ET makes a big difference

Denyse Cambie (ET Instructor)

I started ET in January 2004 hosting a course at my place in Tauranga. It had such a profound effect on myself and my horses that I continued hosting and working my way through the levels. I was working full time and had my own horses, so I had no intention of becoming a practitioner or instructor.

A chance meeting with an acquaintance changed that! The owner KB had told me that she had owned Charlie for two years and had only ridden him for about three months as he had mostly been unsound (but was sound when KB bought him), and despite special shoes and expensive pentosan injections he was no better so KB had made the decision to have him euthanised. He had some years ago been involved in a racing accident and shunted from behind, been through several owners since, and the dealer KB got him from had a reputation of getting horses from the dog tucker truck.

Charlie lived over an hours drive from me, but I offered to come and work on him for free to give him a chance. KB initially declined as she had tried chiropractic, and other bodywork, and he didn’t like it and it had no effect, but eventually she agreed to delay the vet for a week so I could come and see him. The poor boy was in pain and very shut down, and KB kept telling me he wouldn’t let me touch his withers, his hamstrings, his shoulders etc. so I had to banish her. He was stoic and didn’t give much feedback, but he let me do everything except his shoulders and I was happy with his progress in the first session. He had a long drink after the session then went and stood under a tree away from the other horses and processed everything.

KB had to fly to the Sth Is for three days the next day, but when she came home she rang me to say “I don’t know what magic you have done to my horse but I just went out to the paddock and put my hand on his withers without thinking, and without a halter, and he didn’t care”.

It was a month before I could get back, but the progress was encouraging. Charlie had put on weight and seemed much happier and more relaxed. The pentosan injections were discontinued when KB made the initial decision to have him euthanised, and the special shoes were replaced with conventional shoes.
During the second session there was so much improvement, he started giving more feedback, but he was still unhappy in his shoulders.

Another month until the next session and he had put on muscle and weight and was being ridden and happy in his job. Again progress, again still unhappy in his shoulders but starting to let me in. Now I have so much more experience and I would have given the owner exercises to do to help his shoulders right at the start, but I look back and am still amazed at how well he did despite only having monthly sessions. He would not let me do the first rib, going backwards if I tried. But then after the session he pranced through the gate, rolled and then invited the other horses to play. He was socialising with the other horses (who he previously ignored), rolling right over and back (which KB had never seen him do), and was starting to look like one horse instead of a different horse behind and in front.

I was so happy but still unable to really get his shoulders (and feeling very novice despite our wins), so asked if KB could bring him up to my place during the next course so Jock could work on him. KB hired a float and as she drove up the ramp fell off. When she stopped, he panicked and went backwards breaking the chain and somersaulting out on the road where he grazed his hamstrings, ripped shoes off and lacerated his legs and was lucky not to be hit by a car. KB contacted a friend to transport him home and got the vet, but Charlie would not let the vet near him and as the vet couldn’t sedate him, he could not do more than say “it appeared he had not sustained any major injuries”.

By the time he was home, and the vet had been, KB phoned me but it was too late to go down to her place (although Jock wanted to get in the car and go as soon as we finished teaching) so I said I would come straight after work Monday. Charlie let me work very gently everywhere apart from not letting me near his shoulders. After so much progress we were devastated. But now I had to make the time to see him more often, and I did show KB the exercises for his shoulders.
Next session my notes say “back and hindquarters lovely and supple” so there were some wins. The shoulders were still tight, but again making a little more progress and starting to let me in.

Notes from the session after “Charlie looking a million dollars!” And he was allowing more work on his shoulders even if not 100% where I wanted him to be. Despite the setback with the float he made rapid progress after that and made me decide to take on limited work as a practitioner (while still working full time). I am so glad Charlies owner let me work on him and gave me the incentive to use the gift of Equine Touch to help so many other horses, and eventually also become an instructor and have the privilege of teaching people to help their horses.