When I first met Blaze, I imagined him to be at least 30 years old. He was seriously emaciated with profound muscle wastage, prominent ribs, spine and hip bones – his head appeared too large for his body and his neck too thin and weak to support it. His eyes were dull and unresponsive; completely disinterested in his surroundings and appeared to be severely depressed.
Blaze also had crumbling hooves and stiff painful joints.
The horse had come to his present owner from a riding school where he had spent 2 years plodding mindlessly around an arena with beginner riders and had been discarded eventually due to his unfriendly irritable manner and (understandable!) disinclination to move or comply to instructions.
It transpired that prior to this, Blaze had been a very successful Dressage horse with all the special care and accolades that come with that position. At 13 years old he had been replaced by a younger model and sold to the School, where he was not fed properly, had ill fitting saddles and had no relationship with any one person. Added to this he had lost his status.
In his new home, with the present owner, he shared a paddock with three other horses but stood alone and made no attempt to make contact. In short, he was not present.
On hearing his history, I asked Blaze to show me some simple Dressage moves - half passes and walk pirouettes – and the change in his demeanour was profound. His eyes lit up and he collected his poor wasted body into a semblance of the horse he had once been.
Based on Blaze’s physical wasting, joint inflammation, shambling gait, dull coat with signs of alopecia along with his depression, loss of high status, self isolation, and sense that he had disappeared from behind his eyes, I gave him Plumbum 200.
On my second visit to Blaze, three weeks later, it was hard to believe he was the same horse. The most obvious initial observation was that he had returned – was now present. His eyes were bright and alert; he cantered up the paddock with the other horses and was fully engaged with everything happening at that moment.
While still a little underweight, his muscle tone had significantly improved and his head no longer appeared too big for his body. He moved without the painful stiffness I had observed on the first visit, his coat was gleaming and his hooves were looking far healthier. He was now able to be ridden and was showing all signs of regaining some of his former glory.
Illustration by the author.
Vicki Mathison Dip Hom, B.A.Psych.
Vicki practises in Nelson, New Zealand, with humans and animals - treating horses is her particular passion.
Keywords: horse, emaciation, loss of status, plumbum