Using Reiki to support your senior horse

Discover how Reiki meditations can enhance your senior horse’s health journey.

If you’re lucky, your horse will live to a ripe old age. Along with the support of a caring holistic vet, sharing Reiki meditations with your senior can help you enhance his health journey. Because horses are prey animals, they are often very stoic and it can be difficult to know when they’re feeling poorly. By closely observing changes in the expression in your horse’s eyes, body posture or behavior, you can more easily recognize when he’s not feeling well. Reiki is a great way to quiet our minds so we can notice these changes, and is also a way to offer horses our heartfelt healing support and compassionate presence. In this article, I’d like to explore how Reiki can support healing for the conditions senior horses often face.

Reiki can also help bring a sense of peace and calm to those of us who worry about our horses getting older. I love sharing Reiki with a horse’s human by setting up a chair just outside the stall and performing a hands-on Reiki session on the person with the horse nearby, relaxing and sharing the space with us. Reiki always offers wonderful gentle support for mind, body and spirit.

Aches, pains and lameness

Many elderly horses suffer from aches and pains associated with common health issues such as arthritis or laminitis. My 30-year-old horse, Shawnee, benefits from pasture living and special hoof care for his issues. In addition, he always looks forward to his regular Reiki sessions. Through Reiki, I can often sense how he’s feeling or if there is something going on that needs a vet’s attention. Often, horses who receive Reiki will show signs of significant improvement in comfort and mobility. It brings me great joy to see many of my arthritic clients getting a spring back in their steps after Reiki treatments. I’ve often seen Shawnee kick up his heels and canter like a young horse soon after a Reiki session.

Metabolic disorders, lethargy or weight loss

As horses get older, it’s important to keep a closer eye on their weight, eating habits and energy levels. Sometimes, elderly horses develop hormone imbalances, causing them to become too fat or too thin. They can also develop dental issues that require dietary changes.

Any changes you notice in your horse’s weight and energy should be discussed with your veterinarian, but Reiki is also a wonderful way to support him so he feels better. Many times, I’ve enjoyed the beautiful experience of seeing a horse with decreased appetite begin to eat during a Reiki session. I’ve also seen lethargic horses show increased liveliness after sessions; Reiki can bring back a beautiful emotional sparkle. Reiki is a wonderful way to bring balance and well-being to your horse, no matter what ailments he or she may be facing.

Reiki for retirement

For many of us, our primary relationship and connection with our horses is through riding, so when they get older and we make the decision to retire them, it can feel like a big loss in our lives. Trying to adjust to a new “way” of being together, without riding, can be difficult at first, but Reiki is a wonderful way to smooth the process.

Reiki meditation is about connecting from the heart. When we practice Reiki, we learn to breathe and focus into the heart of our being, so we can connect more easily to a horse’s heart and being. When we connect heart to heart, we realize that although we often rely on “doing” things to connect us to one other and the world, these activities don’t define who we are.

When our horses are less able to physically perform, Reiki helps us stay connected by heightening the awareness that comes from an open heart. By meditating with our horses, Reiki shows us that connecting with our hearts is a profound way to communicate with and relate to our horses – it’s even more profound than the connection we once found through riding! How wonderful that even though our horses slow down and age, Reiki will always give us a beautiful way to connect and be together!

Signs your horse is connecting with you through Reiki

Your horse will show signs of relaxation and interest in you, and may come forward so you can rest your hands on him. Or he may stay several feet away in a peaceful and calm manner. Remember, Reiki is about touching with your heart, not your hands, so physical contact isn’t necessary for your horse to benefit from the healing space you create.

A practice to try: The Reiki Precepts meditation

Stand in a comfortable position near your horse (inside or outside the stall, paddock or pasture), with your spine straight and your shoulders and arms relaxed. Place your hands palms out, at your sides. Relax your entire body as you breathe deeply a few times.

Now take ten breaths, and on each inhale, feel the energy of the earth coming up into your heart. On each exhale, release any emotions, fears or worries about your horse. With each successive breath, feel more and more stillness and stability within you. Once you have completed ten breaths, allow yourself to stay for several minutes in the space of earth energy and stability you have created with your breath.

Once you feel yourself become fully calm and connected to the earth, invite your horse to share this space with you. Simply set your intent to open your heart and share this calm, grounded space.

Now, recite the Reiki precepts in your mind and heart:

For today only, do not anger.

Do not worry.

Be grateful.

Practice diligently.

Be compassionate to yourself and others.

Bring these precepts into your heart and allow yourself to contemplate what they mean to you. How does your horse teach you these precepts? Does he model them for you? How can following these precepts help you to be truly present as a helpful caretaker for your horse?

Now take a moment to thank your horse for being a teacher of healing in your life. Feel gratitude embracing both you and your horse. Let go of your expectations (along with any worries about what needs to be healed) and continue to breathe the calm and strength of earth energy into your heart as you share this space of gratitude for as long as you like.

Tips: As you practice this meditation, remember to let go of the “doing” of healing. The most powerful healing you can offer your horse right now is to bring all your awareness and energy here to this moment, open your heart, and just “be.” If you find your mind becoming distracted, recite the precepts again or repeat the ten breaths to help you to re-focus.

With everything we “do” for our horses throughout their lives, it can be difficult to navigate the many challenges they may face in their elder years, as they wind down towards their final days. As much as we work to “do” our best for our horses, Reiki helps us remember we can always be Reiki with our horses, no matter their age or condition. Reiki meditation can help us create a strong sense of peace, harmony, love and compassion, every day, through every condition, even as we support our horses during their final journey over the rainbow bridge.


Affectionately called the "godmother" of the Animal Reiki movement, Kathleen Prasad is the global leader in the profession. She is the founder of Animal Reiki Source, which offers the world's first extensive and specialized curriculum and training program in animal Reiki. She is also co-founder and president of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA), the first non-profit of its kind, promoting the use of Reiki meditation in animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescues worldwide. She authored the Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics, and has written several influential books in the field. Visit Kathleen online at