Read Part 7 of Mystico’s story here
As Mystico settled in to his new home and his new life with us I began to realize how sensitive he was. When I gave him the freedom to be a horse with other horses for the first time in his life, for awhile he became less interested in humans, including me. Whatever his psyche had gone through in his early life and his long journey to me, it was clear he was now just beginning the healing process. Despite being in a safe place where he didn’t have to be constantly vigilant, he was often on edge and he regressed for a time to acting like a horse who had never been handled.
Fortunately with the horses he was at ease and the herd dynamics seemed to be going well. He continued to be respectful of the mares Darma and Minuette. Even though he had just been gelded, he never tried any advances with the mares, and he was respectful and easy with the older geldings and didn’t challenge their authority, even though one of them was one third his size. As time passed he began playing what we called “face games” with both Patches and Laddie. These short sparring matches were playfully mutual.
Patches our blind elder appaloosa gelding offered Mystico firm boundaries and his supportive male presence. In turn he had a young male in the herd to whom he could pass along his wisdom. Our thoroughbred mare Darma offered him the gentle mothering support of a wise female and she began to settle into her role as matriarch of a herd. Minuette the miniature mare was more flirtatious with Mystico than she had ever been with Laddie the miniature gelding, and she spoke her mind at the same time so Mystico adored her. Laddie and he were good buddies and playmates, and Laddie enjoyed having a male close to his own age to bond with. It was amazing how his presence coalesced the horses into a herd, and I couldn’t have orchestrated it all better if I had selected them for their roles.
As the weeks passed he became even more sensitized to any sudden movements and also to touch. I could catch him and put a halter on him, but I discovered that he was anxious about his back legs and having his feet picked up, which posed a problem because I was in between farriers, and I needed to find a farrier who was not only skilled, but also someone who might work him through his fears.
He was also surprisingly anxious about being in a stall or enclosed area with any man. Even though we had open run-in sheds, if he was in the stall when my husband Rod walked by he would pin his ears and sometimes lunge through the half open stall door at him. This threat never became dangerous because we didn’t admonish him; we just talked to him and continued to offer a peaceful but firm boundary. It was clearly a post-traumatic behavior from something in his past. I hadn’t noticed this as much when I’d been with him at Cora’s or Alex’s, but I also hadn’t been with him when the men cleaned his stall. I had seen how abrupt and dominant his owner had been with him. Perhaps this explained his biting the handler on his trip home. Fortunately we had time and patience and we didn’t have to handle or halter him except for vets or the farrier, so we let him be for awhile so he could get used to us and his surroundings. We fed him mash and hay by hand out of big rubber feed bins, trying to get him acclimated to being near us. And we moved around him naturally every day, picking up manure and talking and interacting with all the animals, and making normal noises that happen around a farm.
I consulted once again with the animal communicator Vera. She suggested that this was the time to do an intensive healing session for him that was to pinpoint and resolve past traumas. Her claim was that through her healing work the horse would then be freed of the behaviors that had been caused by the traumas, which had perpetuated the cycle of trauma. I had hired her to work with several of my other horses in this way before and it had seemed that the horses responded well and I felt I learned a lot about them in the process.
When I had asked her a couple of months before to help me make decisions regarding Mystico’s needs, I had been optimistic that she could offer him healing energies and communication at a distance as we made our way home . When unpredictable events had continued to happen that were difficult, frightening, and frustrating for me and Mystico, she had become increasingly critical of me rather than supportive and proactive. I tried to reconcile this from my previous positive experiences with her over the last two years, and I concluded that despite my misgivings I hoped that her healing work still might be beneficial to Mystico. I set aside my anxious thoughts and asked her to come and do a healing session for Mystico.
She came to the farm with her husband Juan. He would usually record and videotape her session for the animal’s owners and for her own records. We greeted each other as if all was well between us. But I held myself in reserve because I was still confused about her treatment of me when I had been in such a crisis.
We segregated Mystico in a paddock so Vera could focus on him. Once she had her microphone in place, she climbed through the fence and blithely walked up to him speaking in a loud high pitched voice, saying how happy she was to see him and that he would remember her energy because she had worked with him at a distance. I watched with increasing concern as she ignored his defensive posture. She approached him from the front and he pinned his ears in warning. Did she not see this? She knew he had attacked my friend Cora, albeit as a defensive reaction to her chasing him. I knew Vera’s energy was much too assertive for him. At one point I thought that perhaps she was eliciting his defensive behavior so she could show a “before and after” scenario for the camera. She continued to talk to him loudly, and she told him that she was there to do an intuitive healing session for him. She stepped even closer to him within arms reach and he suddenly grabbed the front of her sweater with his teeth. She was shocked and stepped back in reaction. He immediately let go and retreated quickly. I was horrified but relieved she didn’t appear to be hurt. My mind was reeling. If she had been in touch with him intuitively and she said therefore he should “know her”, and if he understood that she was offering him healing, then why would he still react that way?
She exited the paddock and said abruptly, “Well he is worse than I feared, he obviously needs a session, even more than I realized, so we’ll have to wait and see when the time is right.” I was confused. I tried reconciling what had just happened with what I had observed in the last few months about Mystico. I knew he could be defensive, but he was equally able to be sweet and kind when help was offered, especially by a woman. But I capitulated to Vera’s take on the situation; obviously there was much to do before he would fully be able to heal his traumas.
We walked into the house to warm up and I offered she and Juan a cup of coffee. We had been friends with them prior to my experiences with Vera that previous couple of months. Now things were strained. I offered to pay her for her time for that day even though the session hadn’t happened. In addition, I reminded her that she hadn’t yet billed me for the time she spent in communication with Mystico and me long distance in Tennessee. Without a moments hesitation, she said the fee for that service was $1,500.00. She must have seen the shock on my face as she quickly said, “In addition to the time I spent with you on the phone, I meditated every single day to clear the energy to make sure that you all got home safely, and it was a several weeks of work..” I glanced at Rod, who was washing dishes. He kept his eyes down, but I could tell he was fuming. What could I do? That was her price. I’d had no idea she would charge me that much, but I felt it was my fault that I hadn’t asked her in advance or along the way how much she would charge, or what exactly she would be doing when I had asked her to help. I’d obviously had no idea that it would be that expensive, and on top of the thousands of dollars we had already spent on rescuing him, it was quite a blow.
Then Juan nonchalantly interjected, “Yeah, and who knows if Mystico would have even made it home if Vera hadn’t been ensuring he would.” I felt like I’d swallowed a brick. I was so shocked I couldn’t even rally a retort. She thought she had ensured Mystico’s safe passage home? One look at Rod again and I could tell he was wishing he had a weapon on hand. He only held his tongue for my sake. He knew how rude and abusive Vera had been to me over the phone during those long difficult weeks, and here she was basically justifying her behavior by saying that she had done it for my own good and it was the only way she could ensure Mystico’s well being, because I’d obviously fallen down on the job and it was only through her advising me and “clearing the energy”, that we had made it home. In addition to that, she was going to charge me a fortune for it.
I paid her, they left, and that was the last time I spoke to her. I recalled all the things that she had advised me to do for Mystico, that when I had done them had actually seemed to make things worse, including gelding Mystico on his way home, and it began to dawn on me what a deep hole I had dug for myself in trusting her over my own intuition. Everything I had believed about her abilities was put into question. I had thought her work was miraculous and that she was an ally and teacher. I had ushered her into the world of horses, and I had referred her to many friends and associates. I did feel that she had amazing gifts, but they came with the steep price of her ego. Now and again someone would question her and her ire was daunting. I had gone along with her judgments of one or two people because she was so convincing, I thought that she must be able to see their true nature. Now I wondered how many of those people had been taken advantage of and then raked over the coals of her personal agenda.
Mystico knew. Mystico had seen right through her, just as he had Cora, just as he had Cora’s vet. He was unfailingly honest, and that was what made him such a daunting horse to be around for those who had a deceptive or selfish agenda. He wasn’t impressed with what she said she could do to help him. He had said, “No!” to a person who I had thought offered the key to his salvation.
It was only over time that I realized that only Mystico held the key to his own salvation; and actually, that he didn’t need saving. He only needed time, good experiences, human love, and a horse family, for him to come around and he continues to be one of the gentlest and most loving horses I have ever known.
Postscript: I have since met quite a few trustworthy and talented animal communicators and healers. The primary criteria I have learned to check their authenticity is that they offer their insights as a perspective and not an ultimate truth. They might offer suggestions for actions but they would never anticipate much less claim to orchestrate and manifest the complex dynamics of time and events of the future. Most of all they are not critical or judgmental about one’s personal approach or decisions, but rather they offer balanced advice, and optional choices that seek harmony for all.
Read Mystico Part 9 here