Horse whispers: how I was healed from the past

Miracles Happen Every Day – series

by Lynn U. Stewart

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Memories have magic and sometimes messages. The lessons show up in the most creative ways.

When I was asked to join a Natural Leadership session with trainer Sandra Geisler, the owner of Lighthorse, I was amazed to hear myself say a spontaneous “yes”. It had been 12 years since I had been around horses. Many opportunities and invitations, but every time my answer had been “no!” so far.

It took an hour to get to Wijdenes, in the countryside of Holland. When I arrived at the property I felt the tears sting behind my eyes, my mouth dried, and the memoires surfacing like little earthquakes.

I think it’s the smell of horses and being in the country. I’m upset, a bit nervous and unsettled. It has been so long and it’s such a familiar scent. It reminds me of summer-fun, friends, childhood, my horse Southern Bell – happy memories, yet bittersweet.

Getting out of the car, I saw the coral. Eight horses standing there in all sizes, colors and shapes. Eating hay, playing, nuzzling, and being with each other, while still others were staring at me, as if wanting to make contact.

Sandra greeted me warmly, and invited me to sit at the rectangular kitchen table. Framed by a picture window looking out on the meadow, she let me know what to expect working with her horses.

“Lynn, do you have anything that you’d like to work on today?” she asked. “I would love to know what I need to let go of in order to be peaceful around horses, and to let go of the emotions.”

Sandra named all of her horses. When invited to choose one, I did. Her name was “Spirit”. Entering the paddock, the leader of the herd, Banderas, stood in my way. Being comfortable around horses, I pushed my way past him and started my search for Spirit. Magnetized by this brown mare with a white spot on her head, I found Spirit almost immediately. Our connection being made nose to nose, she quietly led me to the fence. Beyond the fence there was another chestnut gelding named Rivaldos. This horse nuzzled up to Spirit. As I watched the two horses connect over the railing, a conflict rose up: I felt ignored. An overwhelming sadness came over me. When I called to Sandra, she quietly asked, “What was it between the men and women in your family?”.

“I felt ignored, as they tried to solve their own problems and put all of the attention on each other. It was lonely”.

At that moment, Spirit walks away and joins some other horses at the trough. I stood there watching, feeling the emptiness and more sadness.

“What’s happening?” Sandra asked.

“I feel alone.” Watching Spirit, I felt moved to go to her for comfort, just as I had with Southern Bell, my own quarter horse, in sad times many decades ago.

“What else?” Sandra asked.

“Horses were my refuge, whenever my family would fight, I would leave the house, go to the paddock, and find my horse. I would find peace and solace with those big strong sweet beasts”.

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At that moment, I could see it all. Being small and scared and alone, the horses meant safety, protection, and the guardians of peace. The setting and tableau created by the horses had made a familiar scene, a return from childhood.

At that moment, another horse named Willow came over to me, and placed its head in my arms so I could stroke it’s cheek. Feeling the familiar and welcome weight of the horse’s head and the sweet scent of its breath, I was tossed back into a past moment.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Banderas returned and, from behind, placed his head on my shoulder. Years ago I had to stop riding due to shoulder and knee injuries, and now Banderas started massaging and licking my injured shoulder. For the next 30 minutes, he continued licking my shoulder and the back of my neck. He dives down to my knee and licks the back of the left injured joint. I felt like a master healing was taking place from a caring steed, sent to me from some other place, allowing me to find a soothing safety.

Sandra shared the story of this healing horse. Banderas in the past was unable to be ridden. He could not bear any weight on his back. It was as if he had gone directly to the stress in my body to relieve my shoulder and knee from the burden of the family of origin.

I knew the answer to my question. The horses had provided a play. They acted out for me a story that needed to be re-told. That day I found peace. It opened another part to my story of healing through horses. This memorable day opened a chapter of revisiting the mythical world of Sandra’s horses and my memories.

In May 2014 I rode again for the first time in 15 years. It was an overwhelmingly inspired day.

Lynn U Stewart, Director of The MMS Worldwide Institute B.V.

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