Lotta and the Chickens

A few years ago I received a letter from the Veterinary Medical Board that said I had to stop doing nutrition work with horses. At the time of the letter, I was well aware of the current political climate between the VMB and alternative practitioners within California and the other states. The VMB was working on passing a senate bill that would make some alternative practices illegal if not performed or over seen by a licensed veterinarian. I knew I was not the only alternative practitioner to receive such a letter, from that perspective I didn’t take it personally.

The part of all of this that was hard for me not to take personally, was that some vet in my small horse community had obviously decided I should be one of the many practictioners to be targeted by the VMB. The idea that a member of my horse community (my other family) would have looked at me in this way was upsetting. This whole situation disrupted my reality and confused me. It left me feeling as though all I had known to be familiar was now somehow unfamiliar.

To look at me on the outside during that period in my life, you could see that I was doing fine. I understood why the letter had come and what the gift was in the lesson of the letter. But that didn’t change how my inner energy was moving. Inside I was in turmoil.

I know that when I feel that uncomfortable and disrupted that hopping on the back of a horse is probably not the best idea. But a few days after the letter arrived, all I really wanted to do was go for a ride. It just felt like riding would help to move the paralyzing feelings I was now having. So I made the decision to ride, I saddled up my mare and off we went. I was acutely aware a couple of minutes into our ride, that no amount of deep breathing or grounding was going to shift what was happening deep inside my body – my inner energy was weird! So I decided that rather than get off, which is what I would normally do, I would stay on and just let my energy be and see where this takes us.

On this day, Lotta had no interest in walking, only trotting or faster would do. Being confined to the arena seemed like agony to us, so off we went out the gate of the arena to explore. She sped up and down the road that flanks our property and finally around our property investigating every familiar but now seemingly scary corner with a snort and the occasional cartoon spook until finally she had a little explosion.

The catalyst for the explosion came from behind us, we both heard it. It sounded like a crowd of people running toward us as fast as they could thru a pile of crispy fallen tree leaves. The sound terrified her, her body tensed & her spine coiled and then she spun like a whirlwind, so fast it was hard to catch my breath. In the next moment, with one big crow hop, all four hooves lifted off the ground, there was nothing underneath us but air. When she landed she landed hard, legs slightly splayed and limbs now locked straight as if no more movement would ever be possible.

As we stood together, breathing heavily and facing the fear that had come up quickly behind us, we both saw that it was our family of friendly chickens. As Lotta & I settled back into our bodies we watched the chickens continue their enthusiastic pilgrimage around the property. It was really quite a poetic end to our exhilarating ride. She had perfectly reflected exactly how I had been personally feeling – the familiar had become unfamiliar and the truth inside me was that I found this new feeling of unfamiliarity to be somewhat terrifying.

Lotta being afraid of the chickens on this day, something she was more than familiar with, was really no different than me now feeling somewhat afraid of the veterinarians in my area.

It was clear that I could continue to allow the new found feeling of unfamiliarity to frighten me or I could just turn around and face it head on. She helped to remind me that the experiences we have only hold the energy we give to them. Her gift to me that day was amusing and healing and so very clear.

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