Farthy Becomes a Riding Horse
By Susan Rifkin Ajamian


This case history is about how a combination of therapies enabled a talented but difficult mare to heal. This story exists because this horse belonged to a young woman who had the dedication and perseverance to get the help her horse needed.

The story of how Sarah Rider helped heal Farthy's injuries, aches and attitude spans three years. During this time Sarah used conventional therapies, animal communication, herbs, and distant healing. Sarah nursed Farthy through an injury neglected by her former owner, an operation on the old wound, a compound multiple fracture of her splint bone, and horrid behavior.

Farthy is a 10-year old big bay Thoroughbred mare who is clearly a talented athlete. Sarah describes her as a "strong, forward horse, and a fabulous mover - with a confident, independent, bitchy attitude".

Farthy's relationship with Sarah began in January 1998 when she answered the owner's ad for an exercise rider. A few weeks later Sarah arrived to find that Farthy kicked through her stall wall and opened up her left hind leg down to the cannon bone. Surprisingly, she did not go lame despite her owner's intermittent bandaging and medication and being turned out in deep mud. Two and a half months after the injury the owner agreed to sell Farthy to Sarah after hearing a veterinarian's prognosis that Farthy would "most likely have serious trouble down the line". Sarah's friend Judy Szela shipped the severely underweight Farthy to a new barn that day. Sarah began proper treatment of the wound, along with lots of grooming and groceries.

Six months later (after Sarah and Farthy went off to college together) Farthy changed from being "great" to ride, to refusing to trot. She would pin her ears, kick in response to leg pressure, and refuse to move. Except for her being in an extra strong heat cycle, neither Sarah nor the veterinarian could find anything wrong with Farthy's body or her tack. When she then developed an infection at the site of the old wound, Sarah thought that might explain her behavior. Her veterinarian and a leg specialist agreed that Farthy needed surgery. In January 1999 the specialist removed a lot of scar tissue and re-closed the wound with cleaner edges.

Sarah said, "Farthy was healing beautifully, and by the end of the winter I was allowed to start riding her. I thought that the pain from her leg caused her behavior in the fall, and that she would be better now. But she was still bad. She was kicking, bucking, and rearing when I asked her to trot. During a lesson my success rate was about 80 percent (walk, trot, canter!), but on my own it was more like 40 percent."

In early June Farthy had a small, deep, kick wound in her right hind leg. As the veterinarian cleaned it, Sarah thought she saw something white. Sarah said, "The veterinarian told me it was unlikely, then I heard that infamous 'hmmm' and as she stood up she said 'so, how did you like that leg surgeon you used?' Then she pulled out a one-inch piece of splint bone, and her radiographs showed six additional pieces. But the leg surgeon thought Farthy's injury was too close to her hock to operate, and I might have to put her down if she got an infection, or her body tried to sequester a bone fragment."

For four months Farthy was on lots of medication, stall rest, and hand walking. In early fall Sarah tried to ride her, but Farthy's temper tantrums were so bad that Sarah rarely rode her, and then only at the walk. Then Farthy had a bout of lymphangitis in her left hind leg.

Sarah said "In the spring, when I knew she was healthy and sound, but still unbearable to ride, my veterinarian did an ultrasound of her ovaries and checked her hormone levels. Everything was normal. But Farthy was constantly in heat."

Animal communicator Whitney Taylor told Sarah that Farthy had aches and pains mostly along her spine, and down into all four legs. Two legs hurt from her weight shift off the other two. And Farthy thought her attitude and behavior problems needed to be fixed before addressing her physical problems. Farthy also requested certain herbs, and Sarah found most of these in Hilton Herbs "Regulate".

So Sarah gave Farthy the "Regulate". Sarah said, "Farthy usually spends the entire summer in heat. On the Regulate she wasn't coming into heat - at all." Sarah decided it was time to follow Judy and Whitney's suggestion to call Chris Treml for help. Whitney had used Chris and had very good results for her own horse. Sarah was quite doubtful, but Judy felt so strongly about it, that she sponsored Farthy's appointments.

Chris told Sarah that Farthy was very sore and out of alignment along her ribs, and very unhappy. But even after the first two appointments for long-distance healing with Chris, Farthy was still biting and kicking. So Chris came in person for the third appointment. In addition to bodywork, Chris also did brain integration to release Farthy's mental holding patterns of pain and allow her physical improvements to stay in place. Instead of trying to bite the person working on her like she usually did, Farthy stood quietly and yawned a lot. Chris explained that this yawning verified the change in Farthy's energy flow.

Sarah wrote, " I waited two days and got on to ride. I asked for a trot. Her ears pinned, she let out a kick but, wait, she stops kicking and I ride. A real ride on my horse, walking, trotting, stopping, starting. She's happy ?!?"

The fourth week Chris resumed using long-distance healing on Farthy. Some places in her body were out of alignment, but many were remaining in the proper place. By week five, Sarah recalls that "We continued to have great rides, even canter a bit. Farthy was a different horse. She stood while I groomed her instead of trying to bite me. She stood quietly for the saddle and girth instead of trying to take off the closest person's head. She stood in the aisle without crossties, and also followed me around. It amazes me how bad she had gotten without my noticing it until she became good again! People around the barn were definitely noticing how much HAPPIER Farthy was, not only when I was riding, but also just around the barn. I am still hesitant to tell people all the things I tried, especially what I really believe worked - Chris, the herbs, and having Whitney monitor Farthy's progress. Not once since the breakthrough with Chris have I had to stop riding because Farthy refuses to work or because I am in a losing battle.

"I also changed my approach to riding. Our warm-up/crabby time is decreasing. But if she throws a fit, I smile to relax myself and start to do drills to get her attention and challenge her balance. She is now relaxed, forward, and fun to ride. With the help of lots of people I may have a sound, challenging, but pleasurable mare to ride again."

Susan Rifkin Ajamian is a freelance author and regular contributor to Natural Horse. She specializes in complementary therapies, which she uses to help her husband, her 21-year old horse, and their 20-year old cat.