Recently we have been following and supporting the abused and neglected horses in Black Forest, Colorado. Among them is the renowned cow horse stallion, Dual Peppy. This is a disgusting story of abuse. If you are not familiar with it, here’s a brief synopsis:
Eighteen dead horses were discovered in various stages of decay in a barn in Black Forest, Colorado. There were ten live horses found on the premises in various stages of malnutrition and starvation. They were living in pens with several feet of accumulated manure and urine. Of those ten, several of the horses were locked inside the barn, living amongst the decaying remains of their herd mates. The horses were discovered on a Friday, and were not removed from their owner’s care until the following Monday evening, when a veterinarian was called out to evaluate the situation. The owner of the horses has claimed that 14 of them had died from colic about one to one and a half years earlier. There has been no reporting of the reasons for the deaths of the other four horse’s remains that were found. The owners have claimed they both did not have the funds to work with a veterinarian, and when they had in the past, they had unsatisfactory results.
Thousands of us in the horse community rallied behind a very effective outcry on behalf of these horses. We had to rally in order to urge the investigating authorities to take quick action. The decision of the authorities to leave the horses in those conditions was not acceptable. The poor care and living conditions of such a special animal for us horse lovers is something few will tolerate. What makes this incident more important is the abuse of super star, a legend if you will, and other high quality show horses. The owners had purchased the horses as a group for a total value of 1.5 million.
Because of the outcry of lovers of horses and simply those who care for life itself, the animals have been taken to a safe and caring location where almost every effort will be made to bring them back to a healthy and happy life, especially the super star stallion, Dual Peppy.
Why did I say, “ALMOST”?
It is reported that the much needed care is being delivered by the Sheriff’s Department under veterinary guidance. It has also been reported that in addition to the basics, they are receiving kind attention from their care givers who are making special efforts to stop by and visit with them. However, I doubt Shiatsu massage is on the treatment plan. I believe that this is a very important component that could greatly help them in their recovery.
MASSAGE and touch is a very important ingredient for their complete recovery. To explain to you how important it is, I will share some accounts with you where touch and/or Shiatsu massage made all the difference.
About 35 years ago, a fellow college student shared information about an ancient King who did an experiment with new born babies. He wanted to know what infants would do as far as coming up with a language of their own if they had absolutely no influence from adults. So, he decided to conduct an experiment. He ordered that these babies would be fed, bathed, and other than that, NO HUMAN CONTACT including NOT being touched. What was the outcome? In a years’ time they all had died! I was reminded by my friend Sandy Collier, of a similar story she was familiar with that had occurred in Africa.
There are other stories similar to this in today’s world as well. There are reports of Eastern European orphans who have been warehoused in their cribs in nurseries with only the basics given and little to no caring human contact. The results of which is that many have all sorts of behavioral and developmental problems.
Horses and animals are no different. I can cite personal experiences to support my statement about Dual Peppy and others needing more than just the basics and veterinary care. In my Equine Massage Certification program I put the emphasis on the human and not the horse. I cover a number of different topics in my school, and the main emphasis is, “It is not about the horse”. I focus on the difference between a good massage and a great massage. A good one comes from the head; the great one comes from the heart! Dual Peppy and the others need the missing ingredient that simply will never be and can never be provided through basic care and allopathic medicine.
Married friends of mine, one who is a licensed human chiropractor, and the other an E.M.T., took over the care of an aged horse that had belonged to a person who could no longer care for him. When they took over Billy’s care, he was in bad shape. He was lame and in a lot of pain. His muscles were tight and tense. He was very underweight and dehydrated. He also had a terrible odor (later we learned it was due to liver and kidney failure). They were concerned that he would not even survive the trailer ride to his new home.
However, Billy did make it to his new home. The couple changed his diet to help improve his condition. They also brought in a veterinarian to evaluate him. The veterinarian was very skeptical and suggested bute and turn out to pasture until Billy’s body gave out. This was right about the time that I had a new school in session, so I offered for them to bring Billy along to see if we could help him. They decided to take him. But like the first time, they were concerned that he would not make the trailer ride, even with bute on board.
Billy made it. When he was unloaded, he could hardly walk and we were worried about him even making it to the stall we had ready for him. He looked and smelled so bad that several students gave him the pessimistic nickname of “Mr. Dead”. We worked on him all week and the results were shockingly dramatic. Within that week, Billy made a complete turn-around. He went from a sickly animal that could barely walk, to one that felt good enough to play and we were even able to take him on a ride at the end of the week. Due to these results, the wife decided to enroll in my program.
Lucky was presented to Village Animal Hospital with an acute onset of paralysis in both of his back legs. He could not stand or walk. He could not urinate without having his bladder expressed. He had neurological deficits and according to his veterinarian, the only good news is that he still had some deep pain responses. After a diagnostic workup that did not reveal the true cause of the paralysis, MRI and surgical decompression were recommended. Lucky’s family was not able to afford that route so they chose, “Plan B” offered by his veterinarian.
Lucky’s treatment consisted of hospitalization with medical management that included high doses of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and gastrointestinal protectants. After 72 hours his condition was declining with decreased deep pain reception. At that time the decision was made to euthanize him as it seemed like the only humane option.
Right at the time that Lucky was given his first sedative in preparation for the euthanasia, I dropped in to visit at the hospital. The rest of the procedure was stopped as a “why not give it a try” option. I was asked to work on Lucky. After I worked on Lucky, his family was asked if they would be willing to see how he responded to the Shiatsu massage treatment the next day, after the sedation wore off. They agreed. By the next morning, his condition had greatly improved. I discussed the massage techniques to use and a technician at the hospital worked on him three times per day. At the end of the fourth day, Lucky was able to go home with only mild weakness in his back legs and he recovered completely within two weeks and did not have any recurrence. His veterinarian, Dr. Dona Earnheart, said in her recommendation letter, “Shiatsu massage therapy and adjusting techniques were the treatment modalities that resolved Lucky’s problem”, and Lucky’s family wrote, “We truly believe that Geary was an angel sent from heaven to cure Lucky”.
Yes, Shiatsu massage is very powerful and it isn’t just for humans. We know that a large number of horses died 1 1/2 years ago. What we don’t know is how long the horses that survived have been living in squalid conditions with poor nutrition and physical care. It is hard to imagine what their bodies have been through being both malnourished and under high stress for that length of time. I deeply wish that the Black Forest horses could receive Shiatsu massage treatments to help with their recovery.