The Chronicle Connection April/May 2011 : Page 4

editor’S letter Bill Northern helps Calla’s Dreams Come True Animal communication is one of those polarizing top-ics—some people are vehement believers, others view it as a litmus test for insanity. I’ve used animal communicators before with decent results, so I guess you could say I’m a little to the left of sanity—not willing to stake my life on the fact that animal communication is possible but also not above utilizing some helpful tips, no matter the source. We broached the subject of having our cover story subject Bill Northern [link to story page] speak with a famous horse, but he said he prefers working with horses having some sort of problem. OK, we can defi nitely fi nd one of those… Like my own 8-year-old Th oroughbred mare, maybe? Calla’s issues include a mysterious on again, off again left hind soreness, a tendency to spook, spin and bolt when out hacking, and a serious disdain for all things dressage-related. All that being said, she’s actually a pretty good mare—she’s quiet and sweet, and she likes jumping. So I hoped that a phone reading with Bill might help her understand how necessary fl atwork is, help me fi gure out what’s happening with that left hind, or assuage some of her general insecurity. A few bits of what he relayed made me sad (“She doesn’t know why you don’t go see her every day.” “She’s worried she won’t have this job tomorrow.”); some of what he said made me laugh aloud. (“It doesn’t seem that you’re really good at dressage, and she’s saying it’s a waste of time.”); and some of it proved useful, like Calla’s/Bill’s advice for eliminating spookiness (“When you’re riding, you’re not always focusing on what’s going on. At least for a while, you need to really focus on what you’re doing, and where you’re going, and what’s around you.”). Th en, when Bill went all the way around her body ask-ing her about pain and fi nding very little, I held my breath until he got to her left hind leg. “Oh,” he said, sounding a little alarmed. “Left hip isn’t so good. It’s not in the stifl e. It’s a little tiny bit in the hock, but there’s nothing else terribly wrong. Th e big problem is right in that hip joint.” Th at piece of information stunned me with its accuracy. Calla’s had almost every piece of that left hind x-rayed and ultrasounded, without much result. Th e only thing that really helped was acupuncture and chiropractic work, and my veterinarian had also said that it must be in the hip, somewhere, based on lack of other options. Calla seemed 4 AP R I L/ MAY 2011 th e Ch ron iCLe Con n eCtion to be confi rming that diagnosis—and keep in mind that Bill’s never met her, nor did I mention anything about a mysterious lameness. After our conversation, I was willing to try to fulfi ll most of Calla’s desires. She wanted to know what she would be doing every day, preferably the day before she does it. Now I tell her, “Calla, tomorrow we’re going to do dressage.” Or jumping, or cross-country schooling, or whatever it is. I felt a little crazy at fi rst, but I have to admit that it seems to be working, and I even have my trainer doing it too. Now Calla routinely seems less fl ustered and more ready to get down to work right away. We do dressage outside of the ring more often, a compromise we reached about fl atwork. I even tried her in a Happy Mouth snaffl e because she said she wanted one, but only a few times because it wasn’t giving me the feeling I wanted. Calla gets to make some decisions, but, I decided, not that one. I’m not sure if Bill made all the diff erence in my horse, but I do think there’s been a diff erence. Maybe it’s the placebo eff ect or a psychosomatic cure, but I feel like I have a better connection with my horse, and I don’t see how that could ever be a bad thing. (Feel free to call me crazy now. I’ll be doing dressage in a fi eld somewhere, wearing my tin foil hat...) —Editorial Staff er Lisa Slade AndRew hoCk Photo

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