An angel was given her wings as she served the earth with her life. Some might see the loss of a horse as only a heartbreak. Others might not think much of it at all… when one of my clients lose a horse it can spark a sense of impostor syndrome in me as I look to share my sympathy.
Because in a traditional view, I haven’t experienced the loss of a personal horse… that pain is something that although I understand I will someday have to process and face, I haven’t yet. But for those that I have worked alongside supporting their journey, I too experience grief, sadness, and loss. Even if it’s not the same.
When the time comes that one of my horses’ must leave this earth, I intend to reflect and honor what they have taught me, cherishing every memory my mind holds of them and knowing that their life and journey was as it should be, simply because it is and it was.
Since my work with Sage was all done from a distance. I have never met Sage or Barbara in person. I don’t have the same memories or experiences that I would if I work with them face to face… Regardless, I’ve learned so much from them both and I wish to express what being a part of Sage’s journey has taught me.
Firstly, I want to say that if more horse owners had the determination and dedication that Barbara has shown for Sage… the world would be a much happier and healthier place for horses!
Working alongside Barbara for the last three years was a gift and inspiration of hope for me as a horse health coach.
It’s rare that a horse owner is open and willing to have zero excuses, hold their focus and space, to take action on what they CAN do while releasing what they can’t, someone who decides to trust and follow their heart and intuition, and chooses to empower themselves and take on the responsibility of health and care for their horse.
My hope for Barbara and every horse owner I have the honor to serve that has to endure the loss of their horse is that in the grief and sadness there is a deep understanding and peace that you did what you could do. It was ENOUGH.
Even when the path ends in an unforeseen and challenging way as Sage’s did. To find the peace that your horse’s life is as it was meant to be… because it happened and “is”.
Sage was destined to walk this path with Barbara, the good days, and the bad. Together. Although her life here has ended… her spirit, life lessons, and memories will live on.
At the knowledge of her passing, I set time to reflect and honor what she has taught me… during these reflections, I often must separate and relieve the burden of responsibility that I weigh myself down with. As I ask, what could I have seen, known, and understood differently to share with the owner?
Knowing that this burden doesn’t serve me, the horse, or the owner. I come to offer my support and guidance from the best of what I have from my own journey, background, and experience. As I reflect on this journey with Sage this is what comes to my heart.
Health is a pursuit. A constant ebb and flow of substances and forces. Both of the physical and the energetic vibrations within the body. Although there is never a perfect balance within the body, health is present when the body’s systems and energies are harmonizing and synchronizing together.
The world we live in has become inundated with hazards and disruptions that we must seek to consistently and persistently offset. Few will take this task on fully, whether for their personal health or that of their horse…
The real reason is often hidden in a blind-spot and disguised by comforting excuses like not having enough time, money, resources, or simply life getting in the way. The reality is it’s the refusal of releasing control that prevents us from taking responsibility for one’s health.
Combine that with the ease and convenience of the current trends of the traditional health care system that sells and promises results and health from procedures, medications, and human ingenuity.
Don’t be fooled, nature does not yield to our illusions. Disease and illness is a signal from the body of disharmony and imbalance. No pill, procedure, or medication will get to the root cause of the disruption.
It might serve as a temporary distraction or relief of the symptoms or sounding alarm, but I assure you that is all. Modern medicine serves an important role in health care. Especially during times of trauma, emergency, or injury.
Yet what commonly happens, is your horse gets caught up in a system of managing disease and masking disruptions that will empty your pocketbook and lead to prolonged suffering for your horse.
Now this truth and understanding was not what Sage’s journey taught me… this was a foundation I solidified prior to our paths crossing. But her health journey and work with her owner simply further verified this truth, deeper within my heart and soul.
When Barbara first contacted me, she had already explored what the traditional route had to offer Sage and she was looking for something different. I can’t speak to what Barbara has learned and experienced from this path but here’s what has been revealed to me, specific to Sage’s journey.
Sage’s body would experience signs and symptoms of Laminitis annually during the winter months. Regardless of the remedies, nutrition, hoof care, or therapies used the pattern persisted. At times, with the tools and resources at Barbara’s disposal quality of life was improved and precious time and memories extended.
Sadly, the ultimate fate was that this pattern would become too severe for Sage to overcome. From my side of the story, you won’t get a full picture view of Sage’s journey. As I mentioned before, I am a coach and educator who works with the horse and owner from a distance.
Here’s the viewpoint of my reflection. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Winter is connected to the Water element. The Water element consists of the Kidney and Bladder Meridians. The Kidney Meridian is the “river of life” as it serves as the source of Original Chi.
This is the chi passed down from Sage’s dam and shire. Sage being a mustang from the Desatoya Mountain area in Nevada, it’s unknown what the Original Chi of her parents was like. This life force is given at birth and the strength, flow, and amount of the Original Chi determines the confirmation, vitality, and longevity the horse will have.
From what I have experienced or come to understand of Sage, reveals that her Original Chi was possibly comprised or weakened from the beginning. This is something that cannot be restored or changed. Only supported over time, to help sustain health until the Original Chi has been used up or ceases to flow.
Sage’s bouts of Laminitis never had a diagnosed source or determined cause. Yet returning back to Traditional Chinese Medicine further insight can be discovered.
Keeping in mind the connection of Winter and Original Chi we can further see within Sage’s journey a block or imbalance within her Triple Heater Meridian. The Triple Heater Meridian is the transporter of the Original Chi, it also regulates and transports body fluids, serving to balance lymph flow, water passages, and thermoregulation of the body. Horses with an imbalanced Triple Heater can experience hormone imbalances, metabolic concerns, and are susceptible to sensitivity with climate change.
With these insights in mind, it can change your perception of what Sage’s health journey expressed or shared. Hopefully also giving a greater realization that regardless of the path Barbara chose to walk with Sage, the conclusion to Sage’s path here on earth in a way was predestined.
This might frustrate some, infuriate others, or allow the release of the illusion of control. We may not be able to control the outcome… but we certainly have the power and ability to impact and change the middle – in this case the stuff in-between the beginning and end of life.
Sage’s journey and working alongside her caregiver and keeper Barbara inspires me to keep at this exploration and mastery of health, being okay that I can’t control the outcome, and neither can you.
You get to choose the path, not the destination it leads to. I know in my heart that Sage had time here on earth with an added quality of life because of the choices and actions that Barbara made.
My continued mission is to do what I can to empower more horse owners sooner, rather than later on the journey to health. I want to personally thank Barbara for allowing me to be a part of Sage’s journey.
May it serve as an inspiration and hope to others, to not give up, and cherish that space in the middle.
Sincerely, Angie Wells
P.S. Listen to Barabra share about her journey with Sage on the Better with Horses Podcast Episode 12 –