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RC, the Golden Horse

Homeopathy puts anxious horse back on track

It was
a lovely June afternoon when I went to see RC, a 16-year-old quarter horse gelding,
at a nearby stable. Lesley, his caregiver, explained that she primarily wanted
help for RC’s behavioral problems of anxiety and agitation.
     When ridden by a less-than-expert equestrian, RC
would become anxious. Lesley felt that he was so eager to please and so sensitive
that he got agitated when he did not know what the rider wanted him to do. RC
also became extremely anxious when separated from the other horses, or, as Lesley
put it, from “his mares.” Upon questioning Lesley further, she expressed
her sense that RC felt responsible for them and their welfare.

All worked up
When anxious, RC would get increasingly worked up, emotionally desperate, and
physically tense, and he would not settle down. Even so, when being ridden, he
would never “take off” and run out of control, as horses in that
emotional state tend to do. He would speed up his gait, however, and he once
even fell with a rider. When RC was being ridden, he was clumsy and tended to
stumble, yet without a rider he was “amazingly agile.”
     RC had been a show horse, sold at age two and again
at age eight. When he was ten years old, a “sudden divorce” caused
him to be sold at auction to a horse dealer. Lesley had bought him 3 months later,
in 1997. There was at least a possibility, if not a probability, of emotional
trauma related to these events.
     When Lesley met RC, he was unfriendly to people
and “curmudgeonly”; he seemed sad and bitter, though never mean.
He was “completely unable to be apart from other horses.” If separated,
he would work himself into a frenzy; he had once even reared up and fallen over
backwards. After a year and a half with Lesley, however, he had become more friendly
and trusting.

RC with his trainer, Aimee Swift.

Health history
RC had been given routine yearly vaccinations for rabies and eastern and western
equine encephalomyelitis. He had experienced an episode of strangles (an infection
of the upper respiratory lymph nodes, characterized by the development of abscesses)
in the winter of 1998-99. Other physical symptoms were limited to hooves that
tended to crack, sensitivity to flying insects, and itching from insect bites.
He tended to get diarrhea with anxiety, for example, when put in a trailer or
when separated from the other horses.
     RC was somewhat lethargic in hot weather and preferred
cooler weather. He was not especially thirsty. He tended to gain weight easily.

Analyzing RC’s case
Lesley described RC as being an alpha horse, quite opinionated and impatient,
easily bored with work that was routine or too easy. My own sense of RC was that
he was a perfectionist, needing to perform perfectly, and he became anxious when
he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He also expected perfection
from others and was frustrated by what he perceived as incompetence. This, I
believe, was behind his appearance of being impatient and opinionated. He also
assumed responsibility for others, and he took that responsibility very seriously.
     His tendency to rush when being ridden seemed significant
(repertory rubric: “Mind: Hurry, haste, in occupation”). I also felt
that the probable history of emotional trauma and consequent “sadness and
bitterness, but never meanness,” were important to the case.

Which remedy?
As I stood with RC in the barn, it suddenly hit me: this was an Aurum case!
Curiously, at that very moment, RC suddenly jerked his head backward, seemingly
startled by something, though nothing had happened. It seemed to both Lesley
and me that I had caused him to startle, though I hadn’t moved or spoken—only
thought of the homeopathic remedy Aurum for him. (Aurum is a homeopathic
remedy prepared from gold.)
     The next question was, which Aurum remedy—Aurum
metallicum, Aurum muriaticum,
or one of the other Aurum salts? Upon
further study, I discovered that the repertory rubric, “Mind: Company,
desires; aggravated when alone,” contains Aurum muriaticum as its
only Aurum remedy. (It is interesting to note that the rubric “Mind:
Anxiety when alone,” has no Aurum remedies at all.) In reading the
materia medica, I found that one of the distinguishing features of Aurum muriaticum relative
to other Aurums is the strong desire for company.
     I prescribed Aurum muriaticum 200c, and,
as you may have guessed by now, RC’s problems improved. Three months after
the 200c, his anxiety when alone was 50 to 70% better. RC stumbled much less
frequently, and he was more confident. He no longer rushed when anxious, and
he was much better with inexperienced riders. Even his hooves were better, according
to the farrier.
     RC has since had Aurum muriaticum 1M, with
further improvement and a response lasting more than 6 months, followed by Aurum
muriaticum
10M, to which he is still responding.

The gold standard
RC exhibits many of the common characteristics of the Aurum remedies.
Patients needing an Aurum remedy tend to be idealists and perfectionists,
measuring themselves by the “gold standard.” They tend to be responsible
and to take their responsibilities very seriously. Seriousness is typically a
very strong feature of such cases. (Gold is very heavy.)
     These patients are generally sensitive, both physically
and emotionally. (Gold is a very soft metal.) Physically, these patients may
be sensitive to pain, odors, light, noise, music, and all external impressions.
The physical sensitivity tends to manifest itself primarily on the emotional
level, however. The physical sensitivities show up in the “Mind” section
of the repertory, whereas in the rubric “Generalities: Sensitive, oversensitive,” there
are far fewer sub-rubrics in which Aurum appears.
Aurum patients are said to have a “heart
of gold”—that is, they are kind, gentle, and caring. However, this “heart
of gold” often has a dark cloud over it, usually having to do with grief,
disappointment, feeling let down by others, or an inability to live up to their
own high standards.
     Emotionally, the sensitivities can be seen in the
repertory under the rubric “Mind: Ailments from.” There you will
see a long litany of emotional traumas that can affect the Aurum patient.
Chief among them, however, is grief.
     There is much more to the clinical picture of Aurum than
I have discussed here, but I hope that this synopsis will give you a good overview.
Just a bit of icing on the cake: it’s very clear to me that Bob Dylan was
in an Aurum state when he wrote the song Idiot Wind. The lyrics to that
song convey beautifully the Aurum feeling, particularly the line, “…you
find out, when you reach the top, you’re on the bottom.”
     But enough of that! I’m starting to get depressed.

ABOUT THE
AUTHOR

Jeff Levy, DVM, has been practicing classical veterinary homeopathy for 21 years.
He resides and practices in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, and offers long distance
consultation by telephone. He also offers advanced instruction in veterinary
homeopathy in seminars around the country. His website is www.homeovet.net.

Summary of Symptoms
—Thanks to Basil Ziv, RSHom(NA) for preparing this summary.

Below is a list of RC’s symptoms. In parentheses are corresponding rubrics
from the Complete Repertory, or from other sources as noted, in which
the remedy Aurum muriaticum appears.

Anxious (Anxiety about future; excitement; traveling; fear of death; wellbeing
of the family; with palpitations; affections of the heart.)

Responsible (Responsibility.)

Increasingly worked up, would not settle down (Great restlessness, changes
his position every moment, his friends call him “the quicksilver man.”—Clarke)

Sold (Forsaken feeling—Links 1997.)

Unable to be apart from other horses (Desire for company; Aggravated while
alone.)

Unfriendly, curmudgeonly (Morose, sulky, cross, fretful, ill-humor, peevish.)

Abscesses (Glands swollen, inflamed, indurated. Abscesses and necrosis—Scholten.)

Lethargic in hot weather; prefers cooler weather (Warm air aggravates;
Desires open air.)

Gains weight easily (Size, large, obesity—Knerr.)

Alpha horse, opinionated, impatient (Egotism. Haughty and arrogant—Morrison.)

Easily bored with work (Ennui, boredom.)

Perfectionist (Perfectionistic—British Homeopathic Journal.)

Expected perfection from others (fastidious—Links 1997.)

Tendency to rush when being ridden (Hurry, haste, in occupation.)

Sadness (Sadness, despondency, depression, melancholy.)