Beauty and Dignity
By med. vet. Odette Suter

All my life I have been blessed to learn from wonderful teachers; people and animals. They have assisted me on my path to become more of who I truly am. I would like to share some of my experiences and how I came to be more whole within myself.
The purpose of this article is to help you to become more aware of the perfection of life in all your experiences, to become more aware of the gifts in your relationship to others and yourself.

Looking back to all the events in my life, I can see that they occurred at the exact right time and order for me to optimally grow.
I have been asked by horses to help facilitate the reconnection of humans to their place in the web of life through my work as a holistic vet. It is basically a reconnection with our own heart and the place within us that contains everything we need to be at peace in every moment.

In 1992 I met Dr. Hiltrud Strasser. She opened my whole being to the wonders of horses' hooves. I had just heard lectures on hooves at vet school when a friend took me to one of Dr. Strasser's workshops in Switzerland. I thought that I might as well go because it's in my hometown. I had no idea about the amount that I would learn. Everything she taught us in those two days enveloped me completely and I couldn't stop thinking and talking about it to everybody, horseperson or not. At the same time my skeptical brain looked for anything that could be wrong about the whole barefoot theory, because it sounded too good to be true. That same year I became the first certified hoof care specialist in Switzerland.

As with everything new, I had a bright spotlight shining on me and the horse world was very split: the believers and the disbelievers. Very soon I found myself fighting for something that was very deeply embedded into my heart, something that didn't just treat symptoms, but improved horses' health permanently. Because I was only in my midtwenties then, it brought up a lot of fears and survival issues. At that time nothing could have supported me sufficiently emotionally - not even all the happy clients and horses - and I knew that I had to change. And so I followed the irreversible call to personal growth. In the meantime I graduated in veterinary medicine, worked with small and large animals for a few years and helped out in Dr. Strasser's clinic during her vacations. During all this time I was very discontented, had very little energy, and lots of fears. I just couldn't get the job I wanted, which was to work with horses only, possibly in a holistic way.

At about the same time I met Dr. Strasser, I had found a book on telepathic communication with animals, written by animal communication specialist, Penelope Smith. Again, someone was talking to my heart (rather than to my head), someone who knew that animals aren't inferior to humans. These and other openings to a deeper understanding and opening of the heart really brought up a lot of my shadow: more fears, power struggles, dependencies, obsessions, anger, sadness ... and also a deep yearning for reconnection with all of life, especially with myself and my own power of love. (A shamanic teacher of mine repeated many times: Only love heals.)

Finding a little more understanding and acceptance for myself everyday, I was able to be more compassionate with other beings. I recognized that many states of being (rage, arrogance, manipulation, suppression...) were based on fear. In other words, we don't feel safe, so we react using mechanisms that we have adopted in order to survive.

I realized that my defense mechanisms brought up other peoples fears and defenses. They felt threatened by my way of being, even though I was also afraid of them. Once I realized that we are all in the same boat, I was able to relax considerably and give others and myself the space that is needed to feel safe and understood.

My wish to work in harmony and respect for all beings started to manifest itself at the time I moved to California three years ago. I learned to communicate telepathically with animals, and a whole new dimension opened up for me, I BECAME THE STUDENT OF THE ANIMALS. They taught me to listen, to ask, and to consider their whole being (body, mind, spirit) when doing healing work. They told me that they took full responsibility for their part of the healing. I realized that often they knew better than I what they needed to be healthy. I experienced that they made their own choices about their life.
Are you aware that your horse may have made the decision to be barefoot and that you just picked up his/her wish? How long did it take you to actually act on it?

I find that the whole process of transitioning our horse friends to barefootedness includes a tremendous transformation for people. It is an opportunity to connect more deeply with the horses and with yourself. I have written down a few questions, that you may want to reflect on, just to notice the changes in yourself.

- As your horse is now directly connected to the earth, feeling through its feet, not stumbling anymore, how does it change your connection to Mother Earth? Are you more grounded, stable, 'surefooted'?

- How does a change in environment and social life for your horse friend influence your relationships to others and yourself?

- What feelings come up for you in the phase of increased sensitivity or pain in the hooves of the horse?

- How has your lifestyle changed? How do you treat your body? Are you more aware of it?

- In being very receptive to your horses needs, are you receiving yourself more, too?

- Did your goals and values change?

- What is the main thing that you learned from your companion?

- What was the greatest difficulty you encountered? And what did you learn from it?

- How are others reacting towards the changes you and your horse friend made? How have you reacted towards their reactions?

- Did the meaning of life change for you? How?

There are many more questions that can be asked. The purpose of them is to become more aware of yourself and the purpose of the horse in your life.

All the domestic animals chose to be with us for a particular reason. They all know how disconnected we are and how much help we need in remembering who we are and that we are part of the web of life. They also know, that we are all dependent on each other and that we are all one. Many of them sacrifice their lives to help us with great compassion and love, for we have many deep wounds caused by our feeling of separation from the rest of life. Some mirror our illnesses and others accompany us with patience, forgiveness, understanding, and peace. In their presence, time becomes irrelevant. We relax and we get to express ourselves and our love and emotions in a more free way than with humans. They usually do not judge us as humans do. They actually teach us how to be more human and more accepting of everything.

In "Millennium Messages for Humankind from the Animals" transmitted by Penelope Smith, published in "Animal: Helping, Healing and Honoring" (Animal Group Inc., Petersborough, Canada: vol. 2, issue 1) the HORSE spoke to all of us about its purpose to live with us and what we need to consider in return:


I am horse. I hold the beauty and the standard of freedom for all to see. I am unlimited. I am most unlimited in physical form when I am wild and free. Yet I have chosen to be with humankind as their companion and friend. I treasure that aspect of me that goes into the barns, shelters, paddocks and places near where humans dwell.

I respect myself, my dignity and grace. This is the gift that we, as individuals, give to humankind. We celebrate the grace, dignity and beauty of being companions and still hold our freedom. Understand this & the freedom of living life on earth through our feet, through our ears, through our eyes, through our noses, and through our exquisite sense of touch and feeling.

We love who we are. We love the nature of our being. We delight in our sensuousness. This is what our companions, our human friends, feel and rejoice over as it percolates into their own forms. Then they remember that they are also free and dignified beings.

For so long we honored your need to freely move like us in the wind. We ask only that humans remember that we choose to give ourselves to you. We allow you to ride on our backs. And while we do not want this holy bond to be denied or severed, we do not want to be treated as slaves. That degrades our basic nature and makes us feel lost and oppressed. We want to be treated as whole beings who love, breathe, think, and feel as humans do.

We are gentle, loving, sweet and holy companions of life. We want to dwell in harmony and peace with humankind. We want the space to be our natural selves with you, so that we can transmit our greatest gift - a love of who we are in ourselves. When we give this gift we know that you, too, feel who you are.

So when you see the horse, and see each horse as an individual, we ask that you look at our souls and know who we are. Then you will honor us and treat us the way we deserve and in the way that you yourselves deserve as fellow beings and as souls of beauty on the earth.

And we ask, human friend, for a new vision, a revision of the old pact from when the first horse came to be with you as a companion. We opened the door to a new relationship, a new unity, on the earth. May we remind you of your unity with us and all the elements that we so freely give to you? May you remember who we are and in doing so, come home to the holy being you are.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for your grace. I am horse.'

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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