Deeper Physical Effects of Unbalanced Emotions

Dis-ease begins in the mind and balancing emotions is where the healing begins. When we hold onto unhealthy thoughts and emotions, these emotional layers become deposited in the cells of the body for storage. Over time, these layers can accumulate into a heavy weight, leading to cellular damage, which begins as aches & pains & cause other areas of the body to move out of alignment in order to compensate & try to relieve discomfort.


If you were to imagine each unhealthy thought & emotion as a piece of paper sitting on your shoulder, it wouldn't take long for this stack to accumulate into a crushing weight. The surface areas are affected first, which would distribute the weight to deeper cellular structures, tendons, ligaments, joints & so on in order to try to maintain some kind of balance. This domino effect is what leads to aches, sprains, fractures, ulcers & more.


If we analyze the effects of stress in our own lives & how we are physically affected, we would find some interesting correlations. Typically, the initial signs show up in three main areas, being the neck, shoulders & back, as tight muscles that restrict movement to create soreness & discomfort. The second commonly affected area is various types of stomach issues, including ulcers. We take hot baths, massage, medicine & other remedies to try to relieve the discomfort because we know it will extend into other issues, such as headaches. Not addressing the root cause of the problems are why chiropractors & massage therapists can only provide temporary solutions. 


I've heard many explanations for various types of physical attributes, like how the hollow behind the shoulder is due to placing the saddle too far forward. These types of conclusions are due to being taught to always search for external sources of cause & effect. Moving the saddle back or removing it completely would not correct this hollow & cause the muscles to raise back to their normal state, therefore the saddle cannot be the root cause or solution to the problem.

These pictures of wild horses show how a normal, healthy top & bottom line should look without the resulting effects of excessive stress, anxiety & accumulation of emotional baggage we normally see in domestic horses

One of the many things horses have been trying to teach us is how to live in the moment, in order to eliminate the resulting physical dis-ease that WE create by focusing on the past & worrying about the future. When we can learn to live in the present like horses normally do, we allow the circumstances & events that affect us to be experienced but not retained & deposited into our cellular structure.


Many common methods of working with horses create excessive stress & don't allow for opportunities to release these emotions. This results in retention of emotional baggage, which begin in the neck, shoulder, back & stomach, like humans. Initially, the emotional weight begins as tension & sore muscles but as it increases, it leads to the muscles becoming atrophied over time. This will result in many common health issues such as lameness, ulcers, colic & all the way up to more life threatening diseases.

These pictures are great examples of the common domesticated equine top line. These muscles aren't only sunk below the skeletal structure, but if you were to touch the area, you would find the muscles are atrophied & immobile

Once the emotional weight has been distributed over the back and wither area, it begins to spread further & affect other areas. It will travel down the spine, rib cage, rump & top of the neck line. Keep in mind that this is always affecting other, lower areas of the body as well because the body has to move out of alignment to try to reduce the discomfort & immobility.

The top picture illustrates how the entire top line has become atrophied, extending over the rump & creating the dip in the base of the neck. In more extreme cases, there will be another dip at the top of the neck as well. 


The second picture is a great example of how heavy the emotional baggage can become & the effects they cause on the body. Notice how unhappy this second horse is. This horse is being led with a chain in response to unwanted behaviour that is a result of not listening to what the horse has been trying to tell the human & a lack of connection

A thought is simple, it rises & falls. It does not leave a mark inside us unless we choose to hold onto it. Our thoughts & emotions carry a minuscule physical weight that can be a drag on our bodies. Everyone has experienced how we feel heavy on certain days & light as a feather on other days, even though our physical weight remains the same. This shows that our thoughts & emotions can actually pull us down. We can't change the past, but we can change our perceptions & methods. Understanding the underlying mental & emotional basis for behaviour will allow us to shift our focus, heal & prevent trauma & permanently change behaviour.


I will share one of the simple exercises I give people to show you exactly how your horse has been feeling, in your own body. If I were to ask you to touch your chin to your chest, you would say it's simple. Do it again & analyze how other parts of your body move to accommodate this action. Your shoulders & back will want to roll forward automatically to the degree needed for comfort & ease. Now I will ask you to pull your shoulders back as far as possible & arch your lower back, so your stomach comes forward. This is to simulate your horses atrophied & immobile muscles. While holding this posture, force your chin to your chest & hold it for as long as possible. You will notice that your shoulders & back will become stronger in their attempt to roll forward & begin to become fatigued over time. This will lead to stiffness, soreness & extend into greater discomfort in different areas of your body if you try to walk around & perform any type of movement. Eventually this discomfort will lead to pain.


Many of us are in the habit of using our hands & other gadgets to force horses to lower their headsets. You have just experienced how this feels in your own body. For many horses, this is an almost impossible task & causes much discomfort & pain. Other parts of their body have to move out of alignment to try to redistribute & alleviate the pain & will result in compensation injuries, which include the mental & emotional processes. We can reverse the damage we've caused through patience, listening & top line building exercises, however, nothing will change if we don't address the mental & emotional imbalances that are the real root causes of these issues, in how we perceive & handle horses. if a horse has a beautiful top line but is still playing with the bit, can't stand quietly or is exhibiting other unwanted behaviour, we're still placing a bandaid on the outcome instead of addressing the causes of input, that create the outcomes. Temporary solutions will always create fresh problems.