When you think of the majestic, powerful knight's horse, it conjures images of loyal, tall, dark, gorgeous black horses with thick necks and long streaming manes and tails. Jouke (U-Ka) is his name! Our big black beauty has finally come to join us.
The Friesian breed has always fascinated me and for two years I studied the website of Janna and Ron Goldmans Black Sterling Friesians sale barn in Sonoma County. And it was two years ago, that we were invited to come up and meet them first hand. The Goldmans were very generous in allowing us to be there anytime we wanted to really study the different "horse-onalities" as I call them. And fall in love we did!
Jouke had arrived just a few days before we came to the barn. In our first breathing together his heart dropped into mine. His sensitivity and deep listening reached through the bars and around me like a safe and warm mantle.
Thomas and I spent several weeks coming up and getting to know him. We seriously looked to see how we could have this amazing horse. As I reached for the phone to call Janna to say, "Yes, we'll take him." I received a loud, "No!" inside. He was sold within two hours after that to a great woman in the east bay. We knew he was going to a good home, which helped, but it never left us as something greatly missing. It just wasn't the right timing.
Seventeen months later, a new horse friend was mentioning about "this Friesian" that was for sale and that he might be great as a F.E.E.L.™ horse, having just heard of our vision for a teaching facility. I asked, "Is this Jouke?" And she said, "Yes, how'd you know?" I just knew.
Our new friend was his trainer all these many months. We had no idea they were connected. And as with all relationships that are meant to be, we said, yes and did not let him go a second time.
It was a leap of faith to get any horse before we had our teaching ranch facility. I had vowed after my past horses 21 years ago that I would not board a horse again. I guess some vows need to be broken. I have no regrets.
Jouke is strong, highly intelligent, ultra-sensitive, curious, playful, deeply loving and very social. He blows away everyone with his huge energy field of loving-kindness. Jouke is an ideal teacher and healer.
Right now I have promised him he gets to just be a horse and get used to the world around him. This means lots of hours just hanging out and playing games on the ground.
In Holland, Jouke was part of a driving team where he wore blinders, so he's getting used to seeing things around him. Some call it "bomb-proofing," I like to call it, "trusting and being safe in the world" ground-working.
He loves the challenges I give him to build his confidence. And, even though, some things scare him, he comes right back to try again. He loves the mastery. I do most of this work at liberty with no halter so he gets a choice and a say in all we do.
We shower him with praise and he raises his head then sighs and licks and chews. He is learning so fast, integrating and building from one session to the next. We are thoroughly grateful and in love with our beauty boy.
Jouke's Journey, 6 Years later...
We have traveled a deep healing journey together after two boarding facilities, and now for over a year we have been living with Jouke on a private ranch.
In our first 3 years together we made sure Jouke got to just be a horse. There was no riding, bits, or demands whatsoever. There were people at the first facility who had the audacity to yell at me for "not riding" him. I was told "I was ruining him."
But my bond with Jouke stretches beyond life times. And with severe back and neck trauma, a hoof pad that left him with a near fatal systemic thrush in his rear hoof and leg, chronic ulcers and previous tendencies toward colic and hyper-ness from the wrong hay choices, along with his lack of confidence that made him scared of his shadow and every noise - I knew our sweet boy needed time to fully recover and strengthen.
We pulled his shoes immediately and treated him with White-Lightening for the thrush. I went online and discovered a natural remedy for healing ulcers, not merely something to mask symptoms. We brought in body-workers, a Chiropractor and Acupuncture care. I performed several Shamanic ceremonies for Soul Retrieval from past traumas.
Tears fell from Jouke's eyes as he released the pain of the past.
We employed all the 7 Watering Hole Rituals, as taught by Carolyn Resnick. Her work establishes true leadership and builds a foundation of confidence. We have expanded on these practices with the work of Cynthia Royal. We also just played and romped with him in the big arenas!
After about a year and a half when Jouke was fully recovered physically, solid in himself, and where he could walk on tarps and wear them on his head, and plastic bags were no longer monsters, some of my "critics" had courage and came out of their shadows and said, "you've done a great job with Jouke. He is amazing now, a different horse! I wish I had that kind of time to give my horse."
It helped, a bit, to hear these remarks. But the vein of arrogance in the horse worlds still runs deep. Many traditionals think the horse is only for their riding discipline of choice. The natural horsemanship folks have a closer bead on what a horse needs, and can sometimes be lost in the techniques, forgetting the soul of a horse. And the EFEL groups often speak, "It's all about the horse," leaving the human-herd without true guidance, care or consideration.
I know how to heal the heart, body and soul of a horse. Jouke has guided us as to what works and what does not. Our relationship is one of profound mutual respect, telepathy, listening and bond.
And now we both are ready to launch our individual sessions and course work together to serve others in connecting them to the forces of compassion, forgiveness, light and love.
We are blessed beyond measure.
More stories to come...
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