Re-Assurance

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I have relied heavily on signs for as long as I can remember.  I use them for enjoyment, validation, information, to guide me, to reassure me.  With out signs as guide posts I don’t know where I would be today.

One of my most significant experiences with “signs” came after I euthanized one of my horses for a quality of life issue.  Prior to that event all other euthanasia’s in my history were due to failing health, catastrophic injury, basically they were all euthanasia’s that were obviously needed.  Because of this so much of the pressure of the decision, was in a sense taken out of my hands.  Of course there was pain and grief after the euthanasia’s but there wasn’t significant guilt on my part as I felt I had no other choice in the matter.

This story began eleven years ago when I adopted my first off track thoroughbred.  His name was Assurance.  He was a stunningly beautiful boy, Steel grey, nothing but muscle and an attitude to match his huge presence.  He came to me injured.  A cracked Seasmoid bone, low level laminitis and hind gut ulcer issues.  I was informed of his ill state before he got onto the transport to come to my ranch.  I was giving the opportunity to turn him away but something deep inside said “take him”.   So I did and I have never regretted that decision.  It was a challenge & a journey that I was interested in participating in.  I learned more from Assurance during his life and after his passing than I’ve learned from 1000’s of other experiences.  Of course on the outset of our journey together I had assumed our story would be of his miraculous healing and wonderful secondary career at a dressage horse or trail horse extraordinaire but that was not to be.  Our journey together taught me about life, death, healing, perseverance, intuitive communication, the afterlife, the list is longer than I feel I can put in to words.

Assurance was with me from 2005 to 2008.  In the last months of 2008 his bad days so far out numbered his good days that the decision to set him free from his daily life of pain was made.  His passing was incredibly difficult for me.  I was tortured by guilt, fear and regret that I had done the wrong thing.  That I had given up to quickly.

To help me deal with Assurance’s passing I asked him for signs that he was ok and that I had done what was best for him.  I let him know or maybe he already knew, that I needed allot of reassurance that he was ok now that he was out of his body.  All of the signs I specifically asked for had to do with birds.   For some reason it seems very easy for both humans and animals to communicate from the afterlife via birds.  One of the very specific things I requested was that a hummingbird come up to me in my back yard and hover right in front of my face for a long period of time – this was the sign I felt I needed to see to be sure he was ok and that he forgave me.  I also asked for allot of random bird sightings and to see a turkey on our property.  In all the years we have lived here, we have never had any turkeys living on our property or even visiting. I love the wild turkeys and so wished that some of them would adopt our property as their sanctuary.

The day after Assurance left his body, the first turkey arrived.  One of my friends, who knew of my wish, named the newly arrived turkey, Assurance.  I was in awe that the sign came so quickly and it was of such a special nature.

Almost daily after his passing, something odd and out of the ordinary would occur with a bird.  They would fly right in front of my car, so close to my windshield that it would scare me.  They would land in the middle of the road in front of me and just sit there and stare at me as I slowed the car to a stop.  One day I was in the passenger seat of my car and a duck fly beside my window for a few hundred feet, we just looked at each other as we moved together at about the same speed.  I was visiting a client’s horse on their property when we both heard an odd bird noise.  I looked up in the Oak tree next to us to see what can only be described as a tropical bird, beautiful, multicolored and huge.  No doubt escaped from someone’s home or maybe just on a fly about around the neighborhood, none the less, I had never ever seen a tropical bird perched in an oak tree before.

Over and Over Assurance showed me he was ok via the bird signs.  I was feeling better each day but a bit confused as to why he would show me all of these birds but not the one very specific sign I had asked to see regarding the hummingbird.  I found it a little odd but I figured I would understand the reason for the delay soon enough.

Assurance had been gone several weeks when I awoke one morning finally starting to feel a little better and owning that maybe it was the right thing to do and maybe he really was ok.  I asked him if I could have one more sign, one more little miracle to help me be certain and to put my guilt to rest.  I asked him to surprise me with something I wouldn’t expect and couldn’t conceive of on my own. A couple of days later, I received the bill from my vet.  It was a busy month here at the ranch so I knew that there would be 3 horses listed on the bill.  The vet itemized each procedure under each horse’s name.

The first horse listed was Dreamer, my old horse.  He had a stroke 2 days after Assurance’s passing.  Dreamer survived his stroke and had a pretty profound recovery.  The next horse belonged to one of my boarders, just routine stuff.  The third horse should have been Assurance but that was not the name listed.

I immediately assumed they had added a horse that did not belong to me, it happens once in a while.  So I looked at the itemization for the unknown horse and it detailed euthanasia.  So I looked back at the name of this foreign horse and his name was Spirit, he was detailed as a grey, nine year old, TB gelding.  I burst into tears, tears of joy, tears of sadness and tears of knowing that this was very much the communication that I had asked for from Assurance.  He had given me another sign, one more miracle that was clear and undeniable.  My vet knew Assurance very well.  He would never have mistakenly called Assurance “Spirit”.  There was so other force at work that helped to send me this sign in this way. It helped me feel like I could finally let go of my guilt and regret.

A few days later, I was out in the back yard watering my plants, when I noticed for about the 100th time  the chair that on the day Assurance passed, I had placed Assurances halter, lead rope, name plate and lock of his tail hair.  I had not been able to touch those things since the day he left. It was as though if I put those things away he would be gone forever.  But today felt different.  With all of Assurances help from the other side I had let go of much of my guilt and was now pretty certain that Assurance was ok – Pain free and happily in Spirit.  I felt I could now pick up his things and finally put them away.  As I stood there watering my plants and thinking about this, a hummingbird flew up to my face and hovered maybe 5 inches away from my nose.  The bird was bright red and flying so close to me that I could feel the wind generated by its tiny wing span.  This was Assurances final sign.  It was his final good bye, his Re-Assurance that he was well and happily in “Spirit” now.  The instant it occurred I realized why he had waited to show me this specific sign for this was the first day since his passing that I had forgiven myself for what I had done.  I had let go of much of the guilt and pain associated with his euthanasia.  Had he shown me this specific sign early on it would not have had the same meaning that it had on this day.  I will be forever grateful to the big grey horse that taught as much in life as he did in death.  His gifts of Re assurance will never be forgotten.

To read more about Assurances time with me –  http://www.harvestmoonranch.net/assurance.html

 

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The Big Pretty Buckskin Horse

025I felt nervous as I led the big pretty Buckskin horse from his paddock to the stall where Bert Lambert the “sedation free” dentist would work his dental magic.  I knew that if anyone could see a horse clearly and put it into words – it would be Bert.

The big pretty Buckskin had been my attempt at finding a good riding partner.  My own mare, who I adored but was honestly never a great trail riding horse, was in her retirement now and I was looking for a new partner.  A more agreeable partner.  I had also decided that in 2014 it was time to alter my relationship with horses from mostly caring for them to spending allot more time riding and enjoying life with them.

When I had started the search I was clear in my mind about what kind of horse I was looking for.  I wanted a sound, good minded, well mannered, well seasoned, kind and fun trail horse.  I did not want another rescue, rehab project or horse who didn’t like being out on the trail alone.  It seemed so simple when I started my search but as life goes and as deep rooted issues often control our perceptions & actions, it was anything but simple.

I have long been attracted to the fiery, big, bold and somewhat difficult horses.  When I was younger and fearless this was not a problem it was an honest attraction and an honest relationship.  I loved the horses that most others shied away from.  As I aged my love and attraction for those fiery horses didn’t leave but my patience and ability to enjoy their antics was no longer present.

It can be allot like the human partners we choose.  All too often we are attracted to exactly what will eventually drive us a little crazy and leave us feeling as though something is missing.  In human partnerships I understand this well.   In equine partnerships I understand this but the transition from what I was attracted too to what I wanted was a bit more challenging.

In the middle of 2014 I began scouring horse sale ads, made numerous phone calls, spoke with many owners and looked at more than a few horses. Nothing was really jumping out at me.

Towards the end of the year I saw a horse for sale on a trusted trainer/friends website. He was a big pretty Buckskin.  We spoke and the horse sounded great.  He sounded like exactly what I was looking for.

It was all so easy.  I knew the trainer, I trusted her, I knew that her own horses were well behaved and she didn’t put up with too much silliness when it came to work time.  So I thought any horse coming from her direction would be perfect for me.  What I hadn’t really thought about was that this was not her horse.  This was a horse she was helping out and what ran thru my mind more than a few times in the weeks before he arrived was that this whole thing felt “funny”. I conveniently ignored that “funny” feeling. The big pretty Buckskin horse fit my old attraction pattern but I wasn’t fully aware of that yet.

Not long before the horse arrived at my ranch the trainer let me know that he was a bit thin and a bit off because he had been unhappy doing his previous work which was a lesson horse.  I immediately started to unconsciously dumb down my list of “what I want in a horse”.  I reminded myself that I do rehab so what’s a little time getting him back in shape.  I told myself that I’ve waited this long to have fun on the trail so what’s a little more time dealing with him being a bit off. Then the trainer added that the horse had been rather spoiled by his original owner as a foal and adolescent horse – one of my personal pet peeves when it comes to horses.  I was doing allot of talking myself into this being the right horse for me even though word by word this horse was getting farther away from what I said I wanted.  Of course it’s easy now to say I should have declined to take him but there was a bigger part of me that needed to revisit having a dysfunctional equine partnership and work thru the feelings and underlying energy that surround that issue.

The big pretty Buckskin arrived mid November 2014.  I got right to work doing what I know well.  Getting his diet in order, making appointments with the chiropractor and the massage therapist.  Giving him adequate exercise to rebuild muscle.  What I didn’t get to do was ride – the one thing I said I most wanted.

I am always fascinated by the human beings ability, my ability to say one thing that they really truly mean and yet do and settle for another.  For me ignoring what I said I really wanted was driven by the underlying energy with in my own personal make up that said I must work really hard for anything I want.  Some how if I pay this due of working really really hard then I will at some point deserve the payout.

So here I was again, doing exactly all the things I said I didn’t want to do.  The big pretty buckskin was nothing but work.  There was very little joy involved in our relationship.  I knew to get him to a place of even being able to ride him, we were looking at months of rehab and after all that who knew if he was even capable of doing what I wanted.

By mid December it was quite clear to me that the big pretty buckskin was my “old programming”.  I felt my old pattern of work, work, work and it was really painful this time.  Once I knew he wasn’t what I wanted I then became faced with what would come up for me if I decided to stop “working really hard”.  What I found in that space was the pain of giving up, the guilt of giving up, the feeling of having been wrong and of letting someone down, ugh, it was kind of a mess under there.  So I held onto the horse a little longer, a few more weeks, while I began to process the mess I was unearthing.  I had unfinished personal internal business to be dealt with before I could let go of the old programming and have what I really wanted.

At the end of December after a really awful appointment with the equine chiropractor where the big pretty horse was just non stop difficult I made a decision and emailed the former care giver to say I had made a mistake.  He wasn’t the right horse for me.  I sent the email off and with in seconds I was overcome with such intense grief, pain and the fear that I really felt I might have acted to quickly. That maybe I had given up on something potentially great.  So I emailed her right back and told her what I had just experienced and I wanted to try a little longer.  Oh my what a deep rooted issue I had.

He stayed with me one more month.  During that month I became more and more sure that this was just all wrong and that the grief, pain and fear I had felt when I told his former caregiver that I wanted to send him back was all about me and my grief, pain and fear over so many situations in my life that had created my need to give, fix and set aside my own needs and desires for the needs and desires of others.  It was such a messy web of feelings.  So complicated yet so simple.

On that morning of my final decision in January of 2015 I led the big pretty buckskin over to meet Bert, the dentist, who was here to work on our horses.  As we walked up Bert said “well that’s a pretty horse”.  I smiled on the outside and cringed on the inside.  Not a congruent behavior for me at all but I felt what was about to come and could only react.

Bert took the pretty horse and led him into the stall.  As he began to look him over Bert said this horse is off.  I acknowledged his observation.  Over the next few minutes the pretty horse was difficult, fussy and seriously ill behaved.  At one point the pretty horse decided he would use his head to smack Bert since none of the pretty horses other diversion techniques were working.  Bert avoided the hit, settled the horse and then stopped and just looked at me.  He said “why would you want a horse like this?” “Don’t you want to have fun? Horses are supposed to be enjoyable, there’s nothing enjoyable about this horse” “He’ll hurt you some day and he won’t think twice about it”

His words pummeled me.  The words opened up a wound so long closed off that I felt like I might die standing right there as he spoke to me.  The words were all true. They were all words I’d been saying too myself but to hear those words from his mouth made the difference that I needed to take my next step.  I gathered up the pretty horse and walked him back to his paddock.  As I put the horse away, I also put away my need to prove anything to myself about this horse or our relationship – I finally felt that I had nothing to prove, nothing that I owed, nothing that I needed to fix beyond my own choices and behavior.  A feeling of neutrality about the whole situation washed over me.  I could finally exhale and let go.

That night after all the horses had been put away and work was finished.  I headed into the house and emailed the former caregiver.  I said I’d decided it just wasn’t going to work out for the pretty horse and myself.  He would need to go home.  Arrangements were made and I felt nothing but relief this time.  No second guessing, no guilt, no anger, no frustration, no grief and no pain just the feeling that I had finally, after all these years stepped over a void that had been long elusive.  Those layers of pain were replaced with an honest and more current energy of I tried, I learned, I’ve made a decision and I want something different.

After the pretty Buckskin went home I continued my search for the right horse.  This time no short cuts and no compromises. I was prepared for the search to take as long as it took.  Ironically or perfectly not long after the big pretty Buckskin left my ranch a friend offered me her former trail riding horse, Rose.  Rose was no longer up to the 20 mile rides my friend did but for the kind of riding I enjoyed – Rose was perfect.

This time around it was a different kind of easy.  Everything about the horse felt right in my body.  There was no dumbing down of what I wanted, no altering of hopes or needs.  I have easily had more fun with Rose this past year than I have had collectively in the last 10 years.  With out going thru the experience with the big pretty buckskin and letting go my need to fix & work rather than enjoy I know I would not have been able to have the experience I am now having with Rose.

Reflection

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My horses reflect everything about me. They reflect how “I” really feel inside. They reflect what I wish wasn’t true about myself. They reflect the state of my physical, emotional and mental health. They reflect my strengths as well as my weaknesses. To know my horses is to know me. They reflect everything about me, nothing is off limits. For years I have loved and lived by the statement that “I go out in the morning to check on my horse and see how I am doing”. This is true in every sense of the word for me.

But as with everything, over time, things shift and evolve. Up until just a few weeks ago, my horses reflected in a very predictable manner. For Example, when I was in a bad mood and not wanting to share that with the world, my horse would be snarky with the other horses. When I was full on submarining thoughts and feelings about something I need to deal with but really didn’t want too, my mare would break out in hives or have sore hooves. When I am feeling weak and owning it, not hiding it, just accepting that it’s the way I feel at the moment, my mare will walk around greeting the other horses with foal like behavior rather than a vigorous mare squeal. On the days I feel strong and own that feeling in my body, my old quarter horse mare will move her body with the grace of young warm blood, if only for a few strides. You could say that I look to her and the other horses in my herd to get clue as to what I need to work on, shift, say aloud etc. and then my horse reflects my shift by shifting her behavior or issue as well. My horses reflect my truth.

Most recently one of my horses, my favorite old mare, reflected my progress in an area where my health was being challenged. But it was a different reflection than all the times before as in I didn’t see it in her first but rather I felt it in myself first. For a while I had felt like something was “brewing” in my uterus. Of course, human nature immediately took me to a place of fear. I thought Omg it might be something awful! But when I took a step back from the fear and really looked at it and felt it. I realized it was more about my body as a female, damage I had suffered in the past, intimacy and the life I had been living the past few years.

In the last few years my husband and I had spent so much time working non stop and being in survival that instead of feeling like the married couple that we were we had become more like great business partners. Not that we weren’t both in agreement to that, we were. We were actually quite fine in our routine, but it wasn’t balanced, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t what either of us wanted for the long term. I knew that the feeling of something “brewing” inside of me was a warning and if ignored it would go a direction I absolutely didn’t want. Intuitively I knew what to do; I suggested to my husband that we go away for a little vacation. It was exactly what we needed, we symbolically hit the re set button. We spent the weekend talking for hours, discussing changes that needed to be made to our daily life going forward and remembering who we are as a happily married couple and not just who we are as great business partners.

When we came home from our trip on Saturday I felt rejuvenated and happy that life would be a little more well rounded for now. I really felt like what ever was “brewing” was gone or at least dormant for the time being. I looked forward to seeing all my ranch friends on the Sunday after we returned and looked forward to spending time with my horses.

When I went out to see my oldest mare that Sunday morning, it was clear she wasn’t right. She looked a little colicky. It was subtle so I decided to watch her for a little while. She confirmed that she was feeling unwell by doing a few downward dog stretches in an effort to relieve some discomfort she was feeling in her abdomen. I took her out of her paddock and checked her over. Her heart rate was slightly elevated and she looked like she was rather constipated.

My first thought was wow maybe I’m not feeling as good as I thought I was because this reflection isn’t matching how I felt upon arriving home after my time away with my husband. As I am thinking about this and watching her she stretches out to pee. What occurred next shocked that hell out of me. As she pee’d she also began to release puss. Tons of puss, it was awful.

I called the vet and arranged for an appointment that afternoon. For the rest of the day until the vet arrived I watched her release bucket load after bucket load of puss. Not to be gross, but it was that bad. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What kept ringing thru my consciousness was my reason for going away with my husband – which was that something had been brewing in my body. Was she now reflecting what I could not see – a problem, an infection?? Or was she reflecting in a very physical manner the energy that I had released over the past weekend? Or was she showing me something else??
As I waited for the vet and contemplated what was happening in front of me. I reminded myself to take a step back and let intuition tell me what this is and how it will go.

I got that my mare was reflecting, in a very physical way the energy that I had released or at least set into the motion of release over the weekend. Which was great but it didn’t change the physical reality that my poor old girl had something ugly happening.

The complication with knowing what I know always comes for me when I have to balance the physical world with the energetic world. Energetically she was reflecting something good – a release, physically she was letting go of something toxic. But did that mean when she was finished releasing it would be ok? Or was her ordeal just beginning? How far did this have to go for her, for her to be ok? What did this reflection mean for me and my own body? I had no idea at that moment, I was confused.

When the vet arrived she did all her normal checking and concluded that she must have some kind of uterine infection that appeared not to be systemic. She believed the infection to be completely contained with in the uterus as my old girl had no fever and no signs of infection beyond the releasing of puss. She took some blood and suggested that I bring my mare into the vet hospital the following day. By then they would have the blood work back and they could do an ultrasound to determine the extent of the problem and proceed from there.

It sounded fine to me and intuitively felt fine so I agreed. The following day we went in to the vet hospital. The vet said all of my mares blood work was perfect there was no sign of infection or any other issues. They did the ultrasound and saw that her uterus was filled with “something” They decided the best course of action was too clean out her uterus manually and pack it with anti biotics. The vet said she would need to stay at the hospital for several days so they could repeat the procedure several times. I was getting a little nervous because I’m not a very “western medicine” kind of girl but intuitively it still felt more right than wrong to proceed with the course of treatment the vet prescribed. With in minutes of the Vet beginning the procedure he stopped and looked at me. He said he had never felt anything like this before. He was not able to find her cervix. He said the scar tissue was so prolific and everything was so swollen that he couldn’t do anything. He was perplexed. He said there were literally no common landmarks to be felt inside her.

As he was talking to me I was remembering something my mare’s previous owner had told me. The past owner had said that my mare’s purpose was always to be a broodmare. They loved her family line, her personality, her athleticism and they wanted to pass those traits on to a foal. They had bred her repeatedly thru IVF for years and she had never produced a live foal. They bred her one last time to a living breathing stallion. The previous owner said that the breeding didn’t go well. They said she had been injured in the breeding process. I didn’t understand at the time the owner told me exactly to what extent my mare had been injured but given what the vet had just found, I had an idea.

As I am recounting the conversation with the previous owner in my head I am realizing how much my mare and I have in common. So many things I had never thought about before that day at the vet hospital. She had suffered a sexual trauma as I had I. She had gone thru early sterility as had I. Just more confirmation of the reflections between horse and owner.

When I stopped thinking and started listening again, the vet said he was not at all hopeful. He said with out getting into her uterus there wasn’t much that could be done. He said the only thing he could suggest was to give her IM antibiotics and said he was pretty certain that they would do nothing as her infection was not systemic but rather localized to her uterus. He said it was really my only option since getting into her uterus seemed quite hopeless. He was very concerned about the collateral damage that might occur if they continued to try and find a cervix. So I agreed to the anti biotics and took her home.

I was crushed at first because I was fully in the physicality of it all. I was being human and nothing else for a little while. I shut down all other senses to tolerate the time at the hospital and tolerate watching my mare’s pain as they tried to palpate what was so broken.

On the drive home from the vet hospital all I could do was think that this was the beginning of the end. It took me about 24 hours to snap out of if it and ask myself, my soul, my intuition what was really going on.

The message was abundantly clear very quickly. She was symbolically/physically reflecting the release of the same energy I released when we went away for our vacation.

I let go energetically before the damage in my body could begin and now she was letting go physically after the damage in her body had begun. The reflection was clear and I knew this truth would be reflected in her body and my own in the days and weeks to come.

I’m always working on opening my intuitive abilities further. It’s my life’s goal, my work, my pleasure, my happiness. Each time I arrive at a new layer of intuitive ability and understanding I am always amazed at the miracles that lead me there. I am always surprised at how the new layer works and looks. In this case, it had always been that I looked to my horses to give me a clue as to how I was doing. They helped me see myself so clearly and by their reflection I could take action on my end.

But this time I intuitively knew how I felt first, I knew what action needed to be taken and when I finished taking that action my mare reflected the progress and release of illness after the fact. Never before had it gone in that order, at least not that I had been aware of. What was still in question was how things would play out for my mare.

By my mares second day home from the vet hospital she actually seemed to feel kind of good which surprised me, esp since I had thought that this might be the beginning of the end. By the third day it was clear, she felt great. I had taken her out for a walk or really a run as that was what she was more interested in. When I returned from our walk/run on that third day, one of my boarders came to get me. She said that it appeared as though my mare had passed something in the round pen. I thought that made total sense given how great she seemed to feel on this day. I walked over to clean it up assuming it would be more puss but what I found was not that.

What I found was almost indescribable. It was this bizarre glop of something that looked like silly putty, with strands of red running thru it and something that looked like chunk charcoal on top of the glop. My first reaction was that she had released something that was left over from all those failed breeding attempts earlier in her life. I was totally grossed out but also in awe and completely relieved. I thought she let it go and now she’ll be ok. It seemed like a symbolic proof of healing.

As my boarder and I stood there talking about it and all that had gone on, my boarder said, well that glop could also be from one of these pine trees. I was so confused. I asked her why she thought that?? She said she didn’t know but it had just popped into her thoughts. I said no way, that can’t be from a pine tree! I was incredulous but as we stood there and I felt my way thru her statement, something told me to pick it up and check. So I grabbed a manure fork and lifted it. It acted like warm silly putty. It held together but was bendy. Then I heard that quiet little voice in my head tell me to smell it. I thought to myself absolutely not! Disgusting I can’t do that. But the voice in my head was persistent, so I did what the voice said, I smelled it and it was in fact from the pine tree. It was the craziest piece of pine tar I had ever seen in my life.

For a second I thought well what does that mean then?? If it’s not from my mare and is in fact from the pine tree, then maybe she’s not done releasing and healing. Maybe she won’t be ok and maybe I won’t be ok. As I am thinking this my boarder says to me, it must by symbolic. Her statement made me smile. My mare had so many lost foals. So much damage and so much sadness in the area of being unable to conceive. The recognition melted thru every piece of my being as I settled into the knowing that my boarder was absolutely correct.

My mare physically released the sick energy in her body via the infection and energetically released the years of sadness via the symbolism that the pine tar represented. At the same time my mare reflected my own release of sick energy. The timing of the whole experience for both of us was no co incidence.

It was clear that there would be no concrete proof this time around. The proof would be in the lack of illness to come for me and the healing to come for my mare. It was also time for me to own my faith and my knowing to a new degree, a new level and a new layer. I know that there will be those people who understand what I am talking about and those who do not. But for me I get it. I am grateful for my mares healing and my mare’s reflection of my healing in her body.