in Deep Places: A Tribute to Brannon
Christine lives in the country,
in Northern California, where she works with horses. You could say horses
are her passion, and you would be right; but she has a special take on
them. She believes that horses are so tuned to the vibration of love,
and to each other, that they have something special to teach human beings
about how we can be with one another. And that's exactly what she
teaches people through her work. When they ride one of her horses, they
are learning not just how to ride and be with a horse, but how to be with
the loving energy of life itself.
Christine is currently writing
a book about this. As a city-born girl who yearned for horse-filled farm
living, once upon a time, I find it exciting to be part of this process
as her book developer.
You can read about her horses,
her work, and other wonderful things on her website: http://fullhousefarm.com.
Here is one account of her relationship
with horses, in an article from her website.
in Deep Places: A Tribute to Brannon
On June 21, 2005, I had just
come in from sitting with my 31-year-old mare, Brannon, having let all
the horses out into the pasture, including her, at around 5:00. During
the summer, they spend the heat of the day inside the barn. Then I let
them out to graze during the evening and throughout the night into the
morning. Brannon looked very stiff and slow that evening. Her old legs
were giving out on her. I went into the house at around 6:00 and when
I looked out the window I could see she was already lying down. An hour
and a half later she was still lying down. I was concerned and went out
to check on her. She sat up when I approached, but when I sat down in
the grass behind her she laid her great head in my lap and sighed. The
thought entered my mind, “I do not think she can live much longer.”
I loved this mare very much and I hated the thought of having to say good-bye
to her. I stroked her neck and kissed her ear and brushed the flies away
from her eyes. The evening fog was drifting in and getting tangled in
the tall pines surrounding the pasture. Wisps of cool air swirled softly
around us, lifting the tips of her auburn mane where it lay on her neck.
The smell of crushed grass and earth rose from beneath us. We breathed
together. We felt together. The other horses eventually saw me sitting
with Brannon and came running over to find out what I was doing. Their
arrival coaxed her to rise, but it was very hard for her. I stood for
a long time next to her, my fingers stroking her coat where the sun-baked
ground had caused her to sweat. I tried to feel what it was she would
like me to do for her and I struggled with what she suggested.
Brannon died on Monday, July 25, 2005 at 4:30 in the afternoon. Over the
weekend, she was visited by many who loved her, including my friend and
animal-intuitive, Katherine Sefton. Katherine told me that Brannon's final
message was "Life is good" and "Don't forget". I know
this is, indeed, how she felt. She always saw the very best ways to feel
good and never dwelled on the stuff that felt bad. “Food is good!”
she would always say. If she had to establish clarity in any given situation,
she did so rapidly and with enough focus to get the job done and that
was all. “What’s the big deal?” was another of her mainstays.
Peace reigned in her presence.
I had the pleasure of sharing my life with Brannon for nearly ten years.
She was not a young filly even then. She was stoic and self-assured; the
best leader I have ever known. When I took her down to my mother's place
in Los Altos Hills, with the intention of having her work as a school
horse there, she ran up and down the 3-acre valley non-stop until her
nose bled and her legs were giving out. Even then, she did not stop. She
insisted on leaving! Although, it is only in retrospect that I can see
why (the energy there was enormously unbalanced at the time) I did at
least "hear" her demand and promptly brought her up here to
Sebastopol, totally unsure of what the heck I was going to do with her.
I had not started teaching here yet, focusing all my attention on the
business in LAH. As it turned out, she knew better than I what was up.
I closed the 20-year-old business in LAH only six months later!
From the time she started helping me teach here, she showed me a way of
being that far surpassed that of any human I knew. She was a quiet rock,
a gentle home to which I could return, a pillow of calm. She let toddlers
brush her legs, kiss her nose and wobble around on her back. She stood
still while adults who had never had the experience of sitting on a horse,
and had craved the experience for a lifetime, beamed with joy at doing
so in such a safe way. If she was confronted with an unusual experience
or something startled her, she would merely plant her four hooves, hold
her space and determine how to keep it hers. She held many who carried
memories of past injuries, both emotional and physical, silently absorbing
their tears with her soul to soul connection. In fact, her greatest gift
to me and to everyone was her gentle coaching of the language of the soul.
Perhaps her most devoted fan was Lyric, a 23-year-old mare who has been
with me since her birth. Lyric followed Brannon's every suggestion, stuck
close to her everywhere she went and fretted if Brannon was out of sight.
Brannon always confidently ambled her way around the pasture and left
it to Lyric to make sure the rest of the herd kept up. As Brannon ventured
out less and less, Lyric would stay within sight of Brannon even as the
rest of the herd browsed in the farther reaches of the pasture. If the
group went too far away for Lyric to feel congruency, she would run back
and forth, calling out until the entire herd would run back to be with
Brannon. Even though the upper regions of the pasture had better grazing,
Lyric insisted on this togetherness so most of the grazing was done near
At 31 years old, Brannon's chestnut
coat was glossy and dappled. She loved food and needed very little of
it to keep her weight. Although her back had dropped a bit, she held a
profile that could take your breath away. Her eyes were deep, kind and
thoughtful. Like an old sage, she had a long beard that would halo her
soft muzzle in the morning light and tickle your cheek when she gave kisses
or searched your palm for treats. Her mane was long, straight and graying
near her withers. In fact, she was graying considerably on her face.
On Monday, the day she left, I let her roam where she pleased after lunch
and she chose to lie down in a soft bed of shavings just outside the tack
room. The forest canopy shaded her, rippling dappled light over her coat.
She breathed easily and held her space with quiet knowing. I sat by her
head, my fingers absently playing in her mane, tracing the graceful curve
of her ear or brushing flies off the paper-thin skin on the side of her
old muzzle. Looking into the woods from where we were, I was struck by
the awesome beauty of our surroundings. Light filtered down in beams and
birds fluttered like leaves from the branches to the ground seeking seeds
and bugs. Layer upon layer of green danced away from us into infinity.
Brannon and I were in transition and I was lovingly reminded, “The
dance is never over.”
For several nights I tossed and turned, struggling with the thought that
I made the decision to put her to sleep. Thanks to the lessons so consistently
offered to me by the horses, Brannon included, I began to consider what
desire this sense of pain in my heart was creating. I concluded I want
to develop relationships with younger horses so I can be with them for
many, many years. I understand more thoroughly the necessity of caring
immaculately for their legs and general physical health so the chance
of their death being natural is increased. And most importantly, I will
continue to strengthen my connection with them on a vibrational level
so I feel comfortable with how I am with them, whether they are in a body
Just the same, my uncertainty about the belief that I had “played
God” by calling the vet and having him put Brannon to sleep gnawed
at me. That is, until a few mornings ago. Just before sunrise, when the
roosters had not even begun to crow yet, I lay in bed, hovering between
sleep and awake. I was "watching" all the herd browsing on loose
hay. I could only "see" their noses. All their noses were together,
like they often are when they are sharing food, and I was enjoying sharing
the moment with them. Suddenly, I realized one of the noses was Brannon's.
As soon as I realized this I got the sensation she was laughing and saying,
"I was wondering when you would notice!"
The next instant, I got a picture of her with a student on her back. We
were in the gravel parking lot at the head of the trail and I was on the
ground by her left side. She did something she often did; she pushed her
nose against the halter, sliding the reins out of the rider's hands to
go where she wanted. This graceful, strong-intentioned move was distinctly
Brannon’s and I recognized her instantly for that picture. Of course
she would show up to me eating food, so I would know she was fine and
happy! Of course she would remind me that she only goes where she wants
to go, so I would know the decision was hers to leave, not mine!
For all the connectedness I
have with her and with all my horses, I forgot that sometimes ideas and
subsequent actions come from deep places. I realized my decision to put
Brannon to sleep was in response to her asking long before the actual
physical action was taken. I believe that Brannon’s asking was complete
on June 21, 2005 when she laid her head in my lap. I had felt her and
in this feeling of us together I had agreed on a plan with her. What a
generous, loving gift Brannon offered me in those two brief images. How
smart she was to make the offering at a time I was most likely to be receptive,
in that limbo state of light sleep just before dawn. How I love her for
her generosity and knowingness!
other client samples:
DEUTSCH, "I Follow in Her Footsteps"
KNUTSON, To See or Not to See
SANCHEZ, Spiritual Perversion
WARREN, Dark Innocence
WEPRIN, The Gift of the Day