BY LAUREN MAULDIN
I’m not someone who tends to fall for the woo woo in life. Blame my practical, type-A mind, but I tend to address things with logic and reason. I mean, my back-up plans have a back-up plan!
But the older I get, the more I’ve learned that some things can’t be explained. Against my better judgement, I’ve gotten really into astrology in the past few years. Logic and reason are great, but sometimes there’s room for things a bit more mysterious.
Like most animal lovers, there are times I’d love to talk to my pets. And for riders, that urge is even stronger. We’d love to tell our green horses, “We get to finish early if you get it right!” or ask them what’s wrong after a long bout of mystery lameness. It’s easy to imagine a lot of different scenarios for a Dr.Dolittle to come to the barn.
So when a boarder at my barn said she’s finishing up her coursework in animal communication and was looking for subjects, I jumped at the chance. I don’t think that my horse is capable of articulating sentences and complex human thoughts, but I do believe that animals have unique energies to them. The auro my current horse has is so different from my last. Plus, who am I to judge what it means to communicate? We communicate with our horses every day when we ride, through aids and voice cues and more. Perhaps there are others who can understand things in a different way.
We headed to the pasture to go speak with my horse, Poet, and the first thing she said was that he had strong, palpable, good energy. Since Poet practically trotted over to use for attention, I wasn’t exactly surprised. She told me he was confident, but not cocky, and gained further confidence from doing his job. Also that he had a kind soul, which is what every owner wants to hear.
The first “word” that Poet shared with us was—of all things—sausage. Sausage! She had to ask some follow-up questions to that, and we finally deduced that he enjoyed watching the feral hog come around the property at night. In fact, he likes to watch all kind of things, which I’ve witnessed myself. Most of the time Poet has his head hanging out the stall window, watching the farm, and he certainly likes to look at things when we hack around the property. When asked about what he thought about his home for the past year, he told us that “Texas is more laid back than California” and that he was pretty content here.
The communicator told me to come prepared with questions, and my first was about his failed-before-it-began racing career. Poet trained at the track, but never raced. He said that he enjoyed it, but had no passion for it. He wasn’t scared or frantic about life on the track, and simply summed up his experience there with, “I did my best.” Now I’m not sure all of his track connections would agree, since he was the slowest of the slow, but I’ll have to take his word for it.
Through our conversations, his “mellow” attitude shined through his answers. I asked if he liked our current trainer, “Yeah, sure.” What he thought about horse shows, “Slept in a new place, but it was fine. Cautiously curious about it all.” And if he could explain some recent training issues, “Would like a fat, simple bit or no bit at all.” She said he didn’t have a big ego and was willing to do what was asked, but he often got confused.
Group lessons, where his baby brain often loses patience, are really hard for him “because he doesn’t like to wait on the other people.” He interrupted us at one point to say that he needed “super clear directions” from me, and he was “very relieved” to be able to tell me that. Ultimately, he said that he takes a lot of responsibility for what we do in the ring on himself. Sometimes he gets confused and has a bit of a tantrum (can confirm!), but he can recover. He doesn’t hold that angst with him through the ride.
Aside from my questions, I learned a bit about the spiritual makeup of my horse. She told me he has no major trauma, and has been well cared for and loved. Poet is the first horse I’ve had that I can track every detail of their life, and can confirm that there’s no reason he should be traumatized. When it comes to souls, he’s a “new” soul and is unlikely to have had much in terms of past life. He’s pure, with no baggage.
As we wrapped up the session, she noted how Poet and I were tandem, parallel spirits that are energetically connected. She said there was no doubt we found each other, and while I think that every horse owner in the world would gush if they heard this about their horse… I have to confess I believed it. I randomly stumbled upon his ad one day when I was window shopping. Only after I completely fell in awe with him and he passed the vet did the seller tell me that two different people tried to buy him and backed out last minute to no fault of his own. She told me then, about a year and a half ago, that we were meant to be together. Now, after a lot of learning together and building trust, I’ve started to believe her.
I can’t really definitively say what I think about animal communicators. I want to believe—of course I do. How magical would it be to honestly, authentically talk with our horses? Most of what the communicator told me about Poet felt very accurate, but there were still some misses. She thought he was 12 (he’s 5) and some of the words that he told us didn’t make since, at least not to me.
But still, I can appreciate this for what it is—another tool to love and care for our horses. Would I change my horse’s vet, training or feed regime because of what a communicator said? No, I wouldn’t. But do I think a little extra hard about giving very clear directions to baby Po? I do now.
My biggest takeaway from the animal communicator session was how much I cared for and appreciated my horse. It’s been a hard summer of working through some green, baby horse behavior, but it helped me reflect on all of his good qualities. And “talking” to him made me realize how hard he tries to be a good boy, and how lucky I am to be a part of his journey. Whether you believe in talking to animals or not, that’s a good result for anyone.
About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. Beyond equestrian journalism, she explores body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.
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