In May 2019 thanks to the great kindness of my friends Warwick and Robyn Schiller I got to spend three weeks staying with them in California. Part of my stay was to accompany them to The Western States Horse Expo a three day event held near Sacramento featuring clinicians from all over the States and beyond. Both Warwick and presenting at the Expo as well as fellow guest of Warwick and Robyn, the glorious Jane Pike.
I was excited enough just to be attending the Expo. I had often seen reports about them and posts from people attending them and had always longed to be able to go to one. So my dream came true, but little did I know what other magic was about to happen.
Warwick had brought one horse with him to use in his demos – Petey. Petey was stabled in one of the many rows of temporary stables put up to house the horses attending the Expo.
The evening of the first night we were there the last thing we did was to check on Petey. As we were walking up the line of stables we met a pretty, fair-haired young lady who was checking her own horses. It turned out Warwick and she knew each other and this is when I was first introduced to Madison Shambaugh aka Mustang Maddy.
Maddy was there with five horses, one of which was tied outside the stables. As we were talking she explained that this particular mustang would not settle at all in his stable and so she kept him tied outside where he could see the other horses. She kept him there for as long as possible as he basically would trash his bed and work himself up into a lather walking round and round the stable. On hearing this I immediately wanted to ask Maddy if she would like me to zap this horse just to see if it would help him relax. However it was past 10pm, Maddy had only just met me and I felt it was not quite the right time for a stranger to offer to do something which Maddy might consider very strange to one of her horses. We said goodnight and went back to our accommodation.
The next morning I got up fairly early and went to muck out Petey. As I walked down the line of stables, who should be with her horses, but Maddy. The same mustang as before was already tied outside and this gave me the perfect opportunity to offer to give the mustang (named Tauri) a zap.
All credit to Maddy, I explained what I did and how I worked and she was more than happy for me to work with Tauri. So later that morning I came back and gave Tauri a session. He was still tied outside, so as I normally do I stood a few feet away from him and started to zap.
Tauri stood very still with his hindleg cocked, his whole body was relaxed, and he totally ignored his haynet. His eyes went very soft, his bottom lip drooped and his nose and lips had random little twitches. Every now and again his head would give a small jerk up and his ears would flicker back and for as though in response to some unseen stimulus. He showed no reaction to anything going on around him. He was truly in what I term the zone.
When working with a horse in this way I let the horse dictate when the session is over. They often do this by giving a big stretch accompanied by maybe a lick and chew or a yawn. It is as though they are waking up and are once more aware of their surroundings. They come “back in the room”!
With Tauri however he would give a stretch and relax the other hind leg, but still stay in the zone. He was definitely making the most of it! Eventually after about 30 minutes Tauri did stretch and wake up. He went back to eating his haynet as though nothing had happened.
Later that day Maddy was riding Tauri in one of her demos. As I sat watching him I had to smile. As Maddy sat on Tauri explaining her work, Tauri gave a series of huge yawns, so much so that Maddy herself commented to the audience just how relaxed he was after having had the session with me.
Of course the acid test as to whether the zap had helped Tauri relax, would be what his stable was like the next morning. I am happy to say that his stable was not just quite tidy, it was pristine with no sign of any pacing or upset at all.
Both Maddy and I were so happy at the change in Tauri that I ended up over the next few days working with all her horses, and even with Maddy herself.
The horse that for me was a real treat to work with was Maddy’s main mustang Terk. Once again as soon as I started work with Terk, he went in the zone just as Tauri had. But Terk seemed to go even deeper. Several times during the session he would give a back arching stretch and I thought he was showing me that he was done. But no, time and again he would stretch and then go back in the zone as though having released what he needed to at that level, he was going a level deeper. It was a good 45 minutes before Terk decided to re-surface and return to eating his hay net.
Terk was also very special as before I went to zap him I knew I should take pen and paper with me. Sometime during the session I “heard” words I had to write down. They were seemingly from Terk describing his relationship with Maddy and giving her information. When several days later Maddy and I got the chance to discuss what I had written, it all made sense to her and she was grateful for the insight into her relationship with this beautiful horse.
Over the next week I was so grateful to have the chance to work with all of Maddy’s horses namely four mustangs Tauri, Terk, Takota and Kodiak and her Off the track Thoroughbred she has been training called Finn.
I have had the privilege over the years to have worked with many horses. One thing I came to realise is that the mustangs were very receptive to the frequencies and the way I work, and went into the zone very easily and quickly. The word that came to me as I worked with them is that they are “elemental”. By this I mean because they, however briefly as a proportion of their lives, have lived as wild horses they can access and use this energy very easily. It is as if the layers of human detritus that can sometimes affect horses bred and reared in captivity, are just not there. When I work with a mustang they immediately “get it”.
Since the Expo I have worked at distance with Maddy, her horses and Zeus, one of her zebras.
Being with the mustangs was a total honour and joy and I will be forever grateful to Maddy for trusting me to work with them.
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