Serving Others by Rehabilitating Horses

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington and Laura Christie

Jesus told his disciples (and us) to serve others. After Jesus washed his disciples feet, he told them to wash each other's feet (John 13). In Laura Christie's case, that includes horses.

Laura Christie uses a method for rehabilitating and training horses (as well as teaching their owners/riders) that truly transforms the horse. Here, she talks about the system and gives an example of how it makes a positive difference for both the horse and the owner.


I've learned that the real purpose in life is to serve others and do good. That includes animals. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been passionate about horses. Horses are so generous to us, and our relationship with them can be quite wonderful. I've found a system to rehabilitate horses that brings harmony to horse and owner.

What I call Topline Horsemanship came from being out in the field over the last 30 years -- showing, training, fixing problem horses, matching people to horses, trying to be creative and inventive in solving problems, and being sensitive to what's really going on with the horses. There is a stretch used with a horse in traditional dressage, but people don't use it often enough or thoroughly enough in general training, and only a few use it to rehabilitate horses.

I have focused on working with a lot of problem horses over the last several years. As I used this technique again and again, I witnessed the rapid improvement in the horses -- both mentally and physically. It has become refined into a very succinct system. I've seen that when you teach horses to stretch and release, you get faster results and more sound horses, who stay physically healthy because they're not pounded, overworked, or in pain.

I have learned a lot of lessons through horse training. I've seen blessings come when I've known what the truth is. Horses are meant to be content and mentally happy. That's their true, positive environment. I like thinking about negative behavior as a mirage, which can disperse with correct thinking. The mirage of negative stuff is totally fixable. I have seen discordant behavior displaced by harmonious action.

For example: One horse was in a lot of pain, and the owners didn't realize it. The horse became un-ride-able because she would buck and act up. She didn't even want to be brushed. She was cranky. The owners did know that she had taken a fall when she got entangled in the picket rope of another horse. She wrenched a ligament in her hip. It had been at least 6 months since the fall, so the injury was old enough to work with.

When I started teaching her to stretch her neck, she realized I was trying to help her. She knew she needed to stretch and would tilt her head to the side and chew and gnash her teeth softly. I could almost hear her say, "Wow, that hurts, but I know I need to do it." I stretched her for a few days and then started to ride her. She was finally soft in the bridle. She could trot. She went home in just three weeks. She was A-okay. The owners were thrilled. She was a completely different horse. The stretching and release did the trick.

We're all supposed to be content and happy. That's how God made us, and knowing that makes a difference.

Laura Christie, Bozeman, MT