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Monday, 26 March 2012

Client Stories~The Biter

I work with troubled horses.
I listen to the stories as told by the owners, determine where the miscommunication stems from, which energy centers are at play and work from there.
The 'story' on this horse as told prior to my arrival at the farm went something like this.
The horse, a paint gelding, was bred and raised by the owners. They also owned the dam and sire.
He had developed some dangerously bad habits including vicious biting and striking towards people.
The owners had spent grand amounts of money hiring trainers to help with the problem and had been advised that the horse was dangerous and should be put down.

His name was Night Star but his nick name was Bitey Boy.

I was visited (dream time) the night prior to travelling to the horse's home by a red and white paint horse. He was quite stunning and told me simply that there was a simple mis-communication.....

My husband Les and I arrived at the farm and as I walked around the barn towards the horse paddocks I fully expected to see a red and white paint...but there wasn't one there! This was a first for me! I had never been incorrect 'in knowing' a horse that had connected prior to the actual visit.

The owners greeted Les and I and asked if we would mind waiting for a few friends of theirs to arrive who wanted to witness the session. I didn't mind at all! This gave me an opportunity to get a feel for the people, the other horses and the place.

The horse was fetched from his paddock. Two people, each with a lead rope stretched to its limit were on either side. The horse in the middle could not reach either handler to bite.

Bitey Boy was turned loose in a small paddock and immediately trotted to his owner's side with the fence safely between them.

The horse reached his head through the fence board and his owner immediately began to flip his fingers playing with the gelding's muzzle. Les noticed this right away and asked me quietly if I was going to tell the owner to stop....but I waited for the rest of the 'audience' to arrive and continued to watch this exchange between horse and owner. I also made note of an older mare nearby who looked very much like Bitey Boy and was told she was his dam. She sent disapproving looks towards the gelding frequently which told me she was not happy with the state of his energy system.

Ten or fifteen more minutes passed and the rest of the group arrived.

I began by telling the owner to stop playing with the muzzle.

I explained that in the language of the horse, and especially (but not limited to) male horses, the interaction with each others 'lips' sets up a play session. Play to the horse is or can be running, bucking, rearing, striking......BITING!
The owner was inadvertently asking the horse for 'play'..... and was getting what he asked for....but not liking it....and so the platform for one of the most common forms of mis-communication between horse and human was built....solidly.

I picked up my rope halter and walked to the gate to enter the paddock....I knew the people who were familiar with the behavior of this horse were concerned for my safety and so I 'worked' my energy system to override their worry. I moved their 'fear' (root) off of my lower back, into the ground while at the same time moving it up and over my head.....

The gelding turned to face me then quickly trotted towards me.
He turned his head sideways and low to move in to bite at me (play), and I connected physically with my fingertips just below his eye. He stopped. He looked at me for a brief moment and then snaked in to bite again.
I connected with him below the eye, this time with the heel of my hand while at the same time 'enlarging' my energy field substantially.

Bitey Boy stepped back and away in quiet submission....and Night Star returned.

I slipped my halter on under his nylon one and quickly went to work opening all of his energy centers using MareSpeak....

He was wonderful to work with. He was intelligent. He connected immediately. He was very sorry for his behavior! He JUST didn't know! Nobody told him in his language that he wasn't supposed to PLAY!
He THOUGHT he was doing the right thing!...and when I asked him not to play it was immediate. He understood.

As Night Star's energy began to flow and balance his mother moved closer to the fence...grazing...and said thank you.

Night Star pictured above with his owner. His energy is just about to move up through the crown and brow....his muzzle is 'set'...his ears are back. He is not quite sure how to 'be' with his owner in this new arrangement.

Soon after this photo was taken the energy flowed 'out' through licking, chewing and yawning. The horse and his owner both relaxed and we moved forward into establishing a new relationship. Not once did the horse offer to bite..not even a flicker of  a thought in that direction. He became a quiet gentle sweet boy and was led around by both of his owners including the wife who had been TERRIFIED of him.
His people truly loved him..and it showed.

Night Star was turned out again and we went to the house for coffee. The owner ran upstairs to get a picture of Night Star's sire (deceased) and brought it to me......he is the red and white paint and is buried on the property.... :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Traits Of The Herd

The Medicine Herd was finally turned out together yesterday. This has been a long time coming and was a very satisfying event to watch. In the sequence shown above ten month old APHA filly Sirius Eclipse locates a 'good grounding' spot and embarks on a vigorous roll. Life doesn't get much better than this for a young horse who was lucky enough to have been born in a very natural herd environment. She lived with the entire herd including several broodmares, yearlings and the herd sire along with a herd of cattle in Northern British Columbia. By my choice she and her sisters were only handled at the time of loading to be delivered to us at Highfields on Vancouver Island.

To the average horse person horses roll for 'fun', to help shed long winter coats or to help alleviate pain during a bout of colic.

While these are all valid observations I have also noted that horses return to the same locations to roll in order to ground their energy back to Mother Earth.

Children with emotional imbalances, children labelled with such things as Aspergers, Autism, ADD and ADHD when given the opportunity will freely gravitate to these locations. If you plan to assist children or anyone for that matter take special note of where your horses go 'to ground' and allow the people to have access to these areas with or without the horses nearby. I have witnessed autistic children stretch their arms out from their sides, 'float' their fingers using them as antennas and RUN straight across large fields to get to these spots!

The two older horses, Jet and Luc, are usually very tight together. The two sister fillies Sirius Eclipse and Trinity Red Star are rarely seen separate from each other. In these photographs you will notice The bay and white Sirius is with the bay Luc and the chestnut filly is with the chestnut mare. You'll also notice they are apart from one another even though all four get along in a tight group surprisingly well.

It could be said that the fillies choose to be with the horses bearing similar colors as their dams which could be part of it, however in my years of studying groups of horses I have found that they tend to 'color group' themselves even when the dams of the foals have been entirely different colors than the horse of choice. I feel that horses will try to group into similar colors and / or patterns in order to fool the eyes of predators much the same way as zebras and their stripes fool the eyes when they are grouped. It is harder for the predators to determine where one horse begins and ends. I first began to notice this behavior pattern while observing a mixed herd of approximately sixty horses. The buckskins grouped, the bays grouped, the chestnuts grouped and the patterned horses including Appaloosas and Paints grouped since there were fewer of those.

Grey / white horses were often completely ostracized from the herd, set apart and kept at a fairly great distance. I've had all kinds of thoughts about this behavior over the years and worked through thinking that perhaps because greys / whites are prone to cancers that illness kept them 'over there'.
I had a young grey mare arrive and when she was turned into the group I was quite surprised at how vicious the horses were with her. I tried all manner of combinations of turnout scenarios trying to find her some quiet companionship which she desperately wanted and sought.
Nothing was working until one day I began to think about the 'color grouping' behavior and covered her with a dark blue blanket.
When I turned her in with the horses she was immediately accepted!!!
This helped to dispel my theory on the cancer genes at least and started me on a few different trials.
The horses have shown me that unless a grey is turned out with other greys or light colored horses then she / he becomes like a white flag waving to show predators where the herd other words they draw attention to the group much like a surrender flag.

Luc and Jet's Role as Teachers

Normally when I do turn out, Jet goes out first (lead mare) then Luc since he is a big gentle non confrontational giant.
There is somewhat of a maze of paddocks and riding rings that the horses have access to and must make their way through on their way out to the one and one half acre grass paddocks. 
Jet, when let free immediately turned and sped out to pasture.
Luc on the other hand waited quietly, watching as I went to bring the two fillies. Trinity ran into the ring with him and he continued to wait. 
I brought Sirius into the ring, turned her loose and that is when Luc gently and quietly 'gathered them up' and led them through the maze out to grass.
His job complete, he dropped his head to eat grass. 

Meanwhile Jet took over, circled 'her girls', sped them up and took them around the pasture in two turns. First to the left with her head low, snaking as some call it....looking along the fence lines. For the second turn Jet went to the right with her head held high scanning from left to right as she ran with them.

This is how a mare will show her foals the boundaries. Probably more importantly this is how the mare checks for predators lurking in and under fences and hedgerows (looking low) and up into the trees (looking high)...she keeps her foal on the inside away from the potential danger until she has checked things out thoroughly. 

I use this in MareSpeak often, especially when working with frightened horses. As long as the 'foal' (any horse) knows you have checked things out and continue to 'watch' they will be able to relax..otherwise they must be on the alert for themselves and for you too.

Friday, 23 March 2012

This morning I will be feeding the horses early in order to go to court......
This morning is the sentencing for two men who killed an elderly horse by hanging him from an excavator.
I knew the horse..briefly.
He along with two little mares had run away from home and found their way to a farm from where I worked some three years ago.
The owner couldn't catch them and so I was called up from the rear of the farm to see if I could get them for him.
All three horses ran to me....I slipped a halter on the old gelding and handed him to the man and then slipped halters on the mares for him as well.
He jumped on one of the mares bareback and led the other two home. Before he left I asked him about the Appaloosa gelding's age because he was awfully thin.
He said he was in his late twenties and that he was being switched to different feeds so they could put some weight on him....we talked a bit about the possibility of my farrier trimming their feet since all three of the horses had very long feet....and then he rode off.

Some months later I learned about the 'horse hanging'....and so I attended the court hearings primarily to see who had done see what kind of justice would prevail for this old horse.

Today I will attend to hear the sentences.
Today I will try to 'feel' what circumstances in the lives of these two men led them to a place where they could think that this was okay.
What circumstances closed their hearts to this four legged being?

Today I will plan ways to make sure that the boys and girls who walk through my life never get to this closed place..............

Today I will make positive movements toward changes in laws here in Canada and elsewhere that currently list horses as 'equipment'...and not sentient feeling intelligent beings.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Day In The Life Of The Medicine Horse Woman..

so...I know that animals and birds bring me messages. Sometimes I am slow to catch on my favorite eagle....the largest by far of all who visit....was perched looking directly into the house. They usually have their backs to this direction while they scan the valley below for potential edibles. I should have known by this 'change' that there was a message in her being I was busy. Busy taking pictures, busy uploading them, busy answering questions via chat on Facebook...
Then I realized time was ticking and I needed to have my bath and get ready for the day. My bath has a HUGE window (as do all the rooms in this house) and I could still watch 'her' sitting in the tree..looking in. I began to think..thoughts...and I quickly knew they were not original to me. Not mine...and so here it goes.
"We are releasing old templates and are wide open as of today to rewrite anything we want. Revisit old hurts if you must..then release her if you like and she will take them where they need to go. Recreate....recreation....what a perfect time while Mercury is retrograde..."

The remainder of the 'usual' day was spent with the Medicine Horses, taking care of all their needs as well as the needs of my husband Les and our dog Maggie and myself. Meals cooked, house cleaned, dog exercised (as much as this twelve year old dog really wants to be exercised.....not that much!) and then at 4:30 pm I headed out to make a farm call.

A friend who I had not seen in a while had asked me to take a look at her relatively 'new' horse who has been exhibiting a lameness for close to six months. I hadn't been to this farm as yet and was quite surprised to find such a lovely facility tucked away so neatly and so conveniently close to the city of Victoria.

The horse is a VERY tall handsome Hanoverian, well mannered and obviously very much loved and well cared for.

The story unfolded to disclose several veterinarian visits, a few minor surgeries, corrective shoeing attempts, chiropractic adjustments, exercise regimes seemed no stones had been left unturned...

My initial observations were that he seemed anxious which expressed itself with 'lippiness' and quick head movements. When his blankets were removed I could see he was well cared for. Sleek glossy coat, well muscled and an overall look of good health.  I placed my hands on him and felt nothing. There was no 'life' under the coat. His eyes were bright and 'with it'...he was noticing me and what I was doing, but he had no corresponding or 'return' of feeling to my touch.... I don't mean to confuse this feeling I was looking for with is response which is different.

This lack 'of feeling' tells me that a horse has a somewhat restricted flow of force and since the lameness was expressing itself in a front leg/foot this means the main restriction is through the heart center.

I began by opening all of the major centers by starting at the tail head, moving forward and paying special attention to the legs and joints. His yawning, a sign of flow moving forward and off the physical system, began quite quickly and continued throughout the session.
As I worked..I taught the owner how to mimic what I was doing. I often do this in order to help the horse remain open, as well as helping the owner remain open.
The 'method' is simple and easy to remember especially if you have tried it once or twice.

Because he is so very tall, probably close to 18 hands! working on the crown (poll) was tricky for my short self to accomplish from the ground!
He tended to brace upwards through the neck as most horses with who have been living with restricted flow will.
As the energy moved up the system into the crown area his resistance increased and he came up 'on the muscle' even more. He began to shake his head vigorously and then very quickly and dramatically dropped his head and softened.

I returned to the tail head area, ran energy through the system and I noticed that he immediately licked and chewed which told me the energy was able to move through the entire system freely. His body slackened, his ears remained relaxed and forward and he said 'Thank you' the way horses do with a soft loving look.

I noted and mentioned to the owner that the horse's front feet were of unequal lengths due to his latest shoeing. His conformation is fairly good and so I suggested the farrier should take more care in that area with him. This small adjustment alone can make a HUGE difference to the weight bearing and way of going for a horse. Details....

We put him in his stall to relax, eat his supper and to continue to process the energy in peace and quiet. His owner and I stood talking about the session when we were approached by another boarder in the barn, a woman, who asked me "What did you just do?".."Is this T-Touch or something?".."Who are you?"
To which I replied  "I am Tina Barnes, no this is not T-Touch, I ran energy through the horse's system the way his mother would do and now he feels better!"

She said "I can SEE THAT!", but I didn't see what you did!" .. and so she asked if I would show her sometime.

As it happened her daughter was just finishing up a lesson on one of their horses and so I said I could quickly give them the Cole's Notes version of MareSpeak, Harmonic Focal Point Balancing which is what I call this thing I do :)
View HFP Balancing Here

The mare is a lovely Arab/Quarter Horse cross and the 'story' is that she hates to be touched...anywhere by anyone.
She would tolerate it but did not like it and she expressed this dislike through biting and kicking, especially when being saddled.
The daughter put the mare in cross ties and the mare immediately became agitated, flipping her head, dancing in the cross ties.
The daughter moved away and I moved in beginning by showing them how 'loaded' the mare was throughout her entire system.
I held my hands about six inches off of her 'near side' barrel and the mare twitched rapidly for several seconds. I dropped my hands, waited and repeated by raising my hands once more. This time the twitching was slower and less frequent.
Again I dropped my hands, waited and brought them up and placed then on the physical horse. She was soft, yielding and quiet. I turned to look at 'her people' and their mouths were open and a few tears were evident.

Since I was there and had the time I finished up with an overall quick balancing paying special attention to the mare's mouth.
She had 'told' me there were problems there.
I ran energy by placing my thumbs in her cheeks and while doing this I noticed a few sharp edges on her teeth and so I relayed this information to the owner.
She told me that the mare had regular dental exams and work and so I suggested that this had either been missed or a recent change had taken place.
Her owner was concerned and said she would call the vet in right away.

I finished this session by asking the daughter to come and touch the mare all over to see if there would be any reactions and there weren't any of note.
I could tell the 'people' were quite surprised at how quickly the horse changed..but that is how it works! Simple and quick!

A third horse owner approached to ask questions but since it was getting past the time I had promised Les I would be home I promised to visit the farm again one day soon.

And so that is a day in the life of the Medicine Horse Woman!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Day In The Life...

A day in the life of the Highfield Farm Medicine Horses....

The horses come first..always.

I press the button to start my coffee brewing and head to the mud room to slip on my boots and waterproof jacket. We live on the rain coast of British Columbia, Canada which means wet wet wet conditions for much of the year. This gives us lush vegetation but also presents some challenges for the care of the horses.

The pastures are smaller than most since we live in an a neighborhood of small acreages, mainly five acres segments with a few larger sections nearby. The small size means we have to manage them well so this time of year, mid March, we try to keep the horses off the grass until the ground stabilizes.

Luc, Jet, Sirius and Trinity have individual walk out stall / paddock combinations with 'hawg fuel' lining the paddocks. Hawg fuel or hog fuel as some call it is a by-product of the forestry industry and is made up of shredded bark and scrap lumber. The stalls are rubber matted for the comfort of the horses and to make clean up easier.

The walk outs allow the horses to have some manner of choice.
Choice is important to the overall well being and contentment of the horses.

I begin their feeding with a combination of oats, corn, barley, soy hulls and beet pulp, canola meal and a vitamin mineral supplement paying special attention to a particular ingredient that our land lacks...selenium.

Next comes  hay which is grown on the land owned by my friend and neighbor....He is a very meticulous farmer and the hay is always very good quality. Good hay is difficult to find on the south part of Vancouver Island due to the wet conditions and the growing season and so we feel very blessed to have good hay so readily available to us.

The horses have hay available to them MOST of the time, either in their hay racks or outside on the ground if weather permits.

They each have two 5 gallon water pails which are kept clean and full and are checked several times per day.

Salt is added to their daily ration with salt blocks are available to them outside. They rarely use the blocks until they move out to pasture.

While the horses are happily eating I begin to clean the manure from their stalls and paddocks taking care to keep mental notes as to color, consistency, content and amounts for each.
Any deviation from the norm will alert me to any potential imbalances in their system.

Alley ways are swept, feed is measured out and set to soak for the noon feeding and since today is a Medicine Horse Visit Day special attention is paid to their grooming.

Each horse is thoroughly groomed...and balanced make sure they are in the best possible frame of mind to work with the people who will be entering their 'bubble of biology' later today...

For the next hour or so the horses will contentedly finish their breakfast and since it is a fairly warm sunny day they will 'meditate'.
Pictured above...From left to right..Sirius Eclipse, Trinity Red Star and Jet represent the mares as they meditate in preparation for their day with a group of young First Nations children which took place earlier in the week.
Luc lives on the opposite side of the barn and he too is in a meditative state...

'Guests' are scheduled to arrive at 1 pm., our preferred time for visits. I find the horses are at their most relaxed when they are not expecting feed or turnout so fairly soon after they have finished the noon feed during winter months works best.

At 12 noon I top up their water buckets after refilling the hay mangers and giving them their 'grain'.
Paddocks and stalls are picked and tidied and the alley way swept.

The guests arrive and the horses begin to 'work'.
More often than not they will have already connected to the clients long before arrival! as do I.

I greet the guests outside the barn door and as we enter I can see Luc watching us with ears pricked forward. Sirius can be seen and Trinity's nose is poked through the front of her door. No sign of Jet. She has remained outside for now.

It is highly unusual for the horses to be inside and I take note of this.

They usually wait outside until 'entrainment' takes place, the time when the energies of the group harmonize with the energy of the 'place'.
Their eagerness tells me they 'know' these people. They feel 'at ease' with this new energy.
Jet's absence tells me we have no need of her 'specialties' since she only presents herself to deal with particular imbalances.

I feel comfortable and familiar with these new guests as well.

We walk through the barn as I give a short description of the horses. I speak a little about how they came to be at Highfields  and about the large heart gene which they all share. I describe what the horses are doing as they 'lick and chew the air', rub a leg, sneeze and the like. Questions are asked and hopefully answered. One of the guests casually remarks about a sensation in her hands and I speak on that subject for a while explaining that the horses are pulsing energy through our collective system creating more flow especially healing energy flow.....

I bring Luc into the aisle for some 'up close and personal' work and Luc responds to the guests in a very deliberate way which speaks to their own wisdom and healing abilities.
He shares knowledge between us in a way I have seen and felt him do. I have yet to witness this from the others.

Emotion comes up for the guests, some tears gather and I take this opportunity to talk about emotion being energy in motion....nothing more, nothing less and I tell them not to attach stories to the emotion...but these people already have a deep understanding of this process and seem to welcome it with open hearts.

Luc spends what seems to be a very long time with them and to close the session I ask them each to place their hand on any spot upon Luc that they are drawn to touch.

One guest places both of her hands on either side of Luc's jaw and he exhibits a slight involuntary jerk as though he has received an electrical shock which tells me she (the guest) has ample healing energies emanating from her hands..Luc softens under her hands and she steps back.

The other guest steps forward and is drawn to place his hand on Luc's forehead.
Luc rarely allows anyone to touch him there, and the guest seems to intuitively know this. He stops short of physical contact, hovering close by and then gently makes the connection.
Luc allows this to happen and gives a long soft sigh, a release is palpable and he relaxes his hindquarters to show contentment.

I offer to put Luc back into his paddock and he agrees.

The fillies and Jet are visited briefly. Each gives a short scan and moves away to say all is well...nothing more to be done.

The guests bring bags of apples and carrots to the horses and so offerings are made with the remainder of the treats held to be added to the dinner ration.

Goodbyes are said and the Highfield Farm Medicine Horses have completed their working day.

I leave the horses in their quiet spaces to simply 'be' in order to give them the opportunity to continue to process the energies of the day.  I watch as they take turns rolling on the earth, standing and giving themselves a good shake.
Trinity finds a sunny dry spot to lie down and naps for a time while the others sleep standing up. They remain in various states of rest and meditation until dinner time when they are again fed, watered, picked out and brushed off.

I check each one for signs of being 'on the muscle' or distressed in any way but finding none I know all is well at Highfields for the night.....

Friday, 16 March 2012

Our Team

Luc aka Lucullus meeting a new friend and working his magic.....
Luc is 21 years old. He was imported from Germany as a 4 year old by the owners of Spruce Meadows in Calgary Alberta and it is rumored that at one time he sold for $250,000.00.
He was successful in both the jumper and dressage rings earning himself a good reputation and many honors in both.
Luc developed a 'lameness' which his owners tried desperately to diagnose and treat, but to no avail.
Luc is enjoying his retirement at Highfields and is once more earning a world wide reputation as a magnificent Medicine Horse.
His lameness has disappeared.

Jet shown with Luc and Tina Barnes during a session....

Jet is 20 years of age and was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. Her registration papers show her as having been sold several times especially throughout her early years.
Jet finally found a long term home and love with a local Vancouver Island woman who enjoyed Jet for many years.
Jet developed navicular and was eventually gifted to me.
Jet has a desire to work with women who have reproduction problems, men with 'closed' hearts and children who have shut down....she also expressed a desire to raise foals of her own and since she was aged and not the best candidate to breed we chose instead to purchase two foals 'for her'...
The foals, three in all, arrived at Highfields in late September and Jet is the happiest we have ever seen her. It is our intention to allow this family to flourish in as natural an environment as we can produce on our small acreage.

Sirius Eclipse .... looking forward to the day's work
Trinity Red Star ..... all heart with tons of soul

Luc and Jet with a group of young animal communicators
Luc balancing a client ...
always an eagle or two watching over the work.....

Tina Barnes and The Medicine Horses...

I am Tina Barnes and this is the blog I have created to speak on behalf of my herd of Medicine Horses and me...
Through this forum it is our desire to awaken and expand the knowledge of ancient healing wisdom as taught by the animals to humans.
Animals have always led the way...humans watched how the animals chose plants, water sources and places and the humans would follow the lead.
At Thirteen Moons Farm our horses are teaching us all of the time about 'medicines' and the way they heal themselves, each other and us.
Come along on the journey...The Way of the Medicine Horse.
Visit our academy website