Equine Massage Therapist Uses
Flower Essences for Horses with Emotional Trauma

by T. M. D'illon

Nicole Valentine is a certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, who has been using flower essences in her work for two years. She reports encouraging results with horses who suffer emotional trauma. She and her partner, Roddy, run a training facility in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

She uses the essences as supportive therapies. "We work with ‘unmanageable' horses here...it's our specialty. We have many who come with questionable backgrounds. My partner rodeos and we get many through that avenue."

A horse she is currently treating, Henry, is a 7-year-old quarterhorse gelding. "He has feeding issues. He's easy to ride, but difficult to handle on a mental level. He hasn't had a very wonderful background in life."

Henry is extremely "herd-bound," and would literally climb the walls if he couldn't see other horses. It was six months before he could be left alone in a field.

Nicole combines aromatherapy, herbal teas, and flower essences to achieve the noteable results she's evidenced with Henry. Cherry Plum is used for extreme tension or stress, such as a terrified animal that is trapped and White Chestnut promotes better concentration and calmness. She serves him two cups, twice a day, in his grain or over his hay. Henry's daily serving is four drops of each essence combined with the Hops. A noticeable difference was observed within a week.

"Recently a man asked me whatever happened to that Henry horse I was riding last year. I told him I was sitting on him. He couldn't believe it was the same horse because Henry hadn't bucked once."

Nicole massages Henry once a week, with positive results. "The flower essences, herbs, and aromatherapy have balanced out his mind enough that I can use body work on him. He's had chiropractic work done, too, and it's made a large difference in his mind/body connection."

Nicole makes up special dosage bottles for all the horses she takes to horse shows. She uses a sprayer, soaks treats in it, or puts it in their daily water.

I asked Nicole if she takes the same essence combinations as her horses. "Actually I have my own I take," she replied with a laugh, "because when I show a horse, I deal with my own personal issues. And there are a couple of horses I have to be very careful with, because they feed very quickly off your personal temperament. We have a mare who will feed off you in two seconds, if you give her the opportunity. Her name is Kinsley."

Kinsley is a 10-year-old whom Nicole describes as "your typical high-strung thoroughbred." Kinsley bucked riders off and tried to attack when they hit the ground. Nicole started her with an essence combination of Snapdragon (for aggressive tendencies in horses), Impatiens (for high-strung, impulsive animals), and Cherry Plum. "We're having a hard time with her. She's got so many layers that every time I get through one, there's another huge one underneath."

One of the more intriguing cases is that of Juice, a 6-year-old ex-rodeo saddle bronc from Alberta. "Juice is my greatest challenge to date," Nicole admitted. "I've been working with him for about a year and a half. He's just starting to come around. He's a very sweet horse to handle on the ground, but riding him is a different story. Juice has survived a lot of trauma."

She uses a misting bottle to administer essences to this horse. "We started with Valerian herb tea, but it just amplified his jumpiness" Nicole recalled. "So I switched him to Chamomile herb tea, Honeysuckle essence (to release what has happened in the past), and Cherry Plum essence."

The results have been encouraging. "Now you can shoe him, and handle him on the ground. It used to take two hours to catch him. We had to set up an electric fence in the corner of a paddock to feed him. Juice is not the kind of horse that you can be aggressive with. It took a lot of time to get a halter around him."

Nicole Valentine specializes in flower essences, equine sports massage, herb consultation, aromatherapy and saddle fitting. She can be contacted at Inside Out Equine Health Services, 4420 Happy Valley Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V9C 3Z3. She is available for phone consultations at (250) 744-8483.

from telephone interview December 15, 1998;
updated February 2, 1999 and March 4, 1999


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