- Dr. Lillian Bonner, an integrative veterinarian in Christchurch, New Zealand, is doing incredible work to help horses heal emotionally, physically and energetically
- Nominated for a Game Changer Award by Karen, Bonner works with sport horses that are super elite athletes
- Bonner describes herself as a perfectionist, adding that initially she was practicing high-level sports medicine but the conventional treatments available just weren’t enough
- She added reiki to her practice and saw “amazing results”; she also uses acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and rehabilitation techniques
- Horses are highly intuitive, sensitive, emotional creatures, so adding energetics into their healing makes perfect sense — and Bonner can tell the horses are appreciative of her efforts to help them stay well
We call them "Game Changers" — the exemplary, hardworking individuals who have gone the extra mile to promote animal welfare all around the world. Every week, we feature a special Game Changer, so if you know someone in your community who deserves this award, nominate them and help us get the word out about the magnificent work they do! Click Here to Nominate a Game Changer Today!
Dr. Lillian Bonner, an integrative veterinarian in Christchurch, New Zealand, is doing incredible work to help horses heal emotionally, physically and energetically. Nominated for a Game Changer Award by Karen, Bonner works with sport horses that are super elite athletes, picking up where conventional medicine leaves off.
After managing a horse farm, training horses and rehabbing the animals, Bonner studied to become a veterinarian in the U.S. She then accepted a job in New Zealand, where her background with horses led her to focus her care on racehorses.
“Within the first couple of months,” she says, “I started realizing I needed to learn other techniques to address healthy animals that needed to perform at a high level.” This led her to reiki and other forms of energy healing.
Helping Racehorses Stay Well With Integrative Care
When Bonner incorporated reiki into her practice, she started seeing “amazing results … and then it just continued to grow.” She says:
“I really committed to doing just integrative therapy and I went to the CHI University and studied acupuncture, and I came back to New Zealand and practiced acupuncture for a few years, and then decided to incorporate more manual therapy into my practice.
So I studied in Australia for a couple of years and learned animal biomechanical medicine and learned some osteopathy and chiropractic and rehabilitation techniques, and it just all fit really well. So I've been doing that full-time in my practice … for the last 11 years.”
Bonner describes herself as a perfectionist, adding that initially she was practicing high-level sports medicine but the conventional treatments available just weren’t enough:
“I could see that it wasn't actually addressing everything, and they're just looking at me because I'd worked with horses for such a long time as a rider and a trainer in that capacity. I was just like, I just need to help them. It's just not enough. There needs to be more. So I just followed that thread basically. Just kind of started.”
‘The Horses Are Really Grateful’
Horses are highly intuitive, sensitive, emotional creatures, so adding energetics into their healing makes perfect sense. And Bonner can tell that the horses are appreciative of her efforts to help them stay well. “It's so rewarding,” she says, “and the horses are actually really grateful for it. If you can shift them and their nervous systems are really open to it, they're very kinesthetic.”
Bonner has noticed many of her colleagues and clients are also very open to the different healing modalities. What she loves most about helping sport horses with their health, however, is the relationships she makes in the process, with both the horses and their owners. Often, the relationships stretch over many years:
“I love the relationships. I really love the trust that clients put in my hands. They're really, really open with me after we established that trust. And I really love the relationships I have with my patients because I often see them for years — sometimes, sometimes not.
But a lot of them I do see for years. I mean, there's been horses that I worked on when they were racing, and then I'll actually run into them later when they've been retired to be a tracking horse or a sport horse.
And I'll run into them again, I'll recognize them. Or sometimes people will sell a horse, and this mainly happens with sport horses, and I follow them to their new home and I continue to work with them. So yeah, I really, really love the relationship.”
Bonner is also a big believer in balance and the notion that everything has a purpose. When working in veterinary medicine, she believes there’s a place for both conventional and alternative methods to coexist:
“What I've learned from life and this practice is … the truth lies in the middle. I'm all about balance and everything has a purpose. So even conventional medicine, at the most conventional you can get, will have a purpose, but you can often balance that with … alternative and that can bring you back into balance.
But the integrative, where you're balancing both, I think that's very powerful if you have the awareness of both sides of it and you can just embody that and bring it in. I think that's where the truth lies in everything. If you look at any aspect of life, really, the truth often is somewhere in the middle.”
We Have a Responsibility as Stewards of Animals
Bonner also wants to spread the word about the power of the human-animal bond and our role as their stewards:
“There's a huge thing with the human-animal bond … I think the responsibility that we have as stewards of these animals, whether you're training them, riding them, caring for them, you can get so much from that relationship. They get a lot, but they're on their own journey as well.
They have their own consciousness, and if you're open to it … they'll bring people in themselves and it opens you up and it opens them up. So it's just been really nice to be able to witness that.”
While Bonner started out primarily working with racehorses, she’s since opened up her practice to sports horses and others. She mostly works with clients in her local area, but if you’d like to learn more about the amazing work she’s doing with horses, you can find her on social media under Lillian Bonner, Balanced Beings Integrated Veterinary Medicine.
Today's Pet Video:
Tiny Kitten Tries His Best to Get Dog to Engage!
What else can a tiny kitten do to get his big canine companion to pay attention to him? He chews on the dog’s ears, scratches the dog’s nose and gets in his face to no avail!