I often go into a treatment thinking one thing needs healing, and come out of it with a very different sense of the situation. One such experience was with a woman named Kay who sought Reiki for her horse for self-inflicted scratches and cuts. Merlin was 17 years old and a high-level dressage horse. At the time, Kay hadn’t been his person for very long and couldn’t figure out why he kept hurting himself.

Although outwardly it appeared that the treatment should be focused on the scratches and cuts on his legs, as soon as I started, I began to get feelings of intense anxiety and sadness from Merlin. I had a strong feeling that he was worried that if he disappointed his person, she would sell him. I had the intuition that this had happened before. I thanked him for sharing these feelings with me, and let him know that I understood what he was feeling. Immediately, he moved his body into my hands, leaning his chest into my palms. He seemed relieved that he could share this with me and that I was listening.

Shortly thereafter, he turned around and went to the back of his stall as far away from me as possible. This is a common reaction after an animal shares an intense emotion. He needed his space after the close connection he made with me. I continued to offer Reiki from a distance of several feet away, not invading his space. By the end of the treatment, he had returned to my hands again, the anxiety and sadness had subsided, and he felt much calmer and more peaceful. After I finished the treatment, he turned to face me and lightly touched his muzzle to each of my palms, first the right hand and then the left. Then he put his nose to my chest and sighed. It was one of the most exquisite thank-yous I’ve ever received.

I gave Merlin a series of four treatments for his injuries, emotional healing and his situation. I also spoke with Kay about his deep anxiety and fear that he would disappoint her if he couldn’t work for her and that he might lose her. Soon afterwards, she realized that due to hard training in his past before she had him, he had such severe arthritis that he needed to retire.

Making this decision was very difficult for her. However, as soon as she told him not only that he could retire but also that she’d always look after him and take care of him no matter what, there was an incredible lift in the horse’s spirit and calm in his eye. After many years, he had finally found his special person, who would value him for his essence as a being rather than his ability to perform. It was wonderful to see the healing of the bond between this horse and his human! Although Merlin has recently made his transition, Kay gave him a great gift: during the last part of his life, he knew he was cherished for who he was, not merely for what he could do.

Want to transform your connections with horses through equine-guided meditations and practical tips to empower your horse partners? Check out Kathleen’s audio course, Reiki for Horses, based on Kathleen Prasad’s popular book, Heart To Heart With Horses. 

Note: This blog excerpted from p. 180-181 of Animal Reiki, Ulysses Press 2006.

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