Dear Jessica, please forgive that my English is not perfect. I have a big desire to know your thoughts on the question of animal communicators. I am Skeptic about this matter but I want to know what do you think. I love my horses very much and I think that I understand them also. They are my friends. It is two days I went with a friend to talk with a woman who is advertised to be Animal Communicator (Psychic) who talks with horses. My friend's mare has a colt of five months, and my friend has taken the mare away from her colt and the mare is now in her box alone so that the colt can be weaned and also to geld him. Now the mare only stands in the corner of her box and rubs her tail on the wall and pays no attention to anyone. My friend worries that the mare is sick from missing her colt and worried about her colt and that she is rubbing her tail like a human mother would bite her fingernails, of anxiety. But she rubs her tail so much that the hair is disappearing and I begin to see a sore on her tail!
The communicator said that she spoke with the mare in her mind and the mare is unhappy because she thinks the colt will be gelded and this will cause him pain and frustration all his life, the other horses will despise him for that he is not complete. She is a good mother so does not want that her child experiences pain, and frustration, and be humiliated. My friend tried to talk to the mare last evening to recount to her this message from the communicator, but the mare is not listening, at least she continues to rub her tail. My friend telephoned to the communicator who said that my friend did not give the message in the correct way, but the mare has talked again with the communicator in her mind. It is a special gift to communicate with horses, most people cannot do it, only very few, and that the mare is becoming very angry with my friend, she continues to rub her tail to punish my friend for her plans to geld her colt, her idea is to make herself ugly to punish my friend so that she cannot take her in competitions.
Now the communicator must come to the barn and speak to the mare to take away her anger at my friend. My friend is not sure to invite her because it will be very expensive. My friend already spent too much money for the visit and the telephone talk. She is asking me that I lend her this money for the communicator. I like very much my friend and I like very much her mare also, but I do not like the woman who calls herself "communicator" I find her "louche" (sorry I do not know the English for this) and I do not have confidence in her. I think that I understand horses well and I know that this mare is not happy, but I do not believe she is angry with my friend, and I do not think that a horse will harm itself in such a way for punishing the owner. I think this woman is not honest. Please advise me to lend the money or not. Sophie
Your friend should spend her money on the veterinarian, not on this person who makes silly suggestions in exchange for money. It would also be a very good idea for your friend to think about her mare in HORSE terms, not in human terms. I would be willing to bet a good sum of money that this mare is not suffering from any complicated psychological or emotional trauma, but that she IS in pain from a too-full udder.
Putting the mare in a stall is certainly an effective way to stop her foal from nursing, but her milk will not disappear overnight. If she has raised a healthy foal, the foal has kept her udder empty at all times, and she has probably not experienced a tight, painful udder since before the foal was born. THAT - not anger with your friend! - is almost certainly the cause of her tail-rubbing. The mare doesn't have hands and can't rub the painful area, so she is trying to find some way of getting relief from her discomfort - and rubbing her tail against the stall wall is as close as she can get to rubbing her sore udder. If your friend will remove just a little milk - not much, just a very small amount - from the mare's udder, the pressure will be relieved and the mare will be more comfortable and will probably stop damaging her tail. Meanwhile, if you want to lend your friend money for a professional consultation, lend her money for the veterinarian, in case there is something else going on - such as mastitis. This subject came up many years ago on HORSE-SENSE, so you'll find another letter on the topic somewhere in the archives.
If you're a long-term HORSE-SENSE subscriber, you probably know that I have my own thoughts on animal communication: I strongly believe that it's something EVERY horse owner should view as a personal responsibility, in the same way that communicating with their human family is a responsibility.
Communication with animals is NOT a matter of possessing a special, paranormal, psychic talent - it's a matter of informing yourself about the animal's nature and needs, and PAYING ATTENTION. Anyone can do this - it's an ability that humans are born with. I don't know why so few people make use of this particular ability, but it's much more common than most people imagine. Some people have more ability than others, just as they do in every other aspect of life, but everyone's ability can be developed. Most people can improve their skills easily, through attentive practice - and no human should ever accept or assume that "This is something I could never do" or "This is something that only a few select people can do". Those assumptions are simply untrue.
There are some very nice, caring, sensible people who call themselves "animal communicators" and actually do a good job of observing and interpreting the animals they see, and there are also some very dangerous but also nice and caring people who WANT to communicate with animals and convince themselves that they're doing it, even though they are only assigning their own emotions and values and concerns to the animals, and stating them as "things the horse/cat/dog told me".
GOOD "animal communicators" all have two things in common: First, they don't try to assign human values and emotions and thoughts to the animals, and second, they encourage the animals' owners to become more observant and more attentive and learn to communicate directly with their own animals. Communicating is like any other skill - those who actually have it are generally eager to share, and to help others improve their communication skills. Those who try to persuade you that the ability to understand animals is a mystical gift that only the Chosen Few share are not genuine, and should be avoided.
If you think about the horsemen you have known who showed an almost uncanny ability to understand horses, you'll conclude that some people are so very well-informed and so observant that their "interpretations" of animals can appear to be "magic" - but it's just not so. People who "read" horses well are those who WANT to understand horses - AND who have a lifetime of intelligent observation and experience and study to back them up. If a horse-owner such as your friend feels that her own powers of observation are insufficient, that's fine, she is probably correct - and if she wants to consult someone who is likely to understand a horse, she should certainly do so, but she should consult a good trainer, or a good equine vet, or BOTH. There is no shame in looking for help when a situation is confusing or beyond one's own experience, but it IS shameful to call on a charlatan to play on one's fantasies whilst the horse's real problem continues to go unaddressed.
If someone claims that your horse is expressing human emotions ("He's jealous because the other horse got a new bridle", "He doesn't want to go in front on the trail because he's embarrassed that his butt is too big", "She hates her blue saddle pad, she wanted a green one!", "She's rubbing her tail to punish her owner for thinking about gelding her colt"), you're dealing with a charlatan - possibly self-deluded, but a definitely a charlatan. Stay away from this person. If someone tells you that you have no hope of understanding your horse or communicating with it directly, and that if you REALLY love your horse you will pay that person to tell you what your horse is thinking, you had better look out, because if you fall for THAT, someone will probably call you a few days later and tell you that there is a curse on your money and that if you'll empty your bank account and bring the cash to a certain address, he or she will remove the curse for a fee.
Humans who share their lives with horses, cats, dogs, and other animals need to learn to set aside their egos, be quiet and listen (which often means "see" rather than "hear") to their animals. It's worth learning how to do these things. The same meditation skills (the ability to quiet and focus your mind) that can help a good athlete become great can help a good horse-owner (or dog-owner, or cat-owner) become great. Understanding what your animals need or what they are thinking and feeling is not difficult or mysterious - and it's not something that should be reserved for special occasions or handed over to someone else to do for you. Communicating with one's horses is like communicating with one's children - anyone who wants to have either should take them seriously. The good horse-owner directs her efforts to learning everything she can about horse nature and growth and development and needs, learns to communicate with her horses directly, accepts them for what they are, and takes responsibility for their welfare and their happiness. They're living beings, not accessories - and they're living beings that we CAN understand if we're willing to make the effort. If you wanted a one-line definition of a horseman, it might well be "someone who is willing to make that effort."
Your instincts are excellent - and so is your English. For the mare's sake, I hope that your friend will listen to you.
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