While visiting a friend’s farm recently, the farmer’s daughter shared with me the story of her 7-year-old mare, who was extremely fearful of people—and especially hostile to men. The horse had been mistreated by its previous male owner. By now, it needed veterinary treatment to trim its hooves—which were overgrown and causing the horse extreme discomfort.
Unfortunately, the local veterinarian is a man and couldn’t get near the horse, even to examine it. Not wishing her mare to be sedated, the farmer’s daughter shared with me her dilemma.
Could TFT help calm this anxious horse, I wondered?
I explained briefly about TFT, then asked the daughter to stroke the horse’s forehead, and tap gently under its eye. I then asked her to tap behind the horses foreleg (as close to where I imagined the arm point would be), then tap the horse’s chest—as close to the collarbone as she could get.
Since it was impossible for me—a man—to get near the horse initially, I asked the daughter to tap out the algorithm instead. As she tapped away to my instructions, I could see the horse calming down from a distance. I entered the field and slowly walked to the animal, repeating the algorithm where the daughter left off.
In just a few minutes, the mare was almost asleep.
I asked the farmer’s daughter to walk away and leave the field. By then, she was extremely surprised to find the horse calm, receptive and unaffected by her departure—particularly when the mare had not been bridled in any way, nor had I used any treats.
Later, as I walked about the field, the horse followed me, nudging me in the back—her fear of people (and men, in particular) completely resolved. Even another male visitor to the farm that afternoon couldn’t change the anxiety-free state of the mare.
Of course, the veterinarian was able to treat her hooves with ease. But getting her to hum a tune while tapping was a different matter entirely! —Brian Ewart as told to Ian Graham