When I gazed into the calm, round eyes of the auburn-coloured quarter-horse, I thought of all the people who ask me, “Do animals have souls?’ Miss Tanya snuffled as I rubbed the underside of her head, and I could imagine her saying, “This human is okay. By the way, do you have an apple for me?” The racehorse’s owners wanted my friend Brian Phillips, an animal acupuncturist, to treat Miss Tanya’s skittishness, and Brian had asked me to accompany him, so I could link with this beautiful horse’s soul and try to find out why Miss Tanya was so frenzied whenever she stepped onto a race track.
Carlotta, one of the owners of the stables, had cocked a skeptical eyebrow when Brian had inquired about bringing me, but she shrugged and said she would try anything as a last resort. Horse racing is an expensive sport, and after spending thousands of dollars on training and upkeep, Miss Tanya was nowhere near living up to her potential.
I don’t usually work with four-legged clients – there are several good animal communicators out there. In addition, I’m allergic to dog and cat dander, which prevents me from having a pet – a fact that saddens my cat-loving husband. But I have no problem being with horses. They’re such wonderful, loving, wise animals, and so attuned to their emotions.
On a recent afternoon, Brian and I arrived at the stables to find six horses in or around their stalls. A young stablehand was combing the white mane of a palomino. Two horses were being led around the ring for exercise. Brian pointed out his favourite mare, Saladin, a jet-black Arabian that looked like he spent his life posing for equine statues. His neck was the size of an armload of baseball bats.
In her stall, calmly munching hay was Miss Tanya, a horse that truly looked bred to run. She stood 15 hands high, and her well defined muscles stood out beneath her sleek grey coat. When we approached her, she raised her head and snorted, then chuffed twice and dipped her head into her water trough.
Carlotta regarded me with a smile. She gestured with her chin at Miss Tanya, then said to me, “She’s okay. She’s just letting you know who’s boss.”
“Yes, ma’m,” I told the horse, then gently stroked her head. Miss Tanya looked at me and blinked twice. I felt a twinge of sadness. Miss Tanya seemed to nod, then nuzzled my hand. I wished I had an apple or a fistful of oats to give her.
Keeping my eyes locked on the horse, I said, “She doesn’t feel like she’s being listened to.”
Carlotta snickered as she pulled back her thick dark hair and tied it into a ponytail. “She’s not the only one. Honestly, sometimes, I think none of these horses give a fig about anything I’m trying to do for them.”
How do you feel? I silently asked Miss Tanya.
I’m bored, seemed to be the reply. I want to run around outside.
I don’t know how much time passed, but as I got a feel for Miss Tanya, I sensed that she liked running, but didn’t like racing. Whenever she lined up at the starting gates, all the other horses were either in bad moods, or hell-bent on competing. They were so focused on winning, they unnerved her. As a result, she wanted them to hurry up and get out of her space. Which explained why she usually came in last. I remembered seeing the movie Secretariat a few weeks ago. Now there was a horse that loved to race.
You like running, I mentally told Miss Tanya. Think of a race as just another way of running around outside. Ignore the other horses. Just have fun going fast.
Miss Tanya snorted once – if she’d been human, she might’ve gone “Hmph!” – then stepped away from me.
By this time, Brian and Carlotta were in another stall, tending to Bucky, a Bergeron with a limp. It was odd seeing the huge horse standing still, seeming to enjoy being treated with several thin needles in its flank.
I told Carlotta that I felt Miss Tanya just wanted to get the track, do her running thing and get out of there. I asked Carlotta what she could do to help her horse relax prior to competition.
Carlotta thought about that for a moment. “I could put blinders on her eyes and plug her ears before the next race", she said.
I nodded, considering the idea. “If you want to help Miss Tanya, that would do it. Being with the other horses freaks her out.”
Over the next few hours, Brian and I spent time with the other horses. Cinnamon told me she was pregnant, and was excited about getting ready to foal. Rockefeller loved Carlotta for taking care of him when he was sick, and thought of his owner as “Mom.” And Bucky wished people would pay more attention to him, and brush him more often. Carlotta seemed intrigued when I told her my impressions.
Two Sundays later, I watched Miss Tanya as she prepared for her race at Woodbine Racetrack. She seemed skiddish in her stall and her handler had to walk with her. From the stands, I could not tell if she was wearing blinders. Once the race began she was one of the last out of the gate, and finished sixth out of seven. I sensed she was not feeling her best. Oh, well…
I spoke with Brian last night, and he told me Carlotta had admitted that after my visit, her horses seemed to be listening to her more. But she still couldn’t understand why Miss Tanya ran so well when she was practicing by herself.
If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me at mail @ carolynmolnar.com . And please visit me again!