Radar (cont #4): It’s not just about the body

We had almost completed the loop and were just about to the beginning again when Earl came galloping up behind Radar and my horse exploded. It was more than he could take. He had slipped into race horse mode on this circular track through the woods and emotionally just melted down. Up he went into the air, all four feet off the ground. He came down slightly off the level trail surface and backed up the tangled slope, bucked, slipped, reared and came down again on the trail. At some point I lost my right stirrup and realized I was coming off no matter what, so I leaned forward, grabbed his neck and tried to perform an emergency dismount. But, at the last minute, he threw in another buck and I hit the ground, although not very hard. It felt like I just missed landing on my feet. I’m not sure if that’s what it looked like to Susan, but that’s what it felt like to me. When I did hit the ground Radar threw his head in the air and spun around to take off. Unfortunately, I let go of the reins just a second too late and managed to pull/strain the ligaments in my right hand, although I didn’t realize that until much later. Radar ran to Earl, of course, and Susan turned Earl across the trail so he couldn’t get past him. I picked myself up, grabbed his reins and gave him a very stern talking-to as we exited the trail to look for a place to get back on my horse.

There is a large gravel pile that lives on the main access road to the trail system and it has been sitting there long enough that it is solid to stand on so I climbed up high enough that I could reach the stirrup on my saddle without difficulty and climbed aboard for the ride home. Radar was antsy and anxious the entire way, and I pretty much had to leave Earl in the distance as each time I halted Radar to wait for his buddy, he would act up impatiently. We made it back to the barn without further incident that day, but it took several hours for me to realize that my hand was now messed up. I don’t have any other bruises, scratches, or otherwise painful parts of my body to indicate I have any other injuries, so I know I will heal again.

But Radar…what the hell? Since his body had just been adjusted three days earlier, I know that wasn’t the issue, so I think it is time to look a little deeper. When it comes to humans and their illnesses, we are finally starting to grasp the concept that it is important, if we want to actually cure disease, that we strive to heal the whole human—body, mind and spirit. I think it is the same with horses, and dogs, and every other living creature. We must continue to challenge ourselves to understand the entire horse—body, mind and spirit—if we are to truly heal and make them whole again.

This has been my mission with Radar since the beginning, and I think I’ve done an amazing job with his body so far. Even his spirit, I feel, is already intrinsically linked with mine. But what about my sensitive horses’ mind and his emotions? Can I deconstruct my handsome, yet very pretty, bay geldings’ brain and get to the root of his emotional side the same way I got to the root of his physical issues? I’m sure going to give it a try and anyone who knows me well knows that this is just one more challenge that I need to take on. I’ve got some training ideas and more research to do with supplements before I will be ready to share the next chapter of Radar’s rehabilitation, but rest assured that once I’ve got some interesting things to share I will do just that.


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Shelley Headley

I was born in Oregon in 1960. My father was in sales most of his life and we found ourselves living in Ohio, Connecticut, and Michigan before I returned to the Pacific NW, moving onto a small island in the middle of Puget Sound, in 1986. This is where I finally settled down and now happily live on a small boarding farm, Cedar Valley Stables, where we tend to our horses, several English Labrador retrievers, assorted cats, birds, and a flock of wild turkeys. Our store, VI Horse Supply, Inc., was founded in 1998 on Vashon Island. We started our store out of necessity—there were no feed stores located on this Island. We quickly added hay from eastern Washington, feed from Nutrena, and basically went crazy from there. We now represent and carry products from these fine distributors: Cargill-Nutrena Feeds, LMF Feeds, Standlee Hay Products, Manna Pro, and Mid Valley Milling. Horse blankets and sheets from Horseware, Ireland anchor our horse clothing line. Horze Equestrian and Outback Trading Company keep our customers stylish no matter what they’re up to. Products from Uckele Health and Nutrition form the basis of our supplement recommendation protocol, but we also carry nutritional supplements from Cox Veterinary Labs, Animed, and Select, plus others.

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