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Horse Spirit Connections https://horsespiritconnections.com Fri, 29 Sep 2017 19:38:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Laminitis and Founder: The Killer of Horses https://horsespiritconnections.com/laminitis-and-founder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=laminitis-and-founder Fri, 29 Sep 2017 19:32:35 +0000 http://horsespiritconnections.com/?p=2324 AngelinaThis post about laminitis and founder is information compiled from MY perspective and research together with reflections from Rosa. I am not an expert on this subject, however I want to share what we have learned through 12 years with Angelina and now Rosa, two of our horses who have passed from this condition. The information gathered here is in particular highlighting horses who are doing the FEEL Approach who might be more sedentary than horses who are ridden on a regular basis.

Angelina, our Paso Fino, suffered from chronic laminitis for 12 years and Cushing’s for 2 or more years, passing in the early spring of 2017. Rosa, an Andalusian-Dutch Warm Blood cross, suffered from acute laminitis and founder in the late spring/summer and transitioned in the summer of 2017.


I believe laminitis impacts different breeds of horses. For instance, we have had a number of thoroughbreds for over twenty-five years and they have never had an issue with laminitis or being overweight. Their metabolism processes the sugars differently. The horses that seem more susceptible are the horses with ancestry from dry, arid countries for instance the Paso Fino’s whose ancestry stems from the Andalusians, Spanish Barbs from North Africa and the gaited Spanish Jennets. These horses were bred to move through rocky, barren lands not through lush green fields.

RosaI was speaking with the manager of the Donkey Sanctuary in Ontario about how laminitis impacts donkeys. It was interesting to learn that laminitis is the number 1 killer of donkeys! In some areas of the world, grass has been labelled as a poison to donkeys. They are a desert animal and need very little food.

As an aside, when I was speaking with Adam he mentioned that The Donkey Sanctuary in England is finding that Equine Facilitated Learning is having much more of an impact than Therapeutic Riding!

What is Laminitis?

Rosas-right-footLaminitis is an inflammatory disease of the laminae of the horse’s hoof that manifests in lameness – usually the front feet. The result is the detaching of the coffin bone from the inner hoof wall. If it is severe it will affect all 4 feet. With Angelina, it was mainly in her two front feet.  With Rosa, the laminitis first showed up in her two back feet and quickly manifested in her 2 front feet. With Angelina, it was a slow progression; with Rosa, the symptoms started May 24th with full-fledged laminitis in all four feet within 5 days and quickly became founder in her two front feet.


Without all the technical terminology, founder is when the horse’s hoof wall is so detached, the coffin bone separates and ‘sinks’ and/or rotates. In actual fact, the bone appears to sink as the hoof capsule starts to rise up causing pain and inflammation not only on the unsupported coffin bone but pinching the coronet band at the top of their feet.

You have to find the cause for the laminitis before you can fix it mechanically in the foot.

There are two main types of laminitis: EMS Equine Metabolic Syndrome (or called IR Insulin Resistant) and PPID Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction. Occasionally it can be caused by black walnut shavings.

The best website I found with comprehensive information is ECIRhorse.org which stands for Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance Group. They host an annual conference called NO Laminitis which is taking place in Arizona this year October 27 – 29, 2017.

The first step is to determine whether it is EMS or PPID – through blood tests (EMS will show above normal insulin with normal blood glucose) and an analysis of the symptoms presenting themselves.


Equine Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by a loss of insulin sensitivity at the cellular level, creating a metabolic disorder. The nutrition and health of horses is closely tied to their gastrointestinal microflora. Bacteria break down plant structural carbohydrates and produce volatile fatty acids, which are a major source of energy for horses.

Excess nonstructural carbohydrates (starches, fructans, or simple sugars) that are not digested in the foregut enter the cecum and colon, where bacterial fermentation produces byproducts including lactic acid and gas. This can lead to colic or lead to the development of laminitis which often occurs after the overeating of grain or after feeding on lush pastures rich with nonstructural carbohydrates (this is what happened to Rosa!).

The main treatment with EMS is a low-carb, low-fat, and mineral balanced diet. The hay should be soaked to remove the sugars.

There may be an underlying emotional reason that the horse may be out of balance in the first place. This makes them susceptible to various conditions. In Rosa’s case, she was experiencing grief from the death of Thor, her soul mate, the previous summer.


  • Crusty neck
  • Fatty deposits in the flanks and tailhead
  • Fatty sheath or udder
  • Puffiness in the hollows above the eyes
  • Generally overweight


PPID is also known as Cushing’s Disease and generally affects older horses. The condition is due to over-activity of one part (the intermediate lobe) of the pituitary gland resulting in the excessive release of certain metabolically active proteins and hormones. The pituitary gland is located beneath the brain, above the roof of the mouth, and releases its products in response to signals from nerves that originate in another area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Damage to these nerves causes the pituitary to enlarge and produce excessive quantities of hormones. The hormones known to be of importance are adrenocorticropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol. Excessive cortisol can cause immune deficiency causing susceptibility to infections and interference with metabolism, resulting in muscle wasting. The disease progresses gradually as the nerves to the pituitary slowly degenerate.

Horses can be both EMS and PPID. Angelina was a combination of both.

Test ACTH levels and monitor the horse’s symptoms. However, seasonality can affect the levels of ACTH concentrations.


  • Lethargy
  • Muscle loss
  • Abnormal hair coat: early or late shedding/hair growth, failure to shed out completely or at all, a long curly coat
  • Excessive sweating (Angelina) or failure to sweat
  • Onset of Laminitis occurring in February (due to changes in light) or fall
  • Abnormal fat distribution
  • Excessive drinking and urination
  • Decreased immunity

Horse-connectionsTreatment of EMS


There is no quick fix! All aspects need to be considered, creating a new lifestyle for your horse.

Pain Control

Laminitis is a very painful condition. The laminae, which normally connect the coffin bone with the inner surface of the hoof capsule, separates. The weight of the horse and the forces of movement continues to put pressure on these delicate tissues causing more tearing, crushing the blood supply of the sole and coronet, creating unrelenting pain.

It is very hard to see your horse in pain! Your first instinct is to fix it and stop the pain. However, you cannot get the pain under control unless you eliminate the cause or trigger of the laminitis.

“Remember, the goal of laminitis treatment is not to get rid of the pain; it’s to stop ongoing damage and heal the hoof. This takes time. Anti-inflammatories are given to prevent excessive inflammation which can cause even more damage. This does improve pain, but that is not their primary benefit.  While healing is going on, the tissues are weak. The horses are a large animal and can easily damage fragile laminae, especially if pain is being blocked. With acutely damaged feet, the best place for a horse to be is lying down on a soft, comfortable surface. When he feels better, he’ll get up.”

Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not advisable past the acute stage of laminitis. They will work against the horse long term, impeding recovery.

Icing their feet, especially around the coronet band, can be helpful. Easiest to do with the sport wraps that you insert the ice packs into and velcro on.

Boots with laminitic gel pads can help if it is not acute laminitis, keeping in mind that they are not a long-term solution.


Usually the laminitic horse is overweight. This can be an overconsumption of grain or after feeding on lush pastures or a combination of both. Rosa was overweight with obvious fatty deposits and crusty neck. I believe being overweight predisposes horses to laminitis and other health concerns. I learned a simple way to tell if your horse is possibly overweight – stand directly behind them and if the stomach protrudes past their rear end, they may be overweight. Of course, it depends on your horse’s physique.

Be ruthless: cut out all sugars! This includes treats even carrots and apples. Take your horse off rich pastures –  use dry lots; paddocks with lots of weeds, rocks, and sand; a paddock system called paradise paddock; strip grazing, and/or muzzles.  Angelina had a muzzle on for six months of the year.  She understood that is what she needed and was fine wearing it. There is an excellent article in Horse Journals on grazing muzzles. https://www.horsejournals.com/horse-care/feed-nutrition/grazing-muzzles

Feed your horse timothy or grass hay as the alfalfa hay is richer.  During my research, I learned that it is good to give your horse a small amount of alfalfa hay as it is rich in needed proteins.

Soak your horses hay for at least 20 minutes to remove the sugars before feeding it.

In my research, I discovered that when horses need to lose weight the minimum amount of hay they need to eat daily is 1.8% of their body weight. This involves weighing a flake of hay and doing the math. I was shocked to realize that Rosa only needed 4 flakes of hay especially as she was not moving in her stall and was not burning calories. I felt awful and had to really restrict my need to give her more food.

We soaked timothy hay cubes to provide a base for her medications which gave her some additional forage.

Take your horses off of all grain supplements even the ones that say they are just proteins and minerals.  If you read the labels you will find they average 13% to 15% NSC nonstructural carbohydrates which usually occur from the binding agents. I sourced a vitamin call Zenamin made in Canada that provides all the necessary vitamins with a 3% NSC. Ensure you read the labels of the natural supplements.

It is a good thing to get your hay (if from an outside source) and the grass from your paddocks analyzed. However due to problems with our hay supply this year, we have limited choice and will be dealing with a number of different suppliers. In addition, each of our paddocks have a different mix of grasses and weeds.

Generally, grass sugars are higher during new growth early in the Spring, immediately after a stress period ends, and in the fall.  The plant stores most of its sugar in the lower 3-4 inches of the plant stems, and in its budding seeds – and levels can vary significantly due to a variety of factors & influences including a very wet spring and summer. Sugar levels can fluctuate hour by hour, depending on the weather and amount of sunlight. Usually the time of the least amount of sugars in the grasses is between 5am and 10am. A great website is www.safergrass.org.


In the wild, horses move an average of 20 miles a day, over rugged terrain, to seek water and forage keeping lean and fit. Domesticated horses, in a FEEL environment, can stand in a field of grass with very little movement –  being content to munch on easily accessible grass, when not being of service to humans. Our horses are very happy to do this. Movement is important to a horse’s circulation, digestive system, stress relief and most critically keeps the blood flowing into their feet.

Our horses are outside 24 hours a day except when they are brought in for morning feed and may stay in for a workshop or private sessions. Based on our smaller herd sizes, we can rotate which horses stay in.

One of the ways we have tried to encourage movement in winter is to separate their source of water from their source of food. Combined with multiple feed stations, this keeps them moving from one location to another. Slow feeders help with this approach.

However, a cautionary note! I had heard that if horses were given free choice hay, they would naturally stop eating and regulate themselves once they realized that it would be there 24 hours a day. So last winter we offered free choice hay in our hay huts and slow feeders. Rosa did not get the memo and started to put on weight during the winter which is normally a time of slimming down. Again, I think this is a breed predilection.

In the summer, creating movement is more problematic. We do not fertilize or reseed our fields allowing for native grasses and weeds to cohabit together (within reason), creating a need for the horses to move in order to forage for the tastier tidbits.

Separating areas within a bigger paddock space allows for controlled intake of the richer grasses especially during spring and fall when the sugars are higher in the grass. We also have hillier sections of our property which naturally have less grass due to rainfall moving to the lower sections of our land and together with a sandy base, there is not as much growth.



Over the last number of years, we have worked with two ferriers to look after our herd of horses. Originally, we had a traditional ferrier as we were still playing polo and it was a requirement to have shoes on the horses’ feet. When both of us stopped playing polo, we took the shoes off our horses. When Contendor arrived years ago, he had a huge crack in one of his front feet which necessitated shoes at the time to manage the condition. We were introduced to barefoot trimming when Angelina was suffering from laminitis and Rosa received the barefoot trim as well. So, we have two ferriers at present.

When Rosa’s x-rays showed an acute stage of founder in her front feet, our vet recommended a farrier who specialized in laminitis and founder as a last resort. The ferrier had become passionate about helping horses with laminitis when his wife’s horse foundered and he was determined to save her – he did and she is his wife’s riding partner again.

During the consultation with the ferrier, he acknowledged that Rosa’s condition in her front feet was critical. Both he and our vet were astounded by Rosa’s ability to stand and lift up her feet at this point. In most cases the horse would be lying on the ground. While Rosa was incredibly stoic and strong, this was part of our issue of not identifying the laminitis sooner!

Rosa-special-shoeThe ferrier said that at this point it was important for Rosa not to move and risk further detachment of the laminae. To support her coffin bone in the two front feet, as they had both sunk and rotated, he recommended a shoeing procedure: He put a netting over both feet, applied a heart bar shoe, and then poured fast acting acrylic to form a ‘dome’ of support for the foot to stay together. The heart bar takes the weight off the sole and onto the hoof wall. He acknowledged this would be a long and painful process for Rosa – three months minimum for absolute rest and no movement.  It would take 9 months for a new foot to regrow. We connected with our animal communicator to obtain Rosa’s approval to proceed. Rosa was determined to help horses with this terrible condition and agreed to move forwards.

As time went on, Rosa began lying down most of the day. While the ferrier was not as concerned (he wanted the feet to have no pressure), our vet was anxious. Horse’s muscles can start to atrophy after 12 hours. Most horses will lay down at the most 4 to 6 hours. We had to get Rosa up and standing at a minimum every 12 hours. At first, she would stay standing (with increased heart rate up to 90 beats per minute – average is 30) for an hour or two. This over time became 15 minutes.

Rosa-foot-w-special-shoeFurther x-rays were taken. The fantastic news was that the back feet – both sole depth and rotation were almost back to normal! The left front foot had turned the corner and started to change. Rosa could feel her back feet healing and they felt lighter. However, the right front foot had continued to drop and rotate. Our ferrier revealed that Rosa was the worst case he had seen. Rosa was asked again if she wanted to continue. Absolutely was the answer. In order to relief the pressure the ferrier cut away part of the acrylic dome on the tip and abraded the top of her coronet band to release the pinch.

While there was some initial relief of pain from her feet, pain started to occur from the rest of her body – muscles were starting to cramp and her stomach enzymes started to fail. I am sure this came from Rosa lying down almost 24 hours a day. While an incredible fighter, Rosa finally said she could not handle the pain anymore.

Rosa-shoe-fittedWhat I have come to appreciate is that I want a ferrier who knows horses’ feet and is willing and prepared to look at each horse as an individual and do the best service for that horse whether it is shoes or trim. This is the similar approach we recommend in the FEEL Approach – listen to what each horse wants!

It is important for your vet and ferrier to work together as a team. X-rays are crucial to know what exactly is happening, giving the ferrier valuable information for trimming as well as knowing the progress or lack of that is occurring. There are a number of ways to read how much rotation is present; however, if the same approach is taken each time, you can use it as a base line as you move forwards.

Lessons Learned

Recognize breed heritage for food requirements and sensitivities

Assess any emotional concerns and look for any stresses that can be impacting your horse

Do not let your horses get overweight – look for the crusty neck and puffy eyes as signs of EMS

As soon as you think they are lamanitic – do the next 3 things all at the same time!

  • Reduce pasture grazing, soak hay, remove grain, and provide minerals.
  • Get your ferrier in for an evaluation
  • Contact your vet to confirm, find out the cause, and do x-rays of their feet

If necessary put boots on the affected feet right away (we have found Soft Ride with the special lamanitic gel insert the best; they are also a soft material so they don’t rub the back of the horse’s foot) so they can continue to be moving outside maintaining blood flow to the feet.

A cheaper solution is to buy foam insulation 1 1/2 “ thick at a hardware store and duct tape it to the bottom of their feet.

If necessary fill an enclosed outdoor round pen with sand for a soft footing. Once the laminae have detached to a great degree, it is too late for movement to help and all movement has to stop or the damaged laminae will continue to be torn.

If your horse is a ‘sinker’ and the coffin bone has started to come through the sole of their foot, it is a very difficult battle for them to come back but not impossible.

Treatment of PPID

If the PPID horse has EMS as well, treat the laminitis as above. The current treatment for PPID is with the use of the drug pergolide mesylate. Many, many years ago we treated Angelina with Chaste Tree Berry which had an impact in the early stages but was not effective as it progressed.

Rosa’s Medications


Butte: Nsaids decrease inflammation by blocking prostaglandin formation in the tissues however they can cause ulcers by blocking beneficial prostaglandin formation in the stomach


Omeprazole Stomach Guard

We did previcox initially and then Acetominophen 20 tablets 2x day

Herbal Products

Blue Green Algae from Klamath Lake: It is especially high in chlorophyll; removes toxins from the body; reduces pain and inflammation; provides more focus and mental clarity; enhances the immune system; encourages the regeneration of damaged hoof tissue; healing injuries through cellular regeneration and improved circulation; promotes digestive health, nutrient absorption and alkalinity; helps with allergies and respiratory issues.

Rosa thought the Blue Green Algae was a remarkable product – an ancient food providing healing at a deep cellular level. She calls chlorophyll ‘liquid light’ which is what is found naturally in grass. She is healing from the inside out. It turned everything around for her and allowed for new perspectives.

Zenamin: Pure vitamins including kelp, magnesium, and biotin

Probiotics Generation 2

Vitamin C


When asked which products helped best to alleviate the pain, she said the acetaminophen did help but wore off quickly. She felt the most effective combination was the acetaminophen and the blue green algae.

The blood sugar formula was a good balancer.

The Vitamin C initially helped but then the effects declined.


Blood Sugar Formula from Riva’s Remedies for Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Rhus tox

Ignatia Amara 200 transmuting grief

Pulsatilla 200 for bottled up emotions

Rosa felt the homeopathic for emotions helped her process fear and grief.

Essential Oils

Initially Rosa did not want to combine the homeopathic and herbal remedies with the essential oils.

Frankincense – in the last week Rosa was licking this oil out of my hand

Rosa felt the frankincense oil really impacted the virus and was very effective – almost like an antibiotic!

Recommended Products

While we did not use these products with Rosa, they are products that numerous people have used successfully for different stages of laminitis and deserve mention.

Tumeric mixed with ginger and ground black pepper

Metabarol with resveratrol from Equithrive

SimmIRdown from Herbs for Horses

GlucoGard for those folks in Europe

Injur Ease from Riva’s Remedies

Joint Clear from Riva’s Remedies

AdrenaFX and Antiflam from Omega Alpha

Seaweed Supplements – production of thyroxine and thyroid hormones


Massage especially the area of the crusty neck


Sound Therapy –Rosa thought the activities and clearing ceremonies with the crystal bowls were awesome!

Energy work: Personal and distant healing– Rosa really appreciated the energy work. During the times of energy healing, she was pain free and felt connected to her body. She felt lifted up and lighter. However, there were times when it was too much for her and she actually created a bubble around herself! Part of this was that she wanted to send healing energy back to anyone who was helping her and ended up depleting her.


Chiropractic and Acupuncture could have been helpful with the right practitioner

Emotional Wellbeing

The horses are choosing to help humans come back into balance. Sometimes our horses will pick up the emotions from the people they are working with and will not be able to totally clear them from their energy field. As their partners, it is our responsibility to clear their fields as well as our own. The horses are asking us to clear their energy field on a much more frequent basis and absolutely at the end of each workshop. Rosa is suggesting that we take the energy from the horse’s feet and up their legs, sweep energy up to their belly (where they process) then up and out the top through the rear.

Increasing Occurrence

I am hearing more and more reports of a large increase in the number of cases of laminitis over the last two years – from vets and concerned horse owners. In the bigger picture, I believe autoimmune issues are on the rise due to environmental factors. Pollutants come in the form of rain that falls on our fields, contaminating our soil which in turn nourishes the grass that feeds our horses. This then feeds the gastrointestinal microflora in their guts creating blood sugar level fluctuations.

As caretakers of horses we need to be proactive in supplying healthy nutrients to our horses, supplementing their dietary needs which was normally found in hay, in order for them to sustain their natural vitality.

Rosa’s Perspective

Rosas-perspectiveBefore Rosa passed, she shared that laminitis is caused by a virus. She showed a picture of a plane spraying the atmosphere and then a picture of rain with each droplet containing the virus. As the rain falls, the virus is absorbed into the earth. If it has been a wet year the virus does not get killed and the process begins.

If a horse has an emotional imbalance, this lowers their immune system making them more susceptible to the virus.

As horses ingest grass that has been nourished by the soil, this creates a problem with insulin resistant issues, impacting the thyroid and kidneys. Rosa feels the blue green algae supports the affected kidneys as they are a soft protein and easy for the kidneys to process.

As horses continue to evolve their consciousness, their 5th dimension body is eating 3rd dimension food. Rosa is committed to finding a way to combat this horrible disease from the spirit world!

In conclusion, I hope this information has been helpful and that someday horses will no longer need to suffer from this terrible disease. Both Rosa and Angelina created the opportunity to pass along incredible wisdom to me before they transitioned. What amazing teachers they are! The horses are committed to our human evolution.

Wendy Golding
Horse Spirit Connections

Note on Blue Green Algae

I am very impressed with this product. Please ensure you purchase it from a reputable distributor. There is an excellent paper on Primordial Food, aphanizomenon flos-aquae by Christian Drapeau, MSc.

Spirit Walker is one of our horses that was suffering from a neurological disorder – an increased PTSD response which resulted in having to tranquilize him in order to move him from the barn to the paddock. After taking the blue green algae for two weeks, he became a relaxed horse and we no longer needed to give him a tranquilizer! Spirit is back!

Encore has a respiratory issue aggravated in the summer months from humidity and allergic response to bugs. After four weeks, we were able to take him off his medications.

Both Andre and I are taking it as well as Mia (our dog who has strong allergy symptoms).

Are Horses Conscious Beings? https://horsespiritconnections.com/horses-conscious-beings/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=horses-conscious-beings Fri, 11 Aug 2017 17:33:13 +0000 http://horsespiritconnections.com/?p=2276

The FEEL Approach is a unique collaboration between horses and humans. With equine facilitated learning, the horse is the active partner in guiding transformational journeys of healing, personal growth and spiritual connection. At the heart of this encounter is the horse’s conscious choice to partner freely with the person and the FEEL Practitioner. This is where the magic happens.

Are Horses Conscious Beings - Horse Spirit Connections Blog

Are Horses Conscious Beings?

From an early age, I was attracted to animals. They were kindred spirits and making a connection was easy. We communicated without words through the heart. I found it was much more difficult to connect to the humans around me. Their language was false – the words they spoke were not true to what I felt was within their hearts.

Being very shy and reserved, I kept my thoughts to myself. Nevertheless, seeing an animal being mistreated I became a warrior! One of my earliest memories was walking home from school and seeing a bunch of boys abusing a cat. Feeling the cat’s fear, I was incensed! With no thought, I took action and marched down their driveway towards the boys. They were standing around giggling and tormenting this small cat. Righteous anger fueled my voice and the words I spoke scattered the boys, allowing the cat to break free.

All creatures possess some level of intelligence and feel emotions.

In this age of higher consciousness, it is heartwarming to know that animals’ rights are being acknowledged and protected around the world. As of 2016 there are 13 countries who have passed laws recognizing animals as Sentient Beings. Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive, and experience emotions.

In 2012, a group of neuroscientists signed “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” while attending a conference on “Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals” at Cambridge University in the UK. It stated “Unequivocally that nonhuman animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of consciousness along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.”

Evolution has brought forth a growing complexity in consciousness in both humans and animals.

What is Consciousness?

There are many different definitions of consciousness.

I resonate with Stuart Sutherland’s definition of Consciousness – “The having of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings; awareness. I would define consciousness as an awareness beyond what is seen or known and an ability to apply experience to totally different situations.” I believe our mind extends beyond our brain and can affect things at a distance through a field similar to the heart’s electromagnetic field.

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary states that Consciousness is:

  • a. awareness or perception of an inward psychological or spiritual fact: intuitively perceived knowledge of something in one’s inner self.
  • b. inward awareness of an external object, state, or fact.
  • c. concerned awareness

Nobel Prize winner biologist, Gerald Edelman, goes further and distinguishes between primary and secondary consciousness:

  • Primary consciousness: is the ability, found in humans and some animals, to integrate observed events with memory to create an awareness of the present and immediate past of the world around them. This form of consciousness is also sometimes called “sensory consciousness”. For example, primary consciousness includes a person’s experience of the blueness of the ocean, a bird’s song, and the feeling of pain. Thus, primary consciousness refers to being mentally aware of things in the world in the present without any sense of past and future.
  • Secondary consciousness: is an individual’s accessibility to their history and future plans. The concept is also loosely and commonly associated with having awareness of one’s own consciousness. The ability allows its possessors to go beyond the limits of the remembered present of primary consciousness. Animals can draw upon a remembered immediate experience to help handle a current challenge. Secondary consciousness is a major step further as animals can make sense of complex challenges not previously experienced.
Horse Consciousness

Horse Consciousness

Working with Gerald Edelman’s concept, the primary consciousness for the horse is the quality or state of self-awareness within itself, or of being aware of an external object or something within itself. Horses have an incredible intricacy of behaviours and make informed choices.

Secondary consciousness for the horses is their access to their species collective consciousness or what we call the Horse Ancestors.

Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious holds the vast reservoir of our experience as a species. Our individual ancestral memories can influence the collective unconscious of a species.

Carl Jung

Let’s look at the term ‘Collective unconscious’ coined by Carl Jung, a leading Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. To Jung it is a part of the unconscious mind, expressed in humanity and all life forms with nervous systems. Jung distinguishes the collective unconscious from the personal unconscious. In the personal unconscious, it is a personal reservoir of the experience unique to each individual, while the collective unconscious collects and organizes those personal experiences in a similar way with each member of a particular species.

According to Jung, there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. It does not develop individually but is inherited and could be a body of unconscious energy that lives forever.

Horse Consciousness - Horse Spirit Connections

Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake is an English biologist and researcher in the field of parapsychology. His work speaks of the existence of a “morphogenetic field,” a collective memory for each species that influences the form of living organisms.

Each individual in a species both draws upon and contributes to the collective memory of the species. This means that new patterns of behaviour can spread more rapidly than would otherwise be possible. For example, if horses learn something in Colorado, then horses here can learn that same information and spread it to horses all over the world through this morphogenetic field.

We as humans inherit bodily, emotional, mental and cultural habits. Social groups are organized by fields through which the past becomes present through a kind of resonance with those who have performed the same rituals or habits before. Animals inherit the successful habits of their species as instincts. We especially see how successful this has been with horses as they have maintained their powerful prey instincts extremely well over millions of years.

Hundredth Monkey Effect

The Hundredth monkey effect originated with Lawrence Blair and Lyall Watson. The claim is that Scientists were conducting a study of macaque monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima. These scientists observed that some of the monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes, and gradually this new behaviour spread through the younger generation of monkeys through observation and repetition. Watson claimed that the researchers observed that once a critical number of monkeys had embodied the new behaviour – the hundredth monkey – this previously learned behaviour instantly spread across the water to monkeys on nearby islands.

With the expansion of the FEEL Approach across North America and Sweden, FEEL practitioners have reached and exceeded the initial effect of shared wisdom amongst their horses, allowing new horses being introduced to the work to step more quickly into their teacher role as they access their species wisdom.

William Shatner states in his book Spirit of the Horse “There is a collective wisdom to horses and it appears that they have much more access to that than we do. It‘s a collective unconscious group mind that humans block because of our so-called practical mind…”

Our connection with horses stimulates a deeply buried aspect of nature within us and rekindles a lost connection to that something greater – our human collective wisdom.

Horse Ancestors – Field of Potential - Horse Spirit Connections

Horse Ancestors – Field of Potential

Let’s explore the term Horse Ancestors. This is a field of potential (or morphic resonance) from all horses – past, present, and future.

It is the portrayal of the Horse in all its physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual variations. Once a horse becomes sentient, this connection to their species wisdom can be reawakened. As horses are such instinctual creatures, they can more easily connect to the collective consciousness of their species than we can as humans.

I was asked to write a chapter in the Horse As Teacher book. My chapter is entitled ‘Teaching the Wisdom of the Horse Ancestors’ and it was channeled from Thor, our big black Percheron – our wise master.

Thor’s Concept of the Horse Ancestors

So, in his words… “The horses teach me how to open my heart to the Horse Ancestors who share the wisdom of our species. When I access this ancient knowing, I see images of horses and humans, linked over thousands of years. Our two species are intertwined, and by working together in this new way, humans are becoming more aware of a higher consciousness. Connecting intentionally with the wisdom of many past horse spirits I share their collective knowledge with the humans who come to discover this awareness…”

Thor’s Concept of the Horse Ancestors

Conscious Connection between Two Species

Strengthening the bond between horses and humans is a conscious connection between two species. But it goes Beyond connection, it is engagement!

Rosa is a big Andalusian mare with a powerful presence. With horses, she can be very dominant however with people, she is incredibly gentle. When she feels someone is afraid, she approaches in a round-about manner, going on a diagonal, very slowly with her head lowered to make herself appear less overwhelming. She knows she has huge energy and deliberately chooses to appear less intimidating.

Our horse teachers have developed a language of behaviours to talk to people who are interacting with them. These behaviours include repetitive yawning, licking and chewing, and lying down. Each one has a separate meaning and by doing these actions they are choosing to communicate and engage in a conversation.

“The reason the horse can become such a gifted teacher for us is because he does not need an inner voice. He does not think in words at all. He feels.” Allan Hamilton

Wisdom From our Horse Teachers:

Thor shares “Horse consciousness is a space where thoughts and feelings are present. There is an awareness of making a choice; choosing; making a decision. It is not a place of reacting as Dancer did when he was young – there was a stimulus and then an immediate response to what was happening in his energy field, so he was very reactive and unstable to be around.”

Dancer's Wisdom as a Horse Teacher - Horse Spirit Connections

Dancer is a young Paso Fino horse born and raised here on our farm, full of an independent, fiery nature. It was very clear when Dancer became aware and made conscious choices. It is what I call the pause button: a place of engaging connection with themselves, other horses and people. It is a time of deliberation and making choices. It was so exciting to see this shift in Dancer – he would pause and decide if he was going to act up by rearing or biting. Gradually the times of being conscious overrode the times of being reactive – a blessing!

Contendor's Wisdom as a Horse Teacher - Horse Spirit Connections

Contendor, our mystical Paso Fino, stresses that “consciousness is accessed through intentionality which creates a felt energy the horses can feel and respond to. Sensing, reading, and filtering energy once re-awakened in a horse becomes a state of being they can access, which then develops into a part of their nature.

Horses need to be conscious to open the gateways to perceive energy. By creating choice for horses, it opens the doorway so it is not rote response on their part. Walking through the doorway enhances the horses’ intelligence, instincts, insights, and cleverness.

“Horse teachers choose to read humans and want to help. However, it is beyond a simple choice of doing either A or B. Utilizing all their senses to ‘read’ a person – the horses know what a person needs and proceed to do it.”

Angelina, another of our sensitive Paso Fino’s, had an indomitable spirit. She was our first horse to engage in the FEEL activities. Before Angelina passed she wanted to share her accumulated horse wisdom on a deeper level with humans: “As the horses exercise their sentience, they achieve a higher conscious connection with the Horse Ancestors. From this place, they can engage at a deeper spiritual level with people.

“Horses can sense the frequency shift when humans move into their hearts. Horses ‘see’ truth! This truth cannot be diluted by physical presence – they see where truth is or not in the human’s body. Humans can achieve freedom through emotional connection. Wisdom can only be felt, not thought. Horses are on feeling frequencies – horses feel free through feelings.”

Horses are evolving very quickly right now in order to help humanity evolve on their own path. As both species raise their consciousness at a soul level there is a merging together to communicate and being one.

“People need to believe in their soul – to seek wisdom from what they perceive not just from their human bodily perspective but from their soul’s perspective. Merging your consciousness with horses is going beyond human consciousness. Get to know your soul not just your human stories. Experience reality from a ‘feeling’ versus ‘thinking’ state. This is what I FEEL. Anything can be accomplished with the right frequency – an imprint is created through feeling.”

Angelina shared how she ‘sees’ human beings in colours, shapes exploding out of their bodies; thoughts stuck in their heads; feelings shooting off from their bodies like fireworks; constantly pumping out. As a horse, Angelina can feel and direct her energy through pinpoints of electrical impulses that move and open with each different frequency in order to ‘see’.

“We, as horses, have a higher consciousness and we have been waiting for humans to evolve for so long – through feeling.”

Rosa speaks more about horse consciousness. “Horses have evolved to weave consciousness through time and other forms of consciousness. Horses can pull threads of consciousness to create a tapestry of connections. It is only with your hearts open that we can access your consciousness and then become one with you. As humans evolve, you can pull this higher consciousness to you and absorb the insights.”

Thor continues: “As the horses help people vibrate at a higher frequency, humans can integrate spirit into their self which then opens the gateway to source with no resistance.”

By connecting through the soul of the horse we can access and feel a vast, energetic transference through the morphogenetic field of their species wisdom. In turn, this awakens and sparks our own species wisdom as humans.

Yes, Horses are Conscious Beings!

In fact, I believe that horses have much more wisdom than we do as humans with our focus being on our logical thinking brain and vast technology. Horses embody consciousness and bring the consciousness of humans to life.

The horses invite you to step out of your world and join them in theirs. In the stillpoint between your mind and heart you find yourself.

"Humans have much to learn from horses and what it is like to live in the true connection and support of a herd consciousness. The horse generously offers to include us in their herd and teach us how to live this way from the moment of a first encounter. Humankind needs this reconnection because we are emotionally and spiritually hungry. Often we aren’t able to survive, much less thrive and grow on the limited sustenance society offers, because the life force and essential elements are missing. We can learn from the horse to drink from the waters of the source, and find inspiration and enrichment."
~ Kim McElroy

Horse As Teacher https://horsespiritconnections.com/horse-as-teacher/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=horse-as-teacher Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:33:37 +0000 http://horsespiritconnections.com/?p=2067

My love of horses blossomed as a young girl. My soul yearned to be with them. Horses represented freedom – to run free without restraints! The presence of a horse vibrates with aliveness! They are connected to their world.

Horse as Teacher - Capacity to elevate human spirit


When I entered the world of horses, this admittance was controlled by humans who adhered to the philosophy of dominating the horse. This belief has been cultivated through thousands of years. Man needed to control these huge creatures to do their bidding: whether going into battle; tilling our fields; transporting us; or racing for our enjoyment.

Being ashamed to say this, I dropped into this way of being with horses as it was the only way of being around them at the time – be on their back and tell them what to do. As a young girl I learned how to ride and jump fences. As an adult I was accepted in the Governor Generals Horse Guards – a military unit where we rode the streets in parades and participated in musical ride performances. Then I moved on to play the noble sport of polo, thundering down the field at a full gallop chasing a small white ball.

My First Horse Teacher Monty

All of these experiences of being on a horse’s back were exciting, allowing me to form many close relationships with these magnificent creatures. Monty, my first horse, tried and tried to get my attention and finally resorted to bad behavior as the only way to make me listen. He wanted me to ‘see’ him as a sentient being – one who was conscious and felt emotions. I finally understood there was a different way of being in relationship with a horse. This meant unlearning everything I had been taught over the years from humans about being around horses. Monty was such an incredible horse; he taught me that I needed to respect him in order for him to respect me in return.

The Invitation

This was the start of Monty becoming my teacher, guide, and partner as we explored the vast extent of the horse/human bond. This led to the formation of the FEEL Approach – a form of equine facilitated learning. A respectful relationship where both horse and human are heard. The horse is given choice wherever possible creating an invitation not a command! This sense of connection between two beings creates a space where both the horse and human can step into a place of higher consciousness. Here there is a sense of oneness, being fully alive in the moment.

Horse as Coach - Birthing FEEL

Birthing FEEL

FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning)® was officially birthed in 2006. FEEL is a heart-centred connection with a horse creating new and profound insights as people have an intimate ‘felt’ experience. With this deep cellular learning the person is forever changed.

In that moment of connection, you look deeply into the horse’s eye and you are seen! You release the breath you are holding and relax. You become aware of your body, feeling your feet on the ground. The horse holds space for you to connect with yourself – the authentic person inside. Feeling safe, you let your heart open and let it resonate with the huge heart of the horse. Moments of profound harmony create an intimacy where healing happens simply and naturally

Coming Back Home

Horses help us come back home to ourselves – that part of ourselves that is feeling lost in our high paced, technology-driven world. FEEL horses are willing participants offering unconditional support and love without judgement as they assist humans. Interacting on the ground with a horse is a unique time of discovery and reflection which raises consciousness for both humans and horses.

Horse Teaching - Coming Back Home

Why is a Horse a Valued Teacher?

Horses are one of the more powerful and majestic forms of prey animals in the natural world.  Their survival is dependent upon their sensitive observational skills and compelling intuitive responses to their environment. Their advanced ability to communicate can take you straight to the heart of the matter, to the things we don’t acknowledge even to ourselves.

Often times a person steps into the engagement and the horse turns, comes over and immediately puts his nose to a very particular part of that person – the exact part that is wounded. Horses pick up everything from a broken heart to an injured knee. Thanks to a strong empathic nature, they are able to immediately sense how you are feeling. Horses read the slightest gestures of your body language and are able to sense both your conscious and subconscious energy states. It is always your inner state the horse will respond to – your authentic self.

By attuning to your energy and paying attention to your emotional state and body language, horses actually listen to you at a much deeper and profound level. This resonance creates a palpable sense of unity between one being to another. Horses have a gentle way of bringing unconscious feelings to the surface and creating a safe place for you to release them.

Body Intelligence

Horses live from a place of perceptive attunement with their herd mates and all of nature around them. By being with horses we learn to nurture our unique aliveness. Body intelligence is the direct, consciously felt experience of being fully alive in our body, from the flow of blood and physical sensation to the many feelings and thoughts that flood our mind. Learning this body intelligence increases our capabilities for receiving and acting on the messages from our bodies. From this grounded and balanced place we can shift from a fear based living to embodied presence and flow. Horses can increase the level of energy, joy, clarity, and connection we feel.

Horse as Teacher in Equine Therapy

Within the specially designed FEEL activities, horses step into their role of teacher and healer. With a deep sense of equanimity, the horse shows you the essentials of your life and in yourself.

Every time the horse steps into the role of teacher, they become more confident and accomplished. It is my greatest joy to see a horse blossom and touch a deep inner wisdom they are so willing to share, if you come from a place of open-heartedness. When both you and the horse feel safe, hearts open and connection happens. Within this profound and timeless place you can connect to the passion of your dreams.

The greatest gift the horses have given me is to live with my heart wide open – not just with animals but with people! I feel alive! I want to share that  joy and vitality with you

Looking deep into a horse’s eye lets you see your soul.

Birth a new career in Horse Therapy! Take the FEEL Certification Training Program

Horses as valued Teachers - Horse Spirit Connections
Looking into a horses eye