Last year, I took a bit of a leap of faith and decided to talk to The Black Mare via animal communicator. The communicator I use, Dawn Allen, had been used by a friend of mine, and then my previous coach at Otterbein with great accuracy. I had the same results, with a fantastic and intriguing session. (You can read about our first session here). Since then, I have had other friends use her for their horses, my family has started using her for our family pets, including multiple dogs, birds and even guinea pigs.
Note: for all the “neigh”-sayers in the back…I get it. It is definitely an alternative field, and despite having an extensive scientific background and being in the pursuit of a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, I choose to explore all modalities available to us. While it may be unconventional (and I have certainly seen poor animal communicators), the one that I use has consistently given accurate and detailed conversations with every pet that I have directly had her speak to, and with every pet that my friends, peers and colleagues have used her for. If it is something you are on the fence about, I recommend taking the plunge and scheduling a session. You might be surprised!
Since our initial conversation, I made the decision that I would periodically chat with The Mare, and as a Christmas present from my parents, I received another session with Dawn. After the events that transpired during our first semester at vet school (from leaving Otterbein, to moving to a new barn, getting kicked twice in 2 weeks, 12 weeks of stall rest and then moving to another new barn), I figured that she would have a lot of opinions. Mostly, I wanted to ensure that she was happy, and the leg she injured in the fall was not bothering her.
Dawn works over the phone, so when she called, I reminded her of my horse’s details. Name, age, breed and color. She asked why I was calling, and I told her I wanted to check in; that we’d graduated, moved barns (twice-but I didn’t say under what circumstances or any details about the barn or even where it was), and I wanted to start off with what her general impressions were.
After about 2 minutes, she came back and asked how many arenas this barn had. Slightly confused, I told her 2 indoors , but that one was being used for storage. She said she was going to ask The Mare a few more questions and came back about anot
her minute later.
She started off by telling me that my horse is ‘smart and thoughtful’ (And like a proud parent would, I of course loved the compliment of my kid).
The Mare’s first thing was that she very much likes the barn we are at now, and that the people-especially the people who work there-are very nice. She said that it was an improvement in her environment (And from the barn before where she was injured, and even Otterbein-where she complained of ‘too competitive’ an environment, I’m apt to agree).
She then went on to tell me that she likes the indoor arena at the barn as well, especially the footing. However, she said that it is very dusty, maybe moreso than other places we have been, and that is gets in her nose-which she does not like. Dawn chuckled and said, “She keeps asking why you can’t just ride in the other arena” which is why she said she had to clarify with me how many arenas there were-she was confused why my horse would be so persistent about the issue when most barns only have 1 arena.
The other tidbit of information The Mare divulged to me before we got into specific questions was that she is sore on her front right shoulder/base of her neck, which bothers her mostly when she is in right lead canter. I hadn’t noticed her sore necessarily, but had thought her right lead canter seemed weaker than normal for her. Dawn noted that the pain felt more muscular in nature, so I am looking into addressing the soreness with massage therapy.
I then specifically asked about her leg, which had been injured and now just bears some residual swelling below her hock. I waited with bated breath-what if there was something we hadn’t seen? Thankfully, The Mare reported that her leg feels the same as it has always felt, and no different standing or moving or doing anything.
We then discussed a couple behavioral things The Mare and I have been battling. Along the outside wall of the arena, there are industrial fans, and The Mare does not appreciate their presence. I thought she was concerned they might turn on or something along those lines, so I asked. Apparently, she is unaware of what they do, but they make a rattling sound that I had not previously noticed; and the faster we go past them, the more they rattle. (This makes sense, she’ll walk past them just fine, trot past them with some concern and head tossing, but if we canter past them, she pretty much flat-out runs away from them. Also note, I had not told the communicator this information prior). Dawn made a note to tell The Mare that the fans were not, in fact, out to get her.
We had a similar conversation regarding tarps. Because the barn is still partially under construction, they have hung tarps to try to keep the heat in the finished aisleway. But it means that we have to walk through/under them to get to the arena. My horse-who has been desensitized to tarps and will play with it just standing near it, is hesitant to walk under it, and flings her head dangerously close to the ceiling beams whenever I ask her to walk through them. It usually takes about 2-3 people to get her through them each time.
Evidently, The Mare is concerned about the tarp hitting her hind end-she doesn’t like the feeling; and if she is walking through a space that she can’t see her hindquarters, she gets concerned. Dawn attempted to relay that the tarp was not going to each her any more than the fans were.
While the fan problem wasn’t fixed, we got closer to them today (After our chat) than any other time we have tried to work near them, and although she still hesitated before the tarp, she made it through it with considerably less ado than normal. (We shall see if there continues to be improvement on both fronts!)
The last thing I asked my horse was if there was anything she wanted me to know, or potentially fix. (The last time I asked this, she told me her bridle was too tight at the poll, and we made adjustments with noticeable improvement in the consistency of her head carriage).
She once again reiterated that everything about the barn was good-the arena, the people, the food, the environment; she is very happy about the barn (Which makes me happy as well, because I fretted and searched for a good bit to try to find her the best fit; I love the barn, and I’m glad to know that she thinks highly of it and the people there as well).
Dawn then paused, and wondered aloud if maybe it was related to the time that she was on stall rest, that The Mare had felt that I wasn’t giving her enough attention. (And like a small child asking, ‘do you not have enough time for me?’ my heart just about ripped in two). While I did my best during those 12 weeks, there were definitely days where I went out and did the bare minimum with her; balancing coursework and her care was difficult. After the call, I also realized she may have been referring to the fact that over Christmas I was home for 2 weeks, and our chat was just a couple days after I’d returned.
She said that The Mare definitely notices when I’m there and when I show up, and it doesn’t matter what we do, or what we do when I ride, it just matters that I’m there. She also said The Mare expects me to be there everyday (At this point, Dawn asked if our other barn-Otterbein-was closer in proximity…which it was-I lived on the property. Dawn chuckled again and said that The Mare had grown accustomed to that, and while the people at our barn are quite nice, she most definitely expects and looks for me.) Both a good and bad thing; I love that The Mare looks for me, but I also know that attempting to spread myself that thin between classes and my horse is not a good idea. (I am sure we will find some kind of balance between the two).
Once again, Dawn was able to accurately relay information about my Mare, her personality, our work, the barn, and even into my own life. Last time we talked, I had my eyes set on competition and wanted to make sure The Mare was happy and ready to go along for the ride. I was relieved to find her mostly happy, and amused at her reasoning.
This time, I fretted over injuries and breathed sighs of relief at her continued recovery and approval of our barn. And, perhaps the most important bit of information: As it turns out, I might mean just as much to The Mare, as The Mare means to me.