Secretariat was known in life as a horse with a large "heart." However, before his burial, he was necropsied at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Thomas Swerczek, the veterinarian who performed the necropsy, claims that he found that Secretariat's heart was the largest he had ever seen in a horse—approximately twice the size of a normal horse's heart. Dr. Swerczek states in correspondence:
"Certainly, after performing autopsies on several thousand thoroughbred horses, including mares and stallions, no other horse came close to Secretariat’s heart size. The second largest heart I found was the heart of Sham, who actually broke the Kentucky derby record, but still lost to Secretariat. Sham’s heart weighed 19 pounds. The third largest heart I found was stallion Key to the Mint, which was 16 pounds. The majority of all others were smaller, in the range of 10 to 12 pounds. Bold Ruler, the sire of Secretariat had an average size heart. The heart size seemingly is inherited from the female side of the pedigree. When I performed the autopsy on Secretariat, which was necessary because of insurance and we needed to determine the cause of the laminitis, the cause of destruction, I did a cosmetic autopsy. The reason being I did not want to dismantle such a remarkable specimen and the farm personnel and handlers were present to immediately collect all organs in large plastic bags which were immediately returned to the farm to be buried with the body. Normally, with other horses we can keep all organs and the body for further study, or to preserve large specimens, like the heart, but I was not allowed to do this with Secretariat. For this reason, all specimens were immediately collected and returned to the farm, and I did not get a chance to weigh the heart. However, by comparing it to numerous other hearts I got actual weights on, I am certain the weight was between 21 to 22 pounds. So I considered the heart weight officially as 21 pounds. The heart was in perfect shape, not diseased in any way, but just considerably larger than any other horses I autopsied."
A comparison of a large heart (Phar Lap) to a normal heart.
Many 'large' hearts are upward of twenty pounds.
"Death proved how big-hearted the champion really was. On the right is the heart of an average horse, a cavalry mount, weighing about 3.5 - 4kg (7-8 pounds). On the left is Phar Lap's heart which weighed in at 6.35kg or 14 pounds. His heart is on display at the National Museum in Canberra."
In Loving Memory of Luc 1986 - 2013
a Brandi Meyer Photo
Can any horse be a Medicine Horse?
All horses are teachers.
Some horses are healers.
Fewer horses are both healer and teacher.
Medicine Horses go beyond the role of healer teacher.
If a Medicine Horse is living a life that is not congruent with his role here on earth he/she will either act out defiantly or develop a lameness that will often be mysterious in that it will be unable to be diagnosed with any accuracy.
Are there any physical differences between a normal horse and a Medicine Horse?
Medicine Horses are born with an unusually large heart. This means that they can move enormous volumes of energy with more ease than a normal horse.
This allows them to work with larger numbers of people without having 'the work' affect them in a manner that would leave them out of balance. This genetic mutation is refered to as the Pocahontas Effect, The Large Heart Gene or The X-Factor.
Can horses without a known pedigree be Medicine Horses?
These horses hold a very high and strong vibration which some gifted people can discern.
Some veterinarians are able to tell if the horse has an 'abnormally large heart' by listening with a stethoscope. The beat will be unusually slow and strong with a 'stop' between beats. All other aspects of the horse will appear normal except as mentioned earlier in that they may exhibit behavior issues or a lameness that disappears when they are allowed to get to work.
Are there any scientific studies that address this anomaly?
Yes. The Thoroughbred Race Horse Industry has been studying this genetic mutation for many years and through their research and their dedication to documenting bloodlines we can look at pedigrees of many breeds of horses that have been crossed with Thoroughbred horses.
The Institute of Heart Math has also released some fascinating data.
Recent Studies Explain The Healing That Occurs When We Are Near Horses
"Studies conducted by the Institute of Heart Math provide a clue to explain the bidirectional 'healing' that happens when we are near horses.
According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart's energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body.
While this is certainly significant it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse's heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere shaped field that completely surrounds you).
The horse's electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm!
Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a 'coherent' heart rhythm (heart rate pattern) which explains why we may 'feel better' when we are around them.
Studies have found that a coherent heart pattern or HRV is a robust measure of well being and consistent with emotional states of calm and joy - that is, we exhibit such patterns when we feel positive emotions.
A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently.
Often times, we only need to be in a horse's presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning, and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self efficacy."
Navigating the world of horses is an interesting art and often a difficult one.
At Thirteen Moons Farm we put the horses first, their way, not ours.
The horses receive quality feeds, the best veterinary care when needed, regular hoof care, clean dry stabling with optional walkouts, blankets when required and all other fundamental necessities and niceties of life.
However, the most important thing we give them is access to their true nature. We give them each other. We give them space. We offer them choices. We give them freedom to be themselves whether as an individual or in a group.
They tell us.
They let us know in clear terms when they are ready and willing to work...and we listen.
Should you happen to visit a facility where the horses are thin, unhappy, unwilling, depressed or agitated it will become clear that the horses are merely tools which are used as a gimmick, a prop.
In these types of facilities the turnover of horses is frequent and you can be assured that the horses are not being honored or valued in a way that is congruent with their spirit.
In most instances the focus is on the formal education of the human therapists and the method they have been taught to use.
Little thought is given to the physical, emotional and above all spiritual requirements of the horse. It is not unusual for therapy horses to live confined to their stalls and small turnout areas, rarely turned out with compatible groups.
Therapy horses give..and give...and give and then give up.
What is a Medicine Horse Session like?
No two sessions are ever the same.
The horses react differently to each client or group of clients.
The sessions can be very up close and interactive, or in the case of very sensitive or fearful clients the horses can work from across a distance. Ours is not a talk therapy, but rather a powerful energy healing provided by powerful sacred beings, The Medicine Horses.
Can the horses have apples or carrots as a treat?
Some of the horses receive apples and carrots from time to time especially in the winter. One member of our herd is highly allergic to carrots while another occasionally chokes on apples. Yet another cannot have anything containing sugar so we tend to avoid these things.
We never hand feed the horses since this would encourage them to come looking for treats in our hands and pockets and it also encourages the horses to bite. Tina is an equine behavior modification specialist and she has found that one of the leading factors in unwanted behaviors is hand feeding treats and / or rubbing / touching the nose and lips of the horse. The horses will come to you to help you with your energy. They will likely want to investigate your hands to see if your flow of force is fully engaged. Treat feeding would confuse them. We do however give them their apples and carrots in their feed dishes when sessions have finished, clients have gone home and a suitable amount of time has passed so that the horses don't associate the treats with the work.
Are People Allowed To Drop In For Visits?
We are very proud of the work that we do here and are eager to share the horses' teachings.
As you can imagine, our first priority is to the welfare of our horses, their physical, emotional and mental health. Due to the nature of the energy work that the horses are involved in, it is imperative that they are in an optimal state of being whenever someone arrives at the farm.
This takes time and effort that goes beyond providing the simple necessities of life like feeding and watering. Because of this, we cannot accommodate the hundreds of requests we receive for quick visits and "pop ins".
We invite you to schedule an appointment either privately, semi-privately or with a group. The nominal fees we charge go toward covering the costs of hay, grain, vitamins and minerals, hoof care, veterinarian care, leasing of stabling, paddocks, pastures, as well as blankets and grooming supplies.
Join us at Thirteen Moons Farm where we will show you a different way.
The Way of The Medicine Horse