Reiki for horses; keeping it simple |

Reiki for horses; keeping it simple

Jody Hall
for The Fence Post
Baird, of Sunrise Reiki, said that he uses symbols and visualization in his treatments.
Photo by Jody Hall

What is Reiki for horses? It is basically energy work. It is a Japanese word meaning “Universal Life Energy.” It is never meant to replace health or veterinarian care but it can be a helpful addition for your horse emotionally, mentally and physically.

There are many ways you or your horse can benefit from Reiki. Jeff Baird, Reiki master, said he likes to take the “woo woo” out of it and keep it simple. If you believe in Reiki, or not, the reactions horses have to it are real. Because Reiki makes the recipient “feel better” it can be hard to judge scientifically, but most of us can agree that there are things in this world that can not be explained by science.


Usually the practitioner will move their hands very close to the recipient’s body but does not touch them. Some will rub their hands together before they begin a treatment. Baird, of the Sunrise Reiki Healing Center in Evergreen, Colo., said that he uses symbols and visualization in his treatments. Many people say that they can feel the energy transfer from the practitioner to their body and that the practitioner’s hands get very warm. Simply put, warmth comes from energy. Everything has energy. In Reiki that energy is channeled through the practitioner to the recipient whether that be human, equine or canine.

During Reiki in humans and horses there tends to be an extreme relaxation that takes place. This relaxation is the key to Reiki’s healing.

Priscilla Dressan, DVM, said she would recommend Reiki for animals. She said that when the deep relaxation occurs in a Reiki session it allows the blood to become more oxygenated which in turn reduces inflammation, cleans up toxins and relieves stress.

Donna Schrader, who suffers from MS has had Reiki treatments. She said it relieves muscle spasms and tightness. “What I felt was warmth and then a release.” She said she felt energy go into her body.


When Ce-Ce’s owners agreed to have Jeff work on her they admitted they were somewhat skeptical, but they tried to keep an open mind. “Skepticism, I get it,” Baird said. “I was the most skeptical person I know but now I’ve seen too many healings to doubt the amazing power of Reiki. That’s why working with horses is so great. The beauty of it is they are so open and don’t have any skepticism.”

Ce-Ce had suffered a deep cut on her left front leg. It had healed nicely but still had some residual stiffness after a couple of months. Ce-Ce had also lost her mojo. Before her injury she was in the top of the herd dynamic but she seemed depressed and had trepidation when approaching other horses especially at feeding time.

Baird started doing what he called distant work on Ce-Ce. He used strong visualization techniques with images of strength and confidence surrounding her. During this time, it did seem that Ce-Ce’s depression lessened, and her confidence started to return. She moved up to the middle of the herd instead of the bottom. During this time another horse named Babs was introduced into the herd. She and Ce-Ce started to hang out together. Did her confidence come from her new friend or from Reiki? Maybe the Reiki gave her enough confidence to be more social.

After two weeks of distant sessions Jeff came to visit Ce-Ce. It seemed like love at first sight.

Baird immediately began by running his hands over her body but not touching her. He ran his hand up and down her leg that had been cut and over an old scar on the back of her heel. He worked on her for about 70 minutes.

During the time he worked on her the owners watched Ce-Ce’s reaction intensely. She began licking and chewing. This was the first sign of relaxation starting. Halfway into the session she began to yawn, not one or two times, but several. At least 10. Yet another sign that her state of relaxation was deepening. She tried to take a step back but almost stumbled as her muscles were so relaxed.


Horse trainer Kristi Plutt told them that the yawning is a sign that the horse is very placid and totally let down. She said when she is working with young colts they get very tight lipped and bothered but when they start to yawn, “it’s like letting the butterflies out. A really good sign they are really relaxed.”

When they took Ce-Ce back to the pasture she had more energy and seemed to be moving more freely. No more depression and the stiffness from the injury was better.

Benefits from Reiki:

Even though science cannot measure Reiki’s benefits on horses, the benefits can still be seen.

• Deep relaxation

• Relieves stress

• Helps to oxygenate the blood

• Reduces inflammation

• Can improve overall health

• Can help to expedite healing and recovery

Any horse can benefit from Reiki: show and performance horses, highly stressed rescue horses or even everyday pleasure horses that have lost their mojo. “That’s how Reiki works,” Baird said, “It just does.” For more information, contact Baird at Sunrise Reiki to set an appointment for yourself, your horse or the family dog.❖

— H­all is a freelance writer from Platteville, Colo., when she’s not writing she is riding her horse in the mountains. She can be reached by email at