Article by Terry Boaz
Gedy had suffered some bad handling when he was “broke” to saddle. The woman who trained him was very heavy handed and used the old fashioned “beat them into submission” methods. Gedy was sold to a family that treated him with kindness, but what he had experienced during early training stayed with him. When this family moved, they placed him with us knowing he would have a good home for the rest of his life. Gedy is now 24 years old.
As we began riding Gedy more, we found that if he thought you were going to discipline him in any way, he became very excitable. We worked with him using all the usual training methods to help quiet excitable horses, even though Gedy did calm down a lot, he was still a very excitable and hyper horse. I was told this was just the nature of an Arabian horse, so we accepted the behavior and went on with life. Gedy would prance, dance, step sideways, rear and crow-hop if he was put into a situation that reminded him of the methods used to break him to saddle. On the ground Gedy was very calm, easy to handle and a big love, but in the saddle he was a different horse. Gedy also had the habit of running if he knew you had a halter in your hand. If you walked up to him and placed your arms around his neck, you could lead him anywhere. If he saw the halter, he would lead you on a merry chase!
When Kathy Edstrom came for a visit to California and told me about using Healing Touch, like most people, I was a bit skeptical thinking, “How can something like this really work?” At the time Kathy came, Gedy had just suffered a new transition in his life. A few months before we had to sell his stable mate due to unfortunate circumstances. This was a horse that he had been with for three years. Gedy is very possessive of his buddies, because he has had two older companion horses die while pastured with him. He has a strong separation anxiety because of this. We could never ride him off by himself, because he became so excitable and difficult to handle. When his pasture mate left to go to his new home, Gedy sulked for weeks. He would turn his head away from me, refusing to be consoled. Gedy and I always had a good relationship, but he did not want any part of my efforts to make him feel better.
After a few months, we found a nice Appaloosa gelding to become Gedy’s new friend. We gradually introduced them to each other, but when we turned them lose, Gedy would not let me near the other horse! So, we had to separate them. When Kathy came, Gedy was in one pasture and the new “buddy” in another. I told Kathy the problems with Gedy when riding him and in the pasture. Also, I told her about the gate where we took them out of the pasture to ride off the property. Gedy for some reason wanted out of the gate and would become frantic to get to it. He would dance sideways, crow hop, rear, toss his head, and fight for the bit. I was becoming frustrated because everything I tried to do to discourage this behavior, failed. I finally resorted to riding in a different area and not going near the gate for any reason. This wasn’t a cure, but it avoided the behavior.
Upon Kathy’s arrival, we went out to meet the horses. Kathy, over the few days she spent here, went out to see Gedy and Bandit on a regular basis. She began explaining Healing Touch to me and asked if she could try it. I told her to go ahead, but I was skeptical about it actually working. She worked with him using Healing Touch and then we went riding. I could not believe I was on the same horse! Gedy went calmly, no prancing, no dancing, no crow hopping, or fighting to get out the gate! We rode past the gate and all over with a WALKING and very calmly collected Arabian horse! Since that session, Gedy has not offered to run, nor has he offered to keep me from catching the other horse.
While Kathy was here we turned him out with Bandit and the two are buddies, happy and enjoying each other’s company. Kathy taught me how to use one of the Healing Touch techniques called the Bridging Technique, with Gedy, which I now often do before riding. He has even let others ride him with the same calm demeanor. He does not become excitable as he once did, but calmly walks along enjoying a quiet ride! We are able to ride him out with friends and their horses. Where Gedy used to walk out in the lead, he will now ride behind, in between or in the lead of other horses. Before he always had to be in the lead. It is unbelievable at what we can do with him now that we couldn’t do before Kathy’s visit. We can even walk in and out the “problem” gate calmly and go away from it without incident! Gedy is a different horse and all our friends keep asking, “What did you do to Gedy? He’s so calm! He acts like a Quarter Horse instead of a hyper Arabian!”
Since Kathy taught me the Bridging Technique, we have also used it on a friend’s mustang that had a bucking problem. The mustang is relaxed and now accepting the saddle without bucking and no longer pulling free from his handlers in an attempt to buck the saddle off. He is becoming as relaxed and calm as Gedy has been and continues to be! I hope anyone who has a horse that suffers from a bad experience will be open-minded and try Healing Touch. My horse is certainly proof that it does work! Thank you, Kathy! Gedy sends his love!