One of our horse listeners emailed me this question and heartfelt sharing. It’s a great topic to explore and something that likely all of us have had painful experiences with.
I have had several horses die and I wondered if I had done the right things for them? Actually I know I didn’t. In chronic illness I tend to panic and give my choices over to other people, particularly vets. Sometimes this works and sometimes not. Staying grounded and in touch with the horse is crucial, and yet I don’t always have any confidence in that. I still have grief and guilt and a profound distrust of vets and western medicine. And a distrust of other people looking after my horses. This really limits what I can do away from the horses.
This is an issue that is very common, not only with vets, but with people dealing with medical doctors. Especially if they have a chronic illness. As a gut healing author, I hear from hundreds of people who have had the most horrific disasters and mis-management of their condition you can imagine. All as a result of following a doctor’s advice.
But here’s the thing: vets and doctors are just people too. Sure they’ve had specialized training in drug use and surgery and they likely have more experience and ideas than you have. But do they have the ability to connect with your horse’s own body wisdom? Are they able to trace a physical phenomena back to it’s emotional or spiritual roots? Here’s a big one: Do they even have permission to enlighten you as to how your horsekeeping practices, or your own emotional state/needs are negatively impacting your horse? Lastly, how much training in root-level healing have they had?
At some point, if you have horses that keep getting ill or injured, you need to look beyond the base physical level of reality and lean in to the message(s) your horse is giving you via his body.
As a result of this reader’s query, I created a Lazer Tapping session specifically on Guilt, Shame, Blame for Medical Issues (Human or Animal).
Note: As a result of repeated requests, I have also made a number of my mind/body acupressure tapping sessions available as Single sessions. So you don’t need to purchase the course and learn to tap for yourself; you can just do whichever session you need, as you need it – for only $11 each.
Anyone with this experience would likely also benefit from my tapping session on Release Anger or Resentment. Make the vet or the entire situation the topic (the person/situation you are angry at and resent) as you tap.
The other pieces I see happening in this situation are:
1. Resistance to death/loss/change/seeing death as the worst thing. Death is the only certain thing. What we do between now and then, how we lean in, is what gives it all meaning. Can you give your love to God (the Divine/destiny/universe), and trust him/her/it/everything to safeguard it for you?
It is often this resistance to death, seeing death as a terrible, horrific thing that must be fought against with every ounce of strength and energy, that underlies decision-making when dealing with injury or illness. So then we are making fear-based decisions… which are never good decisions!
In order, to get out of fear, and give yourself space to make non-pressured, non-fear-based decisions, you really need to make peace with death.
If you seen or re-experienced any past lives, you no longer fear death. If you’re able to connect with animals or people who’ve died/transitioned, you will no longer fear death. If you haven’t had any personal experience with death as a transition or transformation, rather than an end into nothingness, then seek out books about this topic. There are a few books by hardcore medical doctors talking about either their own near death experience (NDE), or stories from dozens of patient accounts. The book by Anita Moorjani, Dying To Be Me, is an excellent place to start.
2. I feel your horse asking you to FORGIVE yourself and give yourself permission to accept/receive that forgiveness (you’re the only one who can). Life is not about the right or wrong answer in any given moment; everything just IS. It is the regret/uncertainty/fear/clinging to the past that prolongs the grief and limits courage. Can you be forgiven? Can you forgive yourself?
3. I see nothing wrong with seeking the opinion of a vet. Get a 1st, 2nd or 3rd opinion if you want, BUT every piece of guidance/suggestion that is recommended needs to be filtered through your own filter of truth – and ideally the horse’s inner wisdom, if you can tap into this. Fear seems to sabotage our ability to trust our knowing and our connection to our horse.
Again, can you trust the process of what is happening, and surrender control? And how can this experience with your horse help you build this sense of trust in your own higher knowing, and in the higher knowing of your horse?
When you hand over responsibility for healing to someone else, you sabotage your opportunity to walk this pathway of healing together with your horse. Any healing journey is an opportunity, a portal, to an incredibly enriching, life-altering, growth experience.
One year, Jax got a severe puncture wound in his armpit. At first he wanted to heal it himself, so Güliz and I cleaned the wound and kept an eye on it. We watched him use deep breathwork to control the pain and work on his own healing. By day 3 my intuition was feeling strongly that infection was looming and I didn’t feel Jax could do enough to combat that. I also didn’t have the tools to flush his deep wound adequately (but I do now!), so I asked him if we could call the vet. He said yes, but he wanted Güliz to be with him.
I believe Jax wanted to experience vet care to map what this state of drug-induced surrender/powerlessness felt like – it was part of his own growth/expansion journey. I also think he wanted to guide Güliz through an experience of consulting/working with a vet, yet observing how he would not give his power away to the vet. He also made Güliz clean his wound every day and wouldn’t let me touch it!
It was a fascinating experience of watching him, for example, refuse the diuretic drugs, then go eat an entire row of a plant we’d never seen horses eat before. When we looked it up, it turned out to be a powerful cleanser and diuretic! Then he would only take the antibiotics for 3-4 days (tapering off on day 4 with half a dose). Right then, a friend with a PhD in Immunology sent me an article on how the standard course of antibiotics (7-10 days) is now considered incorrect and actually encourages the bacteria to mutate and get stronger! So it’s better to do only 3-4 days and stop when it feels like the infection has turned a corner.
Jax provided us with a master class in body wisdom, the wisdom of nature, and how to utilize medical tools, without giving up your wisdom, autonomy, or responsibility for your own healing journey.
So if you look at all these elements, you’ll see that this isn’t just about your horse’s healthcare/choices! This is about your LIFE and your process/journey in life.
Build fluency in natural healthcare
This may be a bit more complicated if you also work as a nurse, scientist, vet assistant, etc – as most of your training is in the drug/med way, making it more likely for you to default to vet/med care when stressed or fearful. Perhaps your horse is calling you to study herbal medicine? So you can amass and strengthen a better toolkit for her. Or perhaps he wants you to learn pranic healing or Reiki?
Our fear over health issues (covid anyone?) is directly related to the size of our Healing Toolkit. If the only tool we believe in, or feel is powerful, or have any experience with, is vet/med care, then we have put ourselves firmly in that box. We have actually cut ourselves off from kinder, gentler, holistic, and possibly more powerful choices.
We must begin to build fluency in natural/holistic methods of healthcare when we are NOT in an emergency! Do you have a horse herb garden, where your horse can self-select natural medicine before they reach a critical stage?
Do you have dried herbs on hand, so your horse can ask you for help and self-select what they need ongoing?
Next time your horse develops a hoof abscess, or lice or fleas, or a lump/tumour, thrush infection, or proud flesh, itchy skin, overweight, laminitis or colic… are you going to immediately call the vet? Or are you going to give yourself and your horse some time to dialogue together and try some of the natural remedies on this blog, or from other trusted sources?
A great way to ease yourself into this process when you’re really scared and have no faith in your own ability to care for, or listen to your horse, is to do an Internet search to find out what the vet would do in a situation like this. Equip yourself with a good understanding of the drug/surgical options available, so you’re not just flying blind. Post in forums where people have dealt with similar issues and read the variety of answers that come back.
If you’re strong-willed, you may be able to actually have the vet come out for a consult only. But if you’re not strongly committed to natural healing, it’s likely the vet will talk you into drug treatment if you give her/him a chance.
I provide my natural healing toolkit for humans free of charge in the Home Remedies section of my health blog – everything on there is tried-and-tested by hundreds/thousands of my readers, and my own family. So simultaneously, build your fluency and start stocking your medicine bag with human remedies. Because this is not just about your horse! Their healing is your healing is their healing is your healing… and so on.
Horses use their body to communicate messages to us
Remember too, that horses use physical issues/illness the exact same way our own higher self uses illness/injury – as a way to MESSAGE us about deeper things. Often, the healing that needs to take place doesn’t originate in the physical realm; but in the emotional or spiritual realm. You’ve seen my posts on this right? Here’s one and here’s another one.
I think horses only use their bodies to message us, when we are not getting it any other way. And they decide it’s important enough to manifest an injury/illness in their own body – in an attempt to get us to pay attention.
In these instances, when the horse uses their body to message you about an area or aspect of yourself that needs to be brought into wholeness (in alignment with Highest Good), it is an act of service, and often a sacred process.
Once we address the emotional/spiritual wounding or need, the physical then heals very quickly. Perhaps it doesn’t even matter whether herbs or drugs are used, once the origin is addressed!
I know people who teach animal communication and energy healing, whose first response when their dogs or horses get ill, or injured, is to call the vet! Even with their powerful toolkit, they do exactly what most people do – give their power away, place the vet above the animal’s own wisdom, and put themselves in such a restricted fear-based state, that they can’t connect/hear their animal’s wisdom.
Sometimes they can calm themselves enough to hear their horse or dog, but then they don’t fully trust it and default to the vet’s advice. Do you think their animals get sick/injured a lot? You bet! Because they must lean in to this piece. And until they can fully OWN this space without giving their power away, and trust themselves, their animals, the wisdom of life, and not fear death, and lean into the MESSAGE behind the illness/injury… their animals are going to keep giving them the opportunity to practice!
I once dialogued with a couple of horses, owned by someone who teaches equine-assisted learning, whose hooves hurt so much they were crippled and could barely hobble around. I told them what they could do to help themselves, and asked if they wanted me to speak to their owner. They replied, “No. We’re trying to get a message to her. We’re willing to die if we have to.” They were so clear, so adamant that I was not to interfere even a smidge, and so matter-of-fact about leaving this physical plane.
“My horse takes me down so many rabbit holes. I would like to understand what she is trying to tell me and that we could have a less painful way. In the words of Velvet Brown, “I would rather have that horse happy than go to heaven.”
That’s another really great piece to keep in mind; animals do not view death the same way that humans do! In fact, nothing else in nature views death with the fear and attachment that humans have. Yes, animals can be sad when those they love die, but in my experience, since they are not blocked from contacting, interacting and sharing love with beings in other dimensions, they do not suffer the tragedy that humans do (due to our belief systems).
Another great way to lean into deeper messages when your conscious mind is panicking, or locked in fear, so you can’t hear your horse, is to use medicine cards. Medicine cards, oracle cards, tarot, or simply connecting in prayer and allowing your bible to fall open to a particular passage, are all really great ways of bypassing the frantic, conscious mind. They are tools to help us connect to the divine and our subconscious – which are not mired in fear and attachment. The key is to ask ONE really clear question at a time.
As soon as an animal becomes domestic and is under our care, their healing is our healing. And our healing is their healing. I was discussing this feedback loop with a dog recently, and I couldn’t discern whether she had chosen to be in this loop, or whether it simply occurs whenever an animal is domesticated…
Either way, in spite of being in daily pain, she did not seem concerned that it was taking her human so long to lean in and receive messages. Animals have such tremendous compassion and they also take the long-view. Maybe you just can’t get there in this lifetime? Maybe the cost is too high? Or you’re not willing to do what it takes? It’s totally okay. Our animals have boundless compassion and patience and they will meet us again in another lifetime… it’s all good.
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Lazer Tapping instructor. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
16 thoughts on “I Feel Guilty – My Vet Injured/Killed my Horse”
What an amazing article Jini. Thank you for saying all those truths. In the later stages of Pie’s cancer he said, frequently. “ in the wild there are no sick or old horses”
I echo the body teachings you talk about. When I forgot to honor an agreement about riding, my horse contracted laminitis and IR. Remember ing the agreement and making those changes, now she is fine.
I would like to share the story I sent- would you post it for me?
I’d love to see the story – please email it to me 🙂
And thanks for sharing these snippets here. Pie’s statement is interesting when you ponder it… because even though there are biologically old horses in the wild, they are not our concept of ‘old’. They are still fit, vigorous and healthy.
As usual an amazing post! What you mention about animals messaging us – so true, and so true that even though we might know it’s a question of looking at ourselves when an animal has an injury,/illness, it’s incredible that we can forget to make that important connection and instead focus only on the healing for the animal or what deeper emotional/spiritual issue it points to in them, but not include ourselves in the picture!!
Thank you for the concise reminder.
By the way, is that Cobra with you in the bottom picture? I thought he didn’t want to be so up close or any touching, though you’re probably not touching him. But he looks so close and intimate! A beautiful picture….
Yes that is Cobra-bear! You will see in the recent livestream that he even asks me to scratch his chin 🙂
He keeps dancing between asking for connection, scratches and then testing if he can tell us to piss off! Love him.
Thank you, Jini, for covering this topic so thoroughly. When I started teaching and speaking about horse hospice to a natural death, I became so aware of the fear and judgments around pain and death. It is so strong in western culture that euthanasia is presented as the kindest thing we can offer an animal. People are even shamed for not euthanizing. There’s such a disconnect and lack of knowledge about what dying looks like that even western veterinary medicine routinely labels normal dying processes as “unbearable suffering”, when in fact, it is not.
If anyone wants more information on natural dying and now to support an animal through it, here are some resources:
And here’s my favorite article on the stages of dying: https://spiritsintransition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Stages_of_Dying_2nd_vet_hospice_sympos.pdf
Fear distorts EVERYTHING. Well… look around our planet right now 😉
I’m so glad you’re doing this work and making it available to others. I emailed you a thank-you the other day – check your junk mail if you didn’t get it…
Thanks for all the great links! xox
I feel my previous comment on last weeks blog is so in sync with this blog also! I have given up , away and let go of and been bullied into losing my power! With Vets, Farriers and even an equine dentist! It is not a good feeling and has caused me great distress and regret! Although regret can be a seriously impactful way to learn! I think that my culmination of Vet experiences is one of the reasons I chose not to take Roofus to the Vet with his recent impalement!
I am responsible for the animals I have shared life with and I consider myself a strong powerful women and yet I still have allowed these so called experts to do things I was not ok with! I ask myself afterwards why? The last one was when Dreamer had his one and only abscess after his founder! The Vet was prescheduled to run Dreams #s to determine if he was IR/PPID! It was all very new to me so I wanted to know? Anyway my trimmer had rescheduled and ended up coming the same day and he helped the abscess drain as he could tell it was right at the surface of the sole! So when she got there she insisted she give him a tetanus shot! I refused over and over and she proceeded to badger me until I gave in! Again this is me not her but I felt so disappointed in my inability to hold my ground! Fortunately last week my Natural balance dentist came and I told her I did not want to do Dreams yearly dental work because he had LGL and I didn’t want to put sedative in his system! She is the best equine professional I have ever had and completely agreed! It felt so good to have support instead of somebody going against me!
I agree the more you prepare yourself when times are not in chaos and the more tools and techniques the better you can handle life when shit hits the fan! I also think experience with trusting your knowing and seeing outcomes helps strengthen our resolve in our ability to do what is needed and what is not! ✌🏼💚🐴
It’s a catch-22 isn’t it… because HOW do we develop that strength to hold our ground and resist? By going through multiple shitty experiences where we fail to do that!
I think most humans feel that “if I do everything the doctor/vet says, and it all goes wrong, I’m not to blame, because I did everything ‘right’ ” Because so many of us were deeply shamed as children for making the ‘wrong decision’. So we have these powerful, subconscious drivers to be the ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’. As long as we do what we’re told, it’s all good, right? Right?? NO??! Dang.
Thank you for posting the “Guilt, Shame, Blame” video – I really need that now and the topic of fear is very much a part of my recent experience. My beloved horse, Brer Fox, was boarded with some people I came to distrust and I was planning to move him last year, then Covid hit and we were stuck. He ended up with strangulation colic last October and I was pressured by a vet to authorize euthanasia. I couldn’t even be there for him during any of it because the barn owner had Covid and my daughter is in the “high-risk” category. My fear got the best of me and I have so many regrets. And the feeling of total powerlessness – that was/is a huge one. I had used primarily holistic methods of horse care for the 8 years Fox was with me and was regularly doing energy work with him, but I think that not having more influence over his environment and day-to-day life made a negative impact on his health that was difficult/impossible to overcome in the end.
What a striking horse! And man, what a brutal process you’ve been through and I can only imagine the pain you’ve been through. Sending you virtual hugs right now! I’ll be very interested to hear what shifts after you do the Tapping video session. And I also want to encourage you to know that you can continue to connect and enjoy your relationship with Brer Fox in meditative state, or the dreamtime. Only his physical body is gone, but HE is not gone.
He is a huge teacher for you and he will continue to teach you, if you allow him. Guilt, regrets, grief all block his energy/spirit from being able to reach you – they form an energetic wall that keeps him out. Namaste sister.
Yes, brutal is the word for it. I appreciate the honesty in the way you express yourself – no matter what subject you’re talking about it shines through. I love how horses help us this way since they won’t tolerate dishonesty! I did the first tapping session this morning (I know now that need to do several more) and the tears came through first, then there was a level of understanding of the situation as a whole that I haven’t felt or sensed before. You are so right – he was/is a “huge teacher” for me and I felt him with me today for the first time since he died. Big hugs to you too sister – this was exactly what I needed!
Wow Amber that is just wonderful – all of it! Thanks so much for letting me know and giant hugs to both of you xo
This blog post has been so helpful to me. I am in the middle of working through these decisions for my 17 year old mini. He has quite far advanced osteo arthritis which we are dealing with both through conventional pain medication and also diet, supplements etc. He had been going ok, however I feel like the house of cards we have been sitting on has collapsed and over the last two days he has been in so much pain he can hardly walk, he doesn’t want to lie down. Today he asked me to put him in a stable with thick bedding and luckily I was able to do so using one of our covered sheep pens. I have already felt pressure to have him put to sleep, and to see him in so much pain is heartbreaking. But he is no where near there mentally, the thought of dying has not even entered his head, if I was to do that to him now it would feel like tearing him from the world when he was not ready. I think he will tell me when he is, I am listening. I need to recognise at the moment this is more about me not wanting to see him in pain than him actually not being able to cope and work through his pain, I think.
I love your connection and ability to discern where your boy is at. Much respect xo
I think this post by one of our horse listeners will be really helpful for you at this time:
Sending you and your boy much love – post a picture of him if you can…
Thank you for this, I love the story of Jax and the info on antibiotics, wow. Some years ago I had a mare who tore a huge dinner-plate size flap in her side and I was struggling with her healing. I read a post you had by a friend of yours (the beautiful singer, sorry I can’t remember her name) about a healing journey she had with her horses that was sort of similar. Her horses showed her that they could debride the wound and deal with the proud flesh themselves. This was really a turning point for the journey with my mare – when I allowed her to show me what she wanted to do, the healing happened very quickly.
Last year I had a mare, Freya, who died and she took me on a remarkable journey during her 12 hours of dying time. She had a seizure condition that we generally managed naturally (she wasn’t seizure free, but she was very clear about what she wanted). One warm summer evening she had a huge seizure and wasn’t recovering well. After trying a number of things I asked if I could call the vet (she had a very special bond with this vet – another story). As the vet arrived it also became apparent she was colicing. She had 2 more seizures while the vet was assessing her – she suggested euthanasia given Freya’s age (she was approx 28 and how her condition was progressing). I took Freya for a little walk away from the vet and asked her what she wanted. She was so clear, even in her distress – not now. She wanted to die at dawn. She was inviting me into something – to spend the night with her and the herd. I sent the vet away but I was terrified – could I stay awake all night alert enough to support Freya during her seizures (she was about 17 hands so they involved some safety issues for us both)? It was indeed the most remarkable night of my life. We stood together for long periods – Freya, the herd and I, listened to all the night sounds, when I thought I would fall over one of the herd would come and prop me up. Freya had about 14 to 16 seizures and as the night wore on I desperately wanted to call the vet and put an end to it, but each time she would come out of the seizure and be like “no F’ing way!, do not give in to your fear”. Finally dawn came and we all celebrated – it felt like we really did something together. Freya was exhausted and as we walked toward the place where we were going to meet the vet, a song started randomly playing on my phone … “Enter the Light” from an album called Language of the Soul (which I did not have on my phone). I said to Freya, “this is for you, you’re entering the light” and I felt from her, “no, this is for you!”
I think she really got that a dying time is a time to give everything you’ve got, however you can. It’s a time of gifting in the truest sense of the word and in our death phobic culture we’ve pretty much missed this entirely. So I think what you wrote about our limited cultural conditioning around death is really something the horses are asking us to take on.
P.S. I also find the work of Stephen Jenkinson very helpful in this regard (his book Die Wise and assorted other videos and talks).
Oh Tina – this is so goooood!!! I would love to add your story to this post:
would that be okay?
WHAT an incredibly powerful, beautiful experience. This is deep transformational and karmic work.
Imagine what you would have lost/missed if you had allowed your fear to drive the bus, and not been willing to listen to Freya, TRUST your intuition, and lean in?? Namaste sister xo