Black Jack stood trembling and bleeding in his stall at the horse rescue. The brown-haired woman standing next to me had just brought him in from a night spent in the pasture. “It must have been the mares,” she said. “Maybe he tried to mount them.”
I stared at the triangle-shaped cut on his chest. I looked down and saw blood coming out of his right front leg, just above the hoof. “Would he do that?” I asked her.
Black Jack had been gelded; I knew that. But the woman standing next to me understood more about horses than I probably ever will. There had to be an explanation for his injuries…so I waited for hers.
“It depends on how late they’re gelded,” she said. If it’s late, they could still have the urge.” The brown-haired woman nodded toward Black Jack. “The mare may have broken his jaw. It doesn’t look right.”
I hesitated for a few seconds while I tried to talk myself out of what I would do next. No one at the horse rescue knew that I performed energy healing—Reiki—on animals. I was just a simple volunteer who mucked stalls and filled water buckets every Sunday morning.
Easier to stay quiet and not raise questions, I told myself.
But I had spent two years training to become a Reiki master, one who specialized in healing animals. And that blood coming out of Black Jack sparkled as red as summer tomato. His jaw quivered as he tried to eat the straw lying near his feet.
I opened the door to his stall and walked in.
“What are you going to do?” asked the high school girl standing near to the brown-haired woman.
“Reiki. I’m going to do Reiki on him.”
“What’s that?” the high school girl asked. The brown-haired woman focused directly on my eyes but said nothing. She had the same question.
I took a deep breath. Black Jack stood over eighteen hands tall, and his coat was as shiny and black as freshly poured asphalt. I had admired this horse ever since I first saw him.
I didn’t know how to explain what I was doing, or why. I just wanted to get to work.
“It helps heal injuries,” I told her. Then she didn’t say anything more, and neither did I. The girl and the brown-haired woman just stood and watched.
I raised my hands and opened my palms flat toward Black Jack. The smell of urine and manure filled my chest. His glassy black eyes stared downward toward the floor, like a flag resting at half-mast.
I pleaded with St. Francis for his help: I had done energy healing on many animals before, but never on one injured like this.
Then I became quiet and let the healing energy flow.
After a minute or two Black Jack raised his head and stared at my hands. As if he were trying to figure out what I held in my palms. He shifted his weight onto his three good legs, and pressed his nose into my left hand.
I felt him take a deep breath in.
I look at the tall horse’s hurt leg—now it was quivering like a fish struggling on a line. “Look at his leg,” I said to the high school girl.
She smiled and said, “Yes.” Somehow I knew what to do next.
I took a step closer to Black Jack. In turn he shuffled to his right and pressed his right side deep into my hands.
Now I was matching my breath to his, filling my lungs the moment he filled his, emptying my lungs when he breathed out. The triangle-shaped cut glistened against his sighing chest.
We stood together like that—breathing together, the warm energy flowing—for maybe ten minutes. But I don’t remember for sure. Because it felt like time had stopped, or maybe like we had stepped outside of time.
When he’d had enough Reiki, he quietly shuffled away from me and stood next to the window in his stall. The morning sun streamed around the steel bars encasing the window and bounced off his long, black neck.
Just before I left, I gently put my hand on his shoulder. And for a few seconds, we talked to each other in a language that few humans ever hear.
Then I slid the stall door shut behind me and went back to filling water buckets.
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