Introducing Four Pages: Healing Portraitures; Sketching Horses; Problem Horses; Equine Guided Personal/Spiritual Growth Sessions

The Art Of Healing Through Portraiture:


Sketching Horses: Equine Guided, An Introductory Class



“You Talkin’ About Me?

Problems With Your Horse?



*Kaheka and Amoura”

Equine Guided Personal /Spiritual Growth And Healing Sessions:

Expression of the Divine, Part 7: Epilogue

Tal and Bev…moments of perfect peace with a dollop of joy…

Sore feet again. But I was ready for it this time. I knew that whatever happened, it did not invalidate the experiences I’d had with Tal. That chapter was finished. The experiences were real and could not be wiped away. So I partnered with Tal in moving forward, learning what was next to learn. It was a bit tenuous, but every time I started to worry, something buoyed me up and kept me from sinking. This time I was on good behavior and when I heard Tal remind me to “go to the home place” I responded with trust.

I tucked Tal in for the night in one of his favorite open stalls that he’d already selected for as long as he wanted to stay for the night. I put leftover hay on the ground so his feet would be clean and dry, and made sure he had plenty to eat. I reaffirmed my willingness to listen to him and to learn what was next. As I turned off the barn light and shut the door, a thought slipped into my consciousness. I had lagged in my writing and posting again. Absolutely true. I hadn’t posted.

I shook my head in disbelief at myself. But, my heart lifted with awareness and understanding. I went home and prepared a new post.

The next day when I arrived at the barn, I looked for Tal and found him up the hill in the pasture with the rest of the herd. A good sign. He was not in his stall where he tends to stand when his feet are feeling tender and he was a good distance from the barn.

In the midst of doing chores a little later, I happened to look up as Tal was walking down the hill. My eye just caught a little interaction between he and Dollar which prompted a little running. A very good sign. This time I shake my head in knowing relief and with warm gratitude with the loving feedback.

I feel an admiration for this horse. His work is not just with me. It is far reaching. I get hints, but more understanding will unfold. In the meantime, I wonder what will be next. Onward to new stories.

Expression of the Divine, Part 6: Bringing Up the Rear

ink drawing by erick moreau

When Tal walked out to pasture after weeks of confinement, (Expressions of the Divine, Part 5: Eye of the Shaman) I knew in my heart it was the right thing. The condemning voices were screaming in the background but I put a muzzle on them by staying with the new trust that was budding. I remembered the past experiences that had worked and those that hadn’t. I’d experienced the chaos and the exhaustion of not trusting my intuition, and suppressing the obvious guidance. There was still a low level trembling in my body but that was an ol’ familiar habit. Fear was no longer my boss. I no longer feared the boundaries of my religious upbringing, nor ridicule, nor what people thought of me, nor even what I thought of me. Trust had stepped forward.

I remembered the times Tal had “miraculously” improved. I remembered other amazing healings, Kaheka, the thoroughbred; Loleta, the cat; my son when a child; my dog; myself,…all stories yet to be told. Surrender and confidence became good buddies! All would be well.

As I finished my chores, I glanced out to pasture, and I saw that the rest of the herd had joined Tal as he grazed. No fanfare, just a quiet movement as they each found their places near Tal, welcoming him back to the herd, silently acknowledging him for what he had accomplished with me. Tears welled up involuntarily. We had all arrived at that place of peace and comfort again. I stood there feeling the moment in harmony with them, enjoying being home with myself again after weeks of being in the center of a battle field. Peace. Quiet. All is well. I am me again. And Tal is himself again.

He has been in the pasture for almost a week now. He is walking with confidence. He looks good. I, in the meantime am writing again and posting.

However, there was one thing left to do. I had yet to write the story, Expressions of the Divine, Part 1, Stalled. That was the one I had spent hours trying to write, the one intended to be my debut back into blog writing after the long dry spell. Having finally let it go, and having sidestepped it for another one and 3 others, I was ready to revisit. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprising, it came together rather quickly. I posted. I took a deep breath, and let it slowly out. I had done the one more thing left to do.

The next day, Tal who was not only walking well by now, went a few steps further and offered me a special gift. As I was busily doing my chores, the ground began to thunder under the hooves of galloping horses. I looked up quickly so as not to miss a moment, and my mouth dropped open. Tal was running! He was with his herd and trotted rapidly across the field behind them. He’d thrown me a final kiss. My heart responded with a big knowing smile. There was an easy connection between us.

A few hours later, two neighbors stopped by for a chat. Knowing that Tal had been stall-bound for the past few weeks, they couldn’t wait to tell me that they’d seen him running and playing with the other horses, and…here it comes… he was also rearing as he played! I thought I’d heard wrong. I’ve never to this day in all of his clumsiness seen Tal rear, not even playfully. I felt a simultaneous rush of joy and disbelief. As I tried unsuccessfully to find some way to discount it, a bad habit of mine, I made a mental observation that these were two trustworthy women who both witnessed the the same amazing event. I trusted. They had brought me good news, messengers of the divine. My heart had already been filled up with joy after seeing Tal running earlier in the day, but this news topped it off. This horse who’d had sore feet until the day he was allowed back in pasture a few days earlier, was not only running with his herd, but was also playing and rearing. In a celebration of new beginnings, my joy reared up too, and started to play again…

Expression of the Divine, Part 5: Eye of the Shaman

ink drawing by Erick Moreau

“… the soul of the mountain has sent you a gift. The gift lives beneath the avalanche of blockage…”  Windhorse Woman by Lynn Andrews

During the time that Tal was showing no improvement, I lost interest in writing again. The days dragged on with no changes, not in my writing and posting nor in Tal’s condition. The blockage remained. I was wading through guilt, had trouble looking at Tal in the eye, wanted to ignore him so I wouldn’t feel so badly. “How could you do this to him?” I screamed at myself and felt the whole world of condemnation jump on the bandwagon. “You have the solution and don’t act on it day after day! What is wrong with you?! Just post a damn story! How hard can that be?!” But I was “tharn” again, that Watership Down word that I’d learned from Joe Camp in The Soul of the Horse, frozen in place. Tal stayed the same, not too good and not too bad. In spirit, his paddock seemed dismal and gray like an overcast day that doesn’t rain and doesn’t shine.


I had a realization one evening as I stood in my tiny kitchen eating a leftover biscuit my husband had made for dinner that night. It was one of his better batches. I thought they were perfect, but he said, “almost.” So as I was eating an “almost” perfect biscuit, I had a revelation about the horses.

From the beginning of my mystical path with them, I’ve seen their spiritual gifts. What is unfolding now is that I’m getting to know their personalities as spiritual beings. With Apolinaire, it happened a couple of years ago. When I began to recognize his importance in my life as a representative of the divine, I told him I was on to him, that I knew who he was. He stopped his rhythmic munching of hay, lifted his head, and with a twinkle in his eye, gave me an affirming nudge on my arm.

Spiritual Being

As for Tal, I’ve had a difficult time seeing him as a spiritual being except for occasional moments.  I asked to have my eyes opened. My answer started coming in words that were inspired. I heard myself softly chanting in the quiet places of my heart, “You are giving me wings to take flight, giving me wings to take flight.” Something was trying to open in me. After sharing this with a friend, she said, “Tal wants to release you to take flight. It’s not about his physical condition. That is a mere distraction to take your focus away. It is beyond that. He will experience release when you get released.” I resonated with what she said. This was not a simple equation of “my writing equals Tal’s healing.” There was certainly a correlation but for reasons much more far reaching in ways that I couldn’t contain or restrain with my mind. I could feel it more than verbalize it. My writing issue was only a symptom.

When we finished our conversation, I stepped outside my cabin into the silence of the nighttime sky. Suddenly, Tal’s presence, thick and big, pressed in around me in fullness with no boundaries, filling the sky above in its limitless essence. It surrounded me, absorbing me into the unending expansiveness of his being. His spirit felt as though it had been released from the constraints of his physical body. My own constraints dissipated as my own boundaries were stretched thin. I stood on the dirt pathway leading to and from my cabin, lingering, soaking, and dwelling in the feeling of those moments. I knew in my heart that this was more than just an ethereal experience. Something was starting to change.

He connected with me all the next day as I mucked manure. I had been reading Kindred Spirits, by Allen Schoen. Insights and thoughts washed over me throughout the day as I was shown the parallels in my own life. Just as Schoen had done many years ago, I was stepping out of the crowd away from traditional convention, a step at a time. I began to understand some of my fears: self image, and lack of trust. A new confidence started to grow.

The Eye

When I went for my periodic check-in with Tal, his dark brown eye drew me in. When I looked into his eye as if through a keyhole, in a quick glimpse, I saw deeply into another world where Tal was a well-seasoned sage, a highly respected spiritual master of some ancestral world perhaps, an intermediary between the physical and spiritual realms. What I literally saw, I can’t explain. It was vague, but warm. It was transformational. I knew I had experienced a world beyond time. I had seen and felt Tal’s essence. For that moment I had been in direct contact with his spiritual being. It was quick, but something had been inscribed on my heart. After that experience my eyes began to see differently. It was then that I truly began receiving Tal’s spiritual influence.

I went to my computer where this series about Tal had it’s beginnings. There Part 1 sat dormant, fixed coldly in cement. I wasn’t ready to chip away at the prison walls just yet. Instead I looked half-heartedly through my photos. For the first time, my new eyes were drawn to the heart in the mud that the horses had left for me on Valentine’s Day. An awareness burst suddenly forth, like a curtain pulled open on a sunny day; I knew it was to be my new lead-in post! With a deep breath of release, I became unstuck instantly! It was comfortable, easy, fun, and fast!  And, it had been there all along. With the gracefulness of spirit, I was given a clever sidestep around the story that had held me prisoner far too long. I posted Special Moment instead, and the shackles dropped to the ground beside me.

When I went to the barn, I hoped to see Tal dancing around on all fours. Didn’t happen. I couldn’t see any change, but now wedged in my heart was a new truth. Everything had changed. I didn’t see it, but I knew it. I heard Tal’s voice saying to me, “The very  grasses you’ve taken away from me, are the very grasses that will bring my healing. ” It was time to open the gates, and let Tal go out to the pasture!

Do you know how crazy that was?! This was the opposite of convention, and seemingly risky! But all of the rules I’d been living by were scattered haphazardly on the ground around me nothing more than rotting fence posts. They had done us no good. What fences were left were coming down. I walked to the gate with fearful quivering. My eyes had seen those damaged hooves when the farrier came to trim. I knew the concerns, but my heart was listening and the Shaman’s eye had shown me a new way of being. It was time to step away from the crowd of conventional wisdom, from the voices of skepticism, judgments, fear, and of condemnation. None of them had worked! I had no where else to turn.

I opened the gate. Tal walked through. The herd joined him.

…there was one more thing I needed to do.

Expression of the Divine, Part 4: Language of a Nicker

pen and ink of Tal by Erick Moreau

I’m sitting on a cushion on the barn porch in the February sunshine with shirt sleeve temperatures. All the horses, except Tal, are in the pasture nearby, some nibbling the green grasses and others standing in statue position with heads dropped, looking like they are most certainly drooling as they slumber. I’m enjoying the forms of their bodies as the sun highlights curves and glistening new coats. It is so restful. There is still a lingering tenderness from Pavel’s visit with Tal yesterday (Expression of the Divine, Part 3: The Home Place).

The weekend is over, my guests have gone home, my cabin is clean, and barn chores are finished for the morning. The weather is perfect, lazy and slightly warm, and thankfully, not warm enough to invite the flies. But I have a lump in my stomach. All is not well. Tal still has sore feet in spite of the richness of his experience with Pavel, and in spite of all my efforts,… well… some of my efforts. There’s still this writing issue (Expression of the Divine, Part 1: Stalled). I’ve not been writing; he is walking only minimally.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope surfacing. The headline news here at our remote ranch is…I AM WRITING! At last! After weeks, no, actually after months of being stalled. I AM WRITING!  I’m working on the story Tal is giving me. I’m feeling a smoldering joy, not yet bursting into flame because I’ve only started and I’m low on the fuel, trust. It is running on empty these days.


I wrote for an hour. That’s all the time I had today. I closed the lid on my beautiful new Mac laptop (It’s a love affair!), and prepared to start my late afternoon chores. Within minutes, I heard a sound that brought music to my ears and made me stop to take it in as I held my breath. Tal, who had been taking only a few steps at a time to get to his scattered food piles, had walked to the fence, and he had nickered to his herd! HE NICKERED! The first sound from him in days! That nicker felt like a big sloppy kiss planted in the middle of my forehead oozing with drool trickling down my cheeks! I wrote, and he nickered!  We’re a team! We were on our way! I just knew it! A little hope and trust seeped in and a flame of joy leapt up. I’m feeling the home place again!

I bounced through my chores feeling energized by this new encouragement. As I rounded the corner of the barn, I just happened to notice that Tal was standing on 3 feet while the 4th one was scratching his ear. He was standing on 3 feet, not 4! Putting weight on 3! His soreness must be subsiding! This was a quiet confirmation I could have missed, but Tal was speaking a second time in a subtle sign language I could understand. Another breath of joy!


Motivation had set in. Tal, my surrogate messenger, was overcoming my writer’s block as he’d offered to do. Over the next days, I wrote and wrote, and Tal continued to improve. It even looked to me like he glided at times as he walked, bringing sudden bursts of joy which made my chest feel full and my body tingle. He engaged me, he engaged the other horses, and sometimes he played over the fence with his buddy. I even laughed this time when he kicked out at his sometimes-kicking-partner, Dollar. Improvement was the overriding factor here. There was no question that he was moving with more ease, and was more alert to the life around him, and even a little pissy at times, amusingly.

An acquaintance stopped by to pick up manure for his apple trees. He and I talked about our mystical dog experiences. Tal moved near us and stood in peaceful, divine contentment as he eavesdropped on our conversation. He seemed pleased. Later that same day I was having an interchange with a close friend on the telephone about a new spiritual revelation emerging… just an inkling at this stage. I suddenly felt I was being watched. I looked up and chuckled. There was Tal’s big head and dark brown eyes peering at me from around the corner of the barn, listening in on this dialogue…or was he guiding it? All was well it seemed. We were moving ahead again.


As the days went by, I began to notice that Tal’s improvement had slowed, even stalled, he even had some days where he appeared to have regressed. He was depressed. We all were. We wanted our lives together as a herd to be back. But I didn’t dare put Tal out on pasture in his condition. Or did I? Questions would flit through my mind, wondering why Apolinaire, another horse with sensitive feet, hadn’t shown signs of soreness from the pasture grasses. I removed all supplements because nothing was working and perhaps one was making him worse. How could I know? Was something else going on in Tal’s body, was he permanently lame, did I need to accept this lifestyle for him, was I blowing it with him and messing up his life, was I a failure, were all of my spiritual understandings empty lies….?

As I continued to question and search for physical solutions, I felt a gentle nagging in the background like someone was tugging at my coat from behind. I tried to ignore it, but I knew what it was. Put simply, I hadn’t posted a story. Not one. Zilch.

I’d been writing, not always faithfully, but nevertheless, making headway, but stories were not finished, or those that were had been tucked away in my computer for future posting, maybe. My blog, this blog, sat dormant from my end, abandoned. Faithful visitors were still coming, waiting, looking. In the meantime I was hoarding the stories the horses had given to me, and I was sneaking peeks at the blog from behind a dark curtain. It was clearly a case of hoarding. But why? Why couldn’t I post? I’d taken some encouraging steps but there was obviously an obstruction. Tal was not finished with me. He was working on removing the blockade itself, the promise of which had been such an amazing relief to me, but it was wedged in tightly. Now the real work begins.

“In approaching an ancient mystery, a surrender is required.” Book of Runes by Ralph Blum

Expression of the Divine, Part 3: The Home Place

photo by Chandra Smith

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m being pulled, stretched, and squeezed into different contorted shapes until I’ve become like one of those crazy mirrors at the circus. I’m not recognizing myself. I feel like my life has become a movie with multiple plots all playing at the same time all entangled in one story leading to one big climax or calamity.

This morning as I was driving to the ranch from our cottage in town, I was feeling introspective. My husband, a talented writer and my writing coach, had just read to me from Brenda Ueland’s book, If You Want to Write, a wonderfully inspiring book, a favorite of both of ours. I’d been beating my head against the wall with my writing. It simply hasn’t been working for me, and not for lack of material. The particular chapter he read inspired me to pay close attention to how I was feeling, and how I would describe it. On the winding trip through the grassland hills and redwood forests here in California to be with the horses and my visiting friends (the ones who I was preparing for when I didn’t have time to write), I wrote in my head. Sentences flowed…but alas, I didn’t stop to record them. But I knew that Tal had already started fulfilling his promise of “stealing my writer’s block away from me.”

Red-tailed Hawk

As I went around a curve, my attention was shifted to the sky above. Keeping one eye on the road, with the other I got a brief glimpse of a Red-tailed Hawk drifting high above my car. My mood perked up. Red-tails are an important expression of the divine in my life. When they appear, they seem to tease me by giving only a brief glimpse, leaving me stretching my neck and twisting my head trying to get in position for just one more look through the windshield of my car. I’m always too late and they disappear behind a hill or tree and I’m left yearning for more.

Today, the quick siting was enough. In the midst of my serious concern with Tal’s sore feet, and my feeling blocked, or blockaded, in my blog writing, still in my grieving process from the death of my father and 3 weeks later our dog, I had seen the Red-tailed Hawk today when internal disharmony had become my dwelling place. That was enough. One quick look, and I knew. Suddenly the churning quieted and I became deliciously weepy for the rest of the drive through the hills to the ranch as the beauty around me plucked the strings of my soul like a harp. The music soothed those places where I’d been ransacked.

The Home Place

When I had left Tal the night before, having done all I could do for him physically to make his feet more comfortable, I stopped and touched in with him. I asked if there were anything else I could do for him. Thinking he would suggest another homeopathic remedy, his response both surprised me and warmed my heart. It came clearly, “Go to the home place. Go to the home place,” this surrogate messenger said lovingly but emphatically. The “home place” is language a good friend of mine uses which describes that place of connection deep in the soul that is a knowing that all is well, that familiar place of remembering who we are as spiritual and mystical beings. It is a feeling of a joy, a perfect peace, contentment, love… a feeling that is so often triggered in the most ordinary moments in life that we sometimes forget are spiritual, a warm shower on a cold day, a face wrapped in a hot washcloth, a juicy strawberry picked right off the vine still pulsating with the morning dew, the visual delight of a jar of orange marmalade sitting on the breakfast table near a crispy pink napkin, purple violas decorating the mellow green of freshly sliced avocados, the smell of pizza in the cold night air, a song from the past that touches a fond memory of love… For my mom, a woman of humble means, it was her new hardwood floors that brought her lingering delight, or a robin in the tree outside her kitchen window.

Knowing the potential impact not only on me, but on Tal of my being in the “home place” because of what I had learned from Kaheka, my thoroughbred (another story to be told soon), I told Tal I was willing to go there. However, I couldn’t just snap my fingers and make myself feel; it needed to be given to me. Within 12 hours I was feeling it. My heavy heart had given way to refreshment. This time it came on the wings of a Red-tailed Hawk, and that was just the first step. How much of all of this was Tal orchestrating, I wondered.


As I approached the ranch, where my friends were staying in my cabin on a much needed retreat, I saw the barn door already open. Pulling into the driveway, I got another glimpse like the one of the Red-tailed only this quick look was through the pickets of the fence. There was my friend’s partner standing tall with Tal in the morning sunshine. What I felt even as I parked the car was a powerful and peaceful tenderness surrounding the barn and pasture so thick you could feel it pressing in on the body like a firm hug, but as soft and quieting as a down filled mattress. I was overcome with the beauty of what I was feeling and what I was seeing, and as I opened the car door, tears of joyful release poured out spontaneously. I was held in my friend’s embrace as I continued to gush. I heard myself repeating, “It is so beautiful, it is so beautiful!”

Tal, who the day before could barely walk, was standing tall with this compassionate male who matched Tal’s height and stature. As he was being groomed, this horse was clearly zoned out in the warmth of Pavel’s touch and the morning sunshine. His eyes were squinted in pure pleasure, and his large Roman head leaned softly against Pavel’s chest. Tenderness between the two. Tenderness everywhere. It was immediately obvious to me that Pavel was gifted with horses although currently had none, and I later learned of his love for horses. All of them seemed to become like puppies around him as he helped with the morning chores, telling him with relaxed body language and mesmerized eyes as they followed him, “I am yours, just tell me what you want.”

Talk about being in the “home place!” Thank you to the Red-tail, to Tal, to Pavel. I couldn’t fully grasp the quality of the feeling. I felt a curious awe, holding my head carefully still lest any movement would spoil it. My eyes as big as a child’s at Christmas kept sneaking peeks trying to take it all in, to comprehend. The tenderness that seemed so fragile that we could break it, was far too dense to shatter. So, I did what I’ve learned through the years, let go of figuring it out, and simply lingered in it.

More to Do

I knew that Tal just had to have been healed that day, but that was not to be. But it was a step. I still had writing to do. That was my assignment. But Tal was given a reprieve while I still floundered. Behind the scenes, I recognized the gifts he had given to all of us that day, along with the herd. What was awakened in Pavel is his story to tell, but Tal had done his work, as Pavel had done his. And I knew this Tennessee Walker needed more opportunity to give his gifts, and I was the primary focus for the weeks to come. He had a challenge on his hands, but inroads were being made, he kept providing stories and working some kind of secret magic in me that I can only feel but not yet understand! There was more to do…

Expression of the Divine, Part 2: Surrogate Messenger

photo by Chandra Smith

The following story took place shortly before Tal developed the full blown case of sore feet I spoke of in the prior post. There were hints of it, however. This is a backdrop for all that happened from this point forward.

A tenderness washes over me, tears mist my eyes and heart. This big brute of a horse, awkward in his movements, loved by humans but tolerated by his kind, what some would call the fat kid on the block that nobody likes, reached deeply into my heart tonight and awakened a sleeping beauty that I didn’t understand at the time but would experience its unfolding over the weeks ahead.

He met me literally and figuratively at the stall door after a stubborn encounter on both of our parts earlier in the day in that very stall.  I wanted him out, he wanted to stay in. I made it a challenge when my authoritarian side reared up. He reacted by planting his four feet solidly in place. He finally went out, but I knew he’d chosen it out of his good will, and not because there was anything I did properly or deservedly.

Tonight, hours later, he paused humbly and forgivingly in the doorway that I had just reopened, and reached out to me with his soft muzzle. He stood still, not entering the stall even though memories of leftover food beckoned to him.

He took his time with me and became a bigger-than-life “fatherly” being, this horse I call our shaman. For those few moments standing next to him, I felt pleasingly small and like a child in a mythological story. He leaned down and asked, “Will you let me take your writer’s block?” Little did I realize what his question had, at that very moment, implanted in my soul.

This horse with a finesse I’d never experienced from him,… or allowed from him, gently opened my heart and took me to the core of my roadblock before I had time to resist. I’d been blocked by the “blockage” itself, subtly believing I had to overcome it myself in order for Tal’s hooves to heal.

“Yes,” I whisper back to him. And felt a spontaneous sigh of relief that the roadblock itself could be surrendered. I had arrived at the core. I didn’t even have to figure it out. In my diligence to conquer, I had forgotten, and was trying to fix myself so the horses in turn would be fixed. I was meeting with constant failure. This was a subtle way of seeing them as needy rather than as powerful spiritual beings. All I had to do in this case with Tal was to receive the spiritual gifts he had to offer by his very presence as a surrogate messenger of the divine. It brought a harmonious melody to my soul. I felt a delightful wonder at what adventure awaited.

Then the doubts crept in like arrogant thieves in broad daylight. I saw them but was powerless to confront them, feeling like I’d been tied and gagged. This concept coming from a horse challenged my religious upbringing at least so it seemed, but as I went deeper, I realized it was also sounding too religious and that made me nervous. I began to think I’d made the whole thing up and left it to simmer on the back of the old woodstove.

But the thieves were too late; the ropes were unraveling. New experiences were already seeping in through the cracks of my mental programming and resistances. The process had started and was not to be stopped.

“There is no use in trying,” said Alice,”I cannot believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland

Expression of the Divine, Part I: Stalled

pen and ink of Tal by Erick Moreau

I’ve been stalled. And so has he, Tal, my Talisman. We’ve been here before. I’ve had writer’s block again and he developed sore feet again. This is the horse who one day last Spring was dramatically healed from laminitis that held him stall-bound until the day I posted a story on my blog after being “stuck” in the mud with no writing. After not moving in his stall either on his own or with my encouragement on halter, he started walking immediately after I posted the first horse story in weeks or maybe months. He recovered quickly from that day on, moving forward as was I…. until recently. (See Day Three. Zigzagging With Realities-Hoarding.)

So here we were again, neither of us “moving forward.” Just as before, the reliable solutions that have always worked in the past, weren’t working as they had at other times, including taking him off of green pastures which always had helped. Sensing the spiritual connection in solving the problem, I zigzagged again between the physical and the mystical realm. Will I ever trust it? The rules are different,… well… actually it’s more about letting go of the rules. I moved between a peaceful deep knowing that my writing and posting the horse stories would help, and a fearful state of “you’ve got to be crazy!”

Joe Camp in his book, The Soul of the Horse Blogged, uses the word “tharn”, a made up word, in describing his own struggle of the soul. It is from the movie, Watership Down, in reference to when rabbits freeze in the headlights. I was feeling tharn!  Sometimes it is difficult to know when to merge the conventional with the spiritual, and when to walk away from it and surrender to a totally new way of doing something that has no roots in the traditional world. This is especially difficult when threatening physical manifestations scream at us and rip us away from our newer and more fragile spiritual truths. My own weaknesses, and unknown blind spots taunt me as I try to embrace a new way of interacting with these sentient beings each time a new challenge is presented. When I can accept what my heart and these horses are telling me, it is absolutely remarkable. I sometimes feel forced into this realm like a child having a tantrum when there are no other choices left that are workable.

As I reflect on what Tal was telling me last Spring, I’m hoarding again. There is an interrelationship between hoarding and not moving forward. What a reflection of my status quo. He was manifesting a physical condition that was a reflection of my spiritual condition. I was hoarding the stories the horses were giving me by not sharing them, and as I was to discover later, hoarding myself for fear of exposing that crazy, mystical side that might slip out in ways I hadn’t intended. I had my reasons of course. I’ve experienced 3 deaths in the past 3 months, but Tal wasn’t letting me get by with that one. There were really other reasons which I’m still sorting out.

So Tal was telling me once again to write. And write I must. In the meantime, he was off pasture; an effective supplement for laminitis was on its way; I was administering homeopathy for pain (he would always give me confirming feedback by taking a few steps forward within a minute of receiving the remedy); and I realized that fortunately we have mud that happens to be strategically located near his stall where he could plant his feet where cooling made his hooves feel better. I put his food in small piles so he was encouraged to walk to get the circulation going which helps heal. I felt I had all bases covered, and in my mind, brushed my hands off in a gesture that indicated I had everything under control… or so I thought.

It didn’t work out that way. Tal had other ideas! I have learned through the years that the horses are an expression of the divine in my life, and do deep spiritual work on my behalf and others, many times in marvelous spiritual pageantry with all of nature. They reflect my body and soul and often work as divine “surrogate messengers”. This term was given to me by Allen Schoen, in his book, Kindred Spirits. I had been struggling with how to define my experience, and there in a moment of synchronicity and magic was the language that satisfied. As I’ve expressed before, this is not to say that we cause their maladies, it is far more complex than that, and far more beautiful when we truly understand the gifts these wise souls offer us. Even a glimpse is humbling.

With all of this information and “knowing”, did I write? No. Typical of our culture’s mode of setting aside things of spirit to a lower priority, I had company coming and needed to get ready, and postponed! Still in denial, I knew in my mundane way of thinking that he would improve because he wasn’t as bad as he’d been the prior time. But Tal didn’t improve. We faced a stormy journey ahead with the battle of my soul.