VALERIE Westfield PhD is a Northern Ireland native, but lived in North Wales for 25 years. She worked as a high school English teacher and has also spent short spells working as a super tutor to the super rich all over the world – she tutors English up to GCSE level, as well as tutoring children for the transfer test and for entrance exams for top London schools. She has a PhD in medical Herbalism, which she found very interesting. Valerie returned to Northern Ireland four years ago to help look after her elderly father, who sadly passed away just a few weeks ago.
“I have always loved horses and donkeys and had them around when I was growing up. I have had polo ponies of my own in the past and hope to get a couple of horses here now,” Valerie began.
“I have also always been interested in health and complementary therapy and developed an interest in Reiki, which is a simple Japanese energy-balancing method that is used by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.”
Reiki is most well-known as a ‘hands-on’ treatment technique and many people have regular Reiki treatments. It is an holistic system of energy healing; practitioners connect with the healing energy in the universe and channel it through their hands. Research at Stanford University has been able to measure the energy flow into the body and verified that Reik (or Chi) enters through the crown chakra (at the top of the head) and exits through the palms.
What can Reiki do for your horse?
Anyone (or any animal!) can benefit from a course of Reiki treatments, regardless of age or state of health, and beneficial changes can take place over a fairly short space of time.
Valerie has found that in horses, Reiki can help with physical injuries (tendons/ ligaments etc.), Sweet Itch, Laminitis, colic, box walking, competition stress (for horse and rider), performance, wind sucking, cribbing, owner-horse relationship, loading problems, appetite loss and separation anxiety. She says that even healthy horses can benefit from Reiki, as treatments will enhance their general well being. It works on all levels – emotionally, physically and psychologically.
Valerie said: “I find Reiki with animals is amazing. Equine Reiki is very hard to explain in many ways – you really have to see a horse having a Reiki treatment to understand, as animals don’t lie. This is why I always offer to do a demonstration first, unless the owner knows all about Reiki. In fact, Reiki is good for the owner too and some owners have asked me to treat them as well as their horse!
“I am a Traditional Usual Reiki Master, Epona Equine Reiki Practitioner and Epona Animal Reiki Practitioner,” she continued.
“My training first began back in 2006, when by chance, I saw a course running at Reasheath College, Nantwich in Cheshire. This course was in the equine unit – it was equine reiki, but we had to train on people first, before we went on to horses. I have treated polo ponies at Cheshire Polo, where I have been a member for about 20 years (I am still a member). I was asked to treat a dressage horse in Germany and was also invited to Abu Dhabi racing and polo club to demonstrate this unique therapy!” she said.
Valerie has treated lots of different equines – from rescue ponies to polo ponies to racehorses!
She said: “I learned to play polo many years ago in Wicklow polo club. When I did an Equine Reiki demonstration for the players at the All Ireland polo club, Leonardo Rossellini invited me to his club, Alto polo club in Argentina, to treat his horses!
“When I can, I volunteer at Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, giving Reiki to some of the equines there. When in Egypt, I also helped in some of the animal rescue centres, as Reiki can be used on all animals, not just equines. A few years ago, I trained with Sarah Berrisford, who is based in South Lincolnshire and runs the Epona Equine Reiki Centre.
“At present, I am treating a high profile racehorse, ‘The White Volcano’, owned by Philip White Tyres and trained by John Woods. Getting involved in the racing world has been wonderful for me, as I feel that Reiki can impact on horse welfare, helping to improve the lives of racehorses – I hope to help other horses in the sport… In fact, not just racehorses, but all horses. I think once I get better known and owners can see how Reiki helps their horses, they will be totally amazed,” she said.
“The photos show the first time I had met ‘Volcano’, yet you would have thought he had known me all his life! His trainer was amazed at how he reacted to me.”
Valerie is passionate about Equine Reiki and its benefits and plans to become known globally for her work, as she says: “It’s just amazing, I can’t stress that enough!
“I am available to travel anywhere in the world, where I am invited. People who have high profile horses are keen to pay for me to travel and treat their horses – it’s like my tutoring, I can deliver results and that’s why millionaire and billionaire families all over the world paid me big money,” she said.
Valerie stresses that she doesn’t charge big fees for general horses and ponies and she treats animals in rescue centres for free.
Among Valerie’s clients is Jayne Doherty, who has ridden for Ireland. Valerie has tutored two of Jayne’s children, as well as being invited to give Reiki treatments to her horses.
Valerie has also been approached by international show jumper Sameh El Dahan (Sammy), who is Joanne Sloan Allen’s business partner. Valerie doesn’t know Sammy personally, but feels like she has known him for years, as he is Egyptian and Valerie has many Egyptian friends both in the UK and in Cairo. Sammy has invited Valerie to their yard to see some of his horses too, however getting both he and Joanne there is proving to be a big challenge, as they are always travelling!
Receiving Reiki is a simple process. The Equine Reiki Practitioner will decide whether to treat your horse over the stable door (sometimes necessary for a few minutes to begin with), tied up or loose in the stable – which Valerie prefers, so that the horse can move around. The practitioner will either lay their hands on the horse’s body or from a space away, depending on how the horse wishes to receive energy.
During the treatment, energy (called ‘chi’) is drawn through the practitioner into the recipient, helping to produce a state of balance. Valerie sometimes finds that during a treatment, the horse starts to lean on her.
How might my horse react?
The great thing about using Reiki on horses is that you can ‘see’ it working. Your horse will most likely relax, lick his lips, lower his head and neck and pass wind.
Some horses will lie down to sleep. Different types of horses can react in different ways, for example, youngsters may not show as many signs of relaxation during their first treatment as an older horse may, however, the young horse will often lie down to sleep after the treatment, when he is alone.
No matter what the reaction, Reiki is giving your horse what he or she needs.
How many treatments?
The effects of Reiki build up cumulatively, so it is advised to have a course of treatments (four to six at weekly intervals) to help produce long-term beneficial changes, emotionally and physically. Following this, some owners choose for their horses to have a treatment once a month or every other month to help keep them balanced and in tip top condition.
Please note that Reiki is not a substitute for veterinary care and treatment. If your equine has any symptoms of illness, you should call your vet. The law currently states that before your horse receives a Reiki treatment, you must gain veterinary consent. A Reiki practitioner will not diagnose or recommend any form of treatment.
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