The Thoroughbred racehorse Timothy’s Hope was my primary equine teacher during 1985-1988 and 2003-2012. During our first year together he showed me the miraculous nature of the flower essences discovered by Dr. Edward Bach.

Timothy experienced considerable trauma during his early years at the racetrack. He had declined to the point where he had been ruled off the tracks for refusing to break out of the starting gate. In the spring of 1985 I worked with the physically sore, emotionally ragged horse at my farm in Oregon to bring him back to health. I used nutrition, massage and fitness work. Timothy responded beautifully, gaining fitness, condition and peace of mind. I rode him in my farm arena and at the beach, where we galloped along the sand and waded in the Pacific Ocean. When I moved him to a small county fair race track in the summer of 1985 for schooling, however, he became quite emotionally and physically troubled.

I moved Timothy to the facility with several of his horse friends. Being off-season, the grounds were quiet. There were only 20 to 30 horses stabled throughout a large number of barns. No loudspeaker, official morning workouts or the hustle bustle of race days existed to interrupt our leisurely routine. I thought it would be a perfect place to reintroduce Timothy to easy workouts on a real track.

Track Environment Causes Panic

Regardless of my thoughts on the subject, Timothy responded poorly. Within a day, he was so fussy he was drinking and eating only half of his normal amounts. He started suffering mild muscle cramping and constipation. In addition to these physical concerns, Timothy became increasingly emotionally unstable. He was unable to relax even when offered green grass and turnout time in a paddock. He couldn’t settle down for an evening walk with a good horse friend or a gentle massage. In the morning, when being saddled for his morning workout, Timothy would stand locked in one place in the stall, shivering and shaking, unable to move. He was literally frozen in place with fear. It would take me 15 to 20 minutes to coax him out of the stall. After returning from the track following a mild walk, trot and canter workout with a calm horse friend, Timothy was so nervous he would start to stiffen up and look as if he was going to tie up or colic.

Bach Flower Solution

Concerned for Timothy’s health, I contacted my veterinarian, holistic practitioner Dr. Bob Anderson of Dallas, Oregon. I asked Dr. Bob to give me some kind of chemical tranquilizer for Timothy. I had never used this sort of thing in my training practice before but felt if we didn’t do something to calm Timothy’s nerves he was going to become very ill. Dr. Bob refused my request. Instead, he handed me a brown one-ounce dropper bottle filled with what looked like water. The bottle was labeled “Rock Rose.” Dr. Bob instructed me to put one dropperful of the liquid onto Timothy’s tongue every hour for the rest of the day.

Overnight Transformation

I was very skeptical about this idea, but trusted Dr. Bob and did as I was told. Timothy was put to bed in a clean stall with several choices of hay and two large buckets of water. The next morning, the change was obvious. The gelding had eaten every bit of hay and drank almost all the water. He had passed numerous piles of manure and from the straw entwined throughout his mane and tail, it appeared he had spent a great deal of the night down in the straw resting. For the first time since arriving at the facility, Timothy was eager for breakfast and much easier to saddle and take to the track for a walk and jog. The disconnected look in his eyes had shifted to a more present, settled state. With continued use of the formula over the next few days, Timothy’s pre-and post-workout shivering and cramping and his inability to relax in the track environment disappeared.

The liquid contents of the brown dropper bottle Dr. Anderson gave me was Rock Rose, one of the twelve flower essences Dr. Bach had designated as a Twelve Healer. Dr. Bach called Rock Rose the rescue remedy. It helps rebalance deep fears, terror and severe panic. It creates the positive virtues of courage and peace when a horse or person is faced with challenges. Rock Rose is one of the five essences Dr. Bach included in the combination formula he developed and called rescue remedy.

Profound Change Leads to Help for Others

Watching Timothy shift literally overnight sent me on a quest to learn more about Dr. Bach and the flower essences he discovered. Since that day more than 30 years ago, I’ve used the essences to calm frightened and injured animals, lift the spirits of abused or sick horses, build confidence in the performance horse and tone down belligerent pasture bullies. I’ve mixed formulas that help horses (and their owners) cope with allergies, the fear of trailer loading and stage fright during competition. The essences helped an orphan foal move out of depression and an older horse reclaim his place in the herd.

I’ve used Bach’s essences to calm myself after stressful days, injuries and the death of beloved people and animals. Injured cats, dogs and horses, birds in shock, panicked children on airplanes and troubled friends have all benefitted from Timothy leading me to learn about the essences.

Essences Help Heal Physical Injuries

While they are known to help with emotional stress, the essences are often the key to resolving a lingering physical problem. For instance, if a horse is chronically fearful or angry he will physically tense his muscles and move with short choppy strides. This physical tension interferes with the horse’s coordination and leaves him vulnerable to injury. The ongoing tension also keeps undoing the benefits of massage, acupressure and other body therapies. In many cases, once the correct flower essence is administered the horse’s emotional reactivity settles down and the physical issues will resolve.

So whether you are a one-horse owner, professional equine body worker, veterinarian, trainer or farrier, I recommend you give the flowers essences discovered by Dr. Bach a try. The people and horses in your life will benefit greatly from this gentle gift from nature.


In addition to thanking Timothy and Dr. Bob Anderson for introducing me to the world of Dr. Bach and flower essences, I wish to thank another holistic veterinarian Dr. Stephen Blake of San Diego, California, for furthering my knowledge and confidence in the use of their use.

Finally, I wish to thank and give extensive credit for my abilities with the flowers to a fine human being and inspirational teacher, the late Jessica Bear, Ph.D. N.D., of Las Vegas, Nevada. Jessica’s books, courses, private teachings and personal encouragement gave me the tools and support to experiment with the essences with the horses in my care. The material presented here is primarily gleaned from the time I spent studying with Jessica, her books, and my personal experience using the essences during the past 33 years.


Approximately 75 years ago Dr. Edward Bach (pronounced “Batch”), an English physician and bacteriologist, developed a new system of improving health known as flower essences. Bach spent most of his career working as a doctor in a traditional hospital practice and as a scientist completing medical research. Over the years, he saw the limitations in treating only the physical aspects of a patient’s illness and came to believe that the root cause of physical disease was emotional imbalance. In 1930, he gave up his practice in the city and returned to the countryside to seek out substances within nature which would heal mental, emotional and spiritual unrest.

During his search, Dr. Bach not only discovered specific wild-growing plants, trees and bushes that addressed emotional states he developed brand new ways to prepare them. One of the methods, called the sun method, mimics the way drops of moisture (dew) on a plant interact with the sun. The method creates an energetic imprint of the plant in the water, no physical substance from the plant remains. The result is a liquid product with the ability to gently transform unwanted negative emotions such as fear, depression or lack of confidence into peace and well-being.

38 Single Essences and One Combination Formula Called Rescue Remedy

During this period of his life, Bach developed 38 single ingredient preparations and one combination formula. Thirty-seven of the single ingredient preparations are made from 1) the blossoms of one species of flowering plant or the buds or leaves of one species of tree 2) water and 3) alcohol (as a preservative). The 38th single ingredient preparation, Rock Water, is based on water from a spring with healing properties. Dr. Bach combined five of the 38 single essences into what he called the rescue remedy. The final stock essence of the products has been diluted several times. It no longer contains any physical plant material, just an energetic signature of the plant or water remains.

Why use Bach Flower Essences for Horses, Dogs and People?

The Bach Flower essences are inexpensive, liquid products known for their ability to balance the emotional states of both people and animals. I’ve used them since 1985 on myself and friends as well as dogs and horses in my horse training and rehabilitation practice. The essences have helped me soothe nervous, even hysterical horses at shows and clinics, build confidence in a performer and tone down a bully, reduce the grieving of an orphan foal and keep everyone calm during stressful situations. The essences can also help traumatized animals who have shut down emotionally or become hyper-alert due to previous abuse or injury. And while the Bach flower essences are not a substitute for veterinary medical care I’ve used them to bring animals out of shock following injury.

The Bach Flower Essences Are Not Tranquilizers

While they are very effective calming agents, the flower essences do not sedate an animal or person like a chemical tranquilizer. They seem to balance the animal’s emotional state and, in doing so, change behavior in a positive way.

For example, an emotionally balanced horse does not go into full hysteria when treated appropriately by a veterinarian. A horse that is already frightened or belligerent, however, is likely to become difficult to handle with the added stress of a medical treatment situation. This horse’s core emotional balance is out of sorts and so his behavioral response to the stress of the veterinarian’s visit will be over-reactive. If we dose him with flower essences to defuse his underlying tension and reactivity, the horse will be able to handle the additional stress of the visit from the veterinarian without losing control.

FDA Status

The sale and use of the Bach flower essences in the United States is governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their present status is OTC (over-the-counter). This means they can be purchased in stores without a prescription. They are in the “GRAS” category, which means “generally recognized as safe”. This is the same category as human food products. In this context, they are listed as Bach flower essences. In England, they are labeled as Bach flower remedies. The Bach flowers are also listed in the HPUS, the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. This is where all of the homeopathic remedies accepted by the USA are listed.

Who can use Flower Essences?   Can You Harm The Animal?

Anyone can use the flower essence formulas. There are lay and practitioner training offered by various educational organizations but no state licensing exists. Because of their benign nature and “microdose” preparation, the Bach Flower essences are completely safe. You cannot create harm by overdosing or picking the “wrong” flowers. The remedies are safe to use at the same time the animal is on prescription medication, herbs or nutritional supplements. Horse and dog owners as well as professional equine and canine body workers, veterinarians, horse trainers, dog trainers and farriers can all benefit from the calming influence the products provide.

How do the Essences Work?

It’s not scientifically known how flower essences work. Dr. Bach urged users not to worry about the mechanism with which the essences healed because they so clearly did bring about positive results. He focused on describing the flowers themselves and their ability to bring about emotional peace and harmony. He offered hundreds of case histories describing the medical and emotional states of patients he helped using the flower essences.

Nora Weeks in her book The Medical Discoveries of Edward Bach, Physician (1973) stated: “From 1930 until his death in 1936, Bach used the herbal remedies alone in the treatment of all cases of disease and sickness that came to him, and the results fully justified his conviction that the true healing agents are contained in the beneficent plants and trees of nature. “

Do the Bach Flower Essences have any Side Effects?

One of Dr. Bach’s goals in developing the flower essences was to find remedies which would assist in healing with no painful reactions. Dr. Bach wanted them to be so easy and safe to use that they be kept in every home’s medicine cabinet for family use. As a result the 38 flower essences he finally chose heal gently. There are no side effects reported in their use and no fear of ill effects from overdosing or from incorrect choices. The remedies can be safely used in conjunction with other types of treatments both pharmaceutical and herbal in nature.


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