hour yet, I danced non-stop the entire time and the
dance I danced was energetic, strong and relentlessly flowing with powerful vibrations. It was, for me, a superhuman
feat. I know I have Chad to thank, for being able to endure it. I have Chad to thank for so much. I am increasingly
grateful to the Creature Beings in my life, as the full extent of their workings begins to have awareness within
me. I know I am a challenge for them. I am not an easy assignment, so I humbly thank the Creator for these brave
beings who are willing to assist me. Let us remember our four-legged companions in a good way, and offer up their
names to Spirit with gratitude and humility. They are blessings of a magnitude that I am only now beginning to comprehend.
May we learn from their willing sacrifices and, thus, honor their Medicines in our life. Mitakuye Oyasin.
If you are dealing with personal power issues, or if you want to learn more about Horse Medicine in particular,
I’d recommend using the SunMoon Horse Totem Essence which is made from a gift of Chad’s
mane and contains his blessing and medicines. If you haven’t already, I’d also suggest ordering and reading reading
the books by Ted Andrews that you will find linked on the totem page.
This story excerpted from Moon Lodge Visions: An Acceleration Handbook
Disclaimer: It should go without saying but unfortunately it doesn’t these days. This information is in no way intended
to replace the services or advice of your current veterinarian nor is it intended to replace any needed veterinary
treatment, examination, diagnosis or prescription.
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