Horses are magnificent creatures that possess a unique energy and spirit that captures our hearts. However, their lives can sometimes take a turn for the worse, and they can end up in situations of neglect or abuse. But there are heart-warming stories of rescued horses who have gone on to lead happy and fulfilling lives thanks to the dedication of The Masterson Method® Community. Here are four such stories:
Nicole Kobs and Burlap
This is my heart horse, Burlap! This was him a day after he came to the barn where we met.
When we moved back to the USA after being overseas with the military, I HAD to get back to horses. As my husband and daughter and I were guided around the barn being introduced to the 36 horses on site, I felt drawn to this guy. Although he was gaining weight, he was still withdrawn. He had undergone quite an ordeal, having been passed around and then abused at a false 501c3 in southern Florida. Thankfully, the “owner” was put in jail for falsifying his vet records.
He weighed in at 450 lbs. He loved people, as long as they had treats, and didn’t ask him to do more than walk. When I met him, I had no treats and the person showing me around was amazed that he stayed with me to “snuggle” without any treats. He didn’t usually do that. Flash forward a year, and even though he had many issues (including laminitis and trauma response), I leased and then bought him.
He is the one who drew my attention to The Masterson Method. It was through the gentle way that we ask for release, movement, and trust that I was able to break down some walls he had built. He stopped bucking and running me into walls, he started trusting me to go into scary places, like a trailer or over a bridge. He was the joy of my life. I had him for 9 years, and he died as he lived, being a complete gentleman. He went naturally and allowed me to use some techniques to help him relax to wait for the vet.
Lisa Kirkwood and Jagan
This is Jagan. She was a prematurely weaned foal in a kill pen, where she got pretty beat up. She had lots of bumps and bruises and her behavior was very defensive. She was very head shy and hard to catch, with lots of tension at the poll and a whole lot of mistrust.
Now, after lots of bodywork, I am happy to say that I’ve gained her trust, and both her body and mind benefitted with The Masterson Method. Where before, she had a sore back and bucked frequently, now I’m riding her with the right saddle with no bucking. I am convinced The Masterson Method helped her trust and feel better.
I met Jagan last summer during Fieldwork and asked the owner if I could work with her. She was abandoned at his barn, which I then purchased and she came with it. She was hard to catch and would kick you if you walked too close to her. Fear masked by defensiveness.
I started walking out with a halter and treat and would give her a treat and then walk away without catching her. When I could catch her I would start with Bladder Meridian Technique. I slowly worked up to only front-end techniques. She was very protective of her head TMJ Point, Head Up, and Head Down techniques yielded lots of releases. I will say working towards the backend was slow as she just wanted to kick everyone.
Now I can do every technique on her and she is relaxed and non-defensive. I one hundred percent believe that bodywork brought down her defenses and built trust.
Jennifer Strachan and Starfire
Starfire was a thoroughbred broodmare who was bought in foal (pregnant) at an auction in 2008. She was about 300 lbs underweight when she came to the barn. The woman who bought her left Starfire in the good hands of the trainer and returned to college. I started riding Starfire after she had weaned her filly and immediately fell in love. The owner wanted me to have her since she knew it would be forever. When I adopted Starfire I promised her I would be there until the end.
Fast forward to 2012: my husband and I purchased acreage in the foothills of Sacramento. Starfire had access to the whole thing. She was a cribber and pacer in the stall, had severe arthritis, and wasn’t able to roll. She had bedsores from breaking over at the ankle as she couldn’t comfortably lay down to sleep.
By 2017 her arthritis pain was so bad I stopped riding her. Since I have always been interested in equine bodywork, I found Masterson Method as something to do in between chiropractor visits. A nearby horse friend also knew of The Masterson Method and together we did weekly sessions on Starfire for about 6 months. That bodywork and access to free movement extended her life by at least 2 years. She passed in January 2019 peacefully with me at her side. My journey now is to complete certification and help horses. I dedicate my practice to Starfire.
Stephanie Goddard and Jane
Jane is a 15-year-old Quarter Horse mare from Texas that someone I know purchased based on both her pedigree and a 10-second looping video from a distance. When she arrived in Missouri, Jane got off the trailer in “fight” mode. Her new owner was not given all the facts about her and now had to deal with a dangerous mare.
I offered Masterson Method bodywork for Jane. My first session mostly involved me protecting myself from being struck at and/or kicked. I performed the Bladder Meridian from the other side of the stall, and I saw glimpses of a kind soul in this fearful and damaged mare. I also worked through Lateral Cervical Flexion, however, Jane was not ready to proceed any further.
Two weeks later, I returned and was met by the owner who didn’t think Jane could fit into her training plan. As I entered her stall, I was met by a pair of deep brown eyes just longing for relief. I again did Bladder Meridian but from about 3 feet away this time. She sank deeply into the comfort in brief little moments but simply couldn’t trust to do much more. The human touch made her skin crawl, her teeth gnash and her front legs strike. She was determined never to be a victim again.
I was unable to convince the owner to give her more time. I feared what Jane would do to another human and, just as equally, feared that someone would “teach her a lesson”. So…I bought her. I know, brilliant, right?
It took 6 months of minutes a day to gain her trust. The bodywork was light and brief, meeting her where she needed me. And then…it happened. She let go and trusted me. Because I listened to her voice, we advanced to picking up front feet and we mutually agreed that God would take care of the back ones! (Which He has done a fine job at!)
It’s now 2 years later, and Jane is quiet, kind, and (mostly) trusting. She’s a gem. I am 100% convinced that we are where we are together due to the philosophy of working below the brace and the quiet, trusting relationship we have built through The Masterson Method bodywork. She will have a forever home with me and will never worry again.
These four heartwarming stories demonstrate the incredible impact that The Masterson Method bodywork can have on rescued horses. By using gentle and non-invasive techniques, you can help release tension and promote relaxation in horses, which in turn can lead to increased trust and improved behavior.
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our Masterson Method community, rescued horses are given a second chance at a happy and healthy life. These stories serve as a testament to the transformative power of The Masterson Method bodywork and the unwavering love and commitment of those who work to make a difference in the lives of horses.