Life can give horses lemons too…A horsey tale by Pet Whisperer Davina O’Brien

My name is Davina O’Brien-Herbert and I am a Pet Whisperer.  My clientele are usually dogs, cats and horses.  Naturally they bring their human companions along for any workshops or lessons.  Being able to communicate with animals helps me to have insight into what is going on in their lives.

We have a horse at home called Monsieur Megalodon (a.k.a. Msr).  He came into my life a few years ago when I met my Husband.  Msr had been in a few different homes before becoming a member of our family.  The prior experiences Msr had had with humans were definitely of the lemony variety.  How do I know this?  Well, his brain was frazzled when I first met him and he was always on guard and lived with adrenaline constantly pumping through his body.  At the end of the day he felt that he only had himself on whom he could depend and trust. There was no way he could stand beside you calmly and eat grass.  Msr was too stressed and nervous to allow him this enjoyment.  With the other horses, we were able to stand near them whilst they snacked on grass – a great bonding time for anyone with horses and invaluable for your relationship.  However this was not possible for Msr, as far as he was concerned, humans were strange and untrustworthy creatures.

Head Teacher, Monsieur Megalodon a.k.a. Msr in Davina's paddock

Head Teacher, Monsieur Megalodon a.k.a. Msr in Davina’s paddock

Msr had two stable accidents fairly close together.  In the latter he damaged his face very close to his eye.  I was the one who found him in the morning.  This completely changed our relationship.  I began to make more time for him and to look at his talents and abilities with an ‘open’ eye.  Both my husband and I began to speak to him about his potential.  We could see him as a Teacher / Healer though to step into this he would have to make a lot of changes in his life, such as starting to trust humans.  Msr took our words to heart and thought about what we said.  It was not long after our discussions that you could see him start to make the necessary changes which would enable him to teach humans.

Msr is now the Head Teacher we use in our Horse handling, Horse communication and Horse riding lessons.  Horses are very sensitive beings and Msr is especially sensitive.  This means that he is not necessarily the best fit for every student that we have. He needs a human that is sensitive and can feel what is going on for him as well as ‘hold’ his hand – metaphorically speaking – if and when necessary.   Every time I interact with him he teaches me more about horses and about life in general.  Amazingly you can learn a lot of life skills from the horses.  Msr excels in teaching life skills and is patient and empathic due to the ‘dark’ spots that he has had in his own life.

Now these changes for Msr did not happen overnight.  Everything happened over a period of time.  We did everything at a pace and time that worked for Msr, anything else would have been counterproductive, and would most likely have reversed his progress.  To see him these days happily grazing with a student at the end of a lesson is inspiring.  At one time he could not have done this even with people that he knew well.  He is constantly changing and developing.

Instead of being a hindrance, his lemony start has been his motivator.  It is not only humans that get handed lemons in life.  Our animal friends often encounter lemony issues as well.   With help and support, lemonade can be made from the lemons. Though of course Msr would prefer the lemons turn into carrots.  Yummy!


Davina O’Brien Herbert is a Pet Whisperer who helps people have a better relationship with their pets – the majority being dogs, cats and horses. Davina also conducts private sessions with pet and human, teaches horse riding, horse handling, and Ladies Confidence Building Workshops. For more information contact Davina on 0438 598 995 or email