I was wondering…
Today a reader wrote to me as a last resort.
She told me that her horse had become aggressive.
There was a long story – starting with a strong minded colt who injured himself at 18 months…
…Much excellent care and therapy ensued.
And then, as time went on, he became human aggressive.
This well bred and very loved gelding is now 7.
The reader asked if I had any ideas as she was fresh out and the only option presented to her now is to put her gelding down…
She was resigned, but reached out to me anyway. Just in case.
I asked her several questions.
And then I asked myself a question.
“Could a horse have PTSD?”
I’M NO EXPERT.
Of course, I am no expert.
I am not a vet nor an equine psychiatrist.
But, I think that any sentient being could suffer PTSD.
I HAD HEARD OF A LIGHT UNIT THAT HELPS VETERANS WITH PTSD…
Both Hubby and I suffer from PTSD. His from Iraq. Mine from a childhood tragedy.
I always have my ear to the ground when PTSD treatments circulate.
A while back, I had heard of a light therapy that helped war veterans. In fact, I’ve heard of a few different types of light therapies that help those who suffer PTSD.
So, I got to thinking…
Could light therapy help a horse with PTSD?
I contacted Ian from ArcEquine in the UK. (no affiliation)
I asked if his ArcEquine could help with PTSD/big behavioral issues in equines
This is what he said:
Please do not allow him to be put down!!
In humans, but equally as relevant to horses and all other animals, the clinical areas that I use it in regularly with huge results are:
1. ANY pain ( including cancer pain and Phantom Limb Pain )
2. Any hormonal imbalance
3. Any immune / auto-immune deficiency ( hay fever, asthma, eczema, psoriasis )
4. Boosts the immune system
5. Rapidly disperses lactic acid
6. Last, but not least, and an area that is associated with many of the above clinical conditions, is the full spectrum of psychological traumas, from anxiety through to PTSD
In this particular area I work all the time with Prof Gordon Turnbull, a Psychiatrist specialising in Trauma, and especially PTSD.
He and I are now very good friends and when I give major presentations ( Olympic athletes, etc ) he acts as a keynote speaker and explains, from a biological, physiological and a psychological point of view why it is that chronic stressors, both physical and psychological, have such a damaging effect on the immune system, which in turn can lead to depressive type symptoms and / or ulcerative colitis, diabetes etc.
As a Psychiatist in the Royal Air Force, he personally dealt with many high profile PTSD sufferers including Terry Waite, John McCarthy, the Tornado pilots ( first Gulf War ) and the Lockerbie survivors.
Over the last 11 years he has sent many of his patients to me, suffering various physical and non-physical problems. We often work togetrher on his most troubled patients.
He is very strong in saying
1. there is never a physical trauma without an associated psychological trauma
2. that unless the trauma is addressed ( both physical and psychological ) the physical healing will be very slow / may not happen.
I regularly work with people whose horses are presenting with a physical problem, usually leg or back, where ALL veterinary examination / scanning fails to enable a diagnosis. Also, horses with severe behavioral problems.
I strongly suspect that all are suffering from psychological trauma, ( almost inevitably as a result of physical trauma earlier in their lives ) and “treat” them accordingly .
ALL have rapidly improved, as will “this” horse, when “treated”. The currents can be delivered via a leg pad OR by way of a long back pad.
Within a very short time ( probably minutes ) of starting, he will become calm. I have seen this many, many times, including when used on stallions.
Other than because of his behaviour, is this a good / quality horse and, if given the option, would the owners want to help / save him?
A UNIT IS FLYING IN AND SHOULD BE HERE NEXT WEEK.
I told the reader with the horse that I would bring a unit into the US for her to use on her horse. Her only requirement was to talk to Ian and give him all of the information he needed to help her horse.
Since this horse had years of medical records and years of therapies and treatments, he would be a good subject for a trial.
And, the reader had to agree to the procedures, do them daily and keep excellent notes.
She said she would, excitedly! She does not, at all, want to destroy her horse.
My hope is that we can help this horse, and in doing so, help many more…
Crossing fingers and willing to dip the toe into these cloudy waters.
I’m sure many of you are shaking your heads.
I am, too. A little.
But I’m also excited…
What if… what if it DOES work?!
To me, a try is worth it.
And if it works… well…
Wouldn’t that be grand?!
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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