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Awareness Magazine
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Pet Corner

The Horse Totem

By Allen and Linda Anderson


There is a fascinating website called “Native American Legends.” In the section “Native American Totems & Their Meanings” (www.legendsof, it states that the Horse Totem means “freedom, stamina, mobility, the land, travel, and power.” Horses, beloved by indigenous peoples around the world, have offered the freedom to travel and the power of protection from invasive forces.

In a story sent to us by Joy Loros, a horse-lover from Southern Oregon, she writes about the connections she and Divine Spirit made between herself and the horse who played a healing role in her life.

Franklin, the Horse Who Waited for Me

When I was ten years old, I promised myself that for at least one day, I would have my own horse.

In my 30s, I did a Native American sweat. I am a white woman, yet I have always felt very close to the Native American ways. During this sweat ceremony, I had an experience I never spoke of till the next year, when I was at my second sweat. In a Native American sweat, you are re-birthed by Mother Earth. You go into her womb, represented by a manmade tepee, which is totally dark. Much ceremony accompanies the sweat.

At my first sweat experience, I could only see a slight glow from seven hot stones. Then I saw a horse’s eye in the pitch dark. Whether my eyes were open or closed, I could see the horse. I felt a brief moment of fear and then an overwhelming love. The fear left, and all I felt was wonderful love of the spirit of the horse.

Years later, I met a very majestic thoroughbred gelding named Franklin. He had run many races. He had kept his racing human in hay for him and earned his keep until he was nine-and-a-half years old. This is a very long racing career for any horse. I got to ride Franklin over three mountains on a day ride. I fell into the kind of true love that only a horse and a woman can have. Horses are such beings of light. And they connect you with the light. Franklin stole my heart that day.

We had several other rides a year apart. Always up and down hills to exercise his up and down muscles, so he could be a better racer on the flat tracks. I would be so sore the next week as I had not ridden since the previous year. The discomfort was always worth every moment I got to spend with this wonderful being of light.

Then, I became ill with chronic fatigue. I had to spend three-and-a-half years in bed, for 90 percent of the time, trying to recover. One day, my friend called to say that Franklin was retiring from racing. She offered to give Franklin to me. But I was too sick to even think about having a horse. I had to say no. All of my life, since age ten, I had dreamed and hoped and even worked, as a teen, at a riding stable so I could have a bit of riding time. Now here was a gift I could not accept. I felt so crushed. Heart broken, I was angry with God for a while. How could I be sick and not be able to have this horse?

After I healed, I again prayed to God for a horse. I called my racing friend. I knew Franklin was long gone but I still loved the heart of this thoroughbred. I asked if she knew anyone retiring a racer who would make a good trail-horse. She said, “I just heard from my veterinarian that ol’ Franklin became available about a month or two ago.” I was so afraid to even hope. Could it be true? My Franklin, my dream horse, available? YES! I was able to pay the price of 800 dollars for Franklin and arranged to make further payments. Franklin came to live with me.

For five years he was the best thing that ever happened. He taught me so much. He gave his heart to me and filled my heart with love and knowledge that I could have only learned from him. Three years ago, Franklin had to be crossed over by the veterinarian. His arthritis was so bad I could no longer keep him comfortable. Before this, he had acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbs. I figured that if natural things were good for me, they were good for him too. He was so proud and went very quickly. Of course, I told him to go to the light.

I feel Franklin with me every now and then. I even had a dream visit from him several months after he crossed over. It was the kind of dream that after you wake up, it feels like it really happened. This was one last gift from my friend and very first horse Franklin, who will be waiting for me along with the other horses I have loved, when I cross over in my own time. Thank you, Franklin for teaching me so much about horses and what amazing wonderful beings of light you are.

Today, I have been the person for four horses. But my other dream was to gentle a wild mustang. No whips; only love and understanding. I became the proud human to a yearling mustang. I found a horse-gentler, who is guiding me, since I am no horse-gentler without help. Gabriel is a tri-colored paint. Sometimes I feel Franklin through him.

I named this horse Gabriel after the Archangel, who stands for strength. Gabe gives me lots of strength, love, and nickers. Gabe has two white spots, one on each shoulder, where his angel wings were before he came to me. That is why he is my angel horse.

Has a horse brought you “freedom, stamina, mobility, the land, travel, and power”? Has a horse connected you to your own wild, proud, and indigenous nature?

Allen and Linda Anderson are co-founders of Angel Animals Network and authors of a series of books about the spiritual connection between people and animals Their newest book is A Dog Named Leaf: The Hero from Heaven Who Saved My Life (