Casey Croucher/Recorder staff Gino Antonio performs the ceremonial healing on Celsy the horse.
By CASEY CROUCHER
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF FLORIDA -- During Saturday's horse blessing ceremony at Easy Street Horse Rescue, traditional practitioner Gino Antonio told a small crowd he was going to make medicine out of greens from the environment and hot coals.
"It could be medicine or it could just be smoke," Antonio said. "It all depends on how you look at it."
Antonio and partner Harrison Jim Sr. shared their culture Saturday by performing a traditional Navajo blessing ceremony on four of Easy Street's rescued horses: King, Chief, Celsy and Blacky.
During the ceremony, those in attendance were asked to gather greens from the environment and put them in a large pile.
Antonio said this would bring everyone at the event closer to nature.
Then Jim told the crowd the Navajo story of the horse's creation.
After everyone learned about the Navajo culture, Antonio mixed the gathered greens with hot, burning coals in a tin bucket creating smoke, or medicine, as Antonio called it. Then Jim chanted Navajo songs while Antonio brought the medicine to each of the horses so they could be healed.
Antonio said the ceremony was supposed to release unhealthy and negative energy from each of the horses, leaving them with a peaceful feeling.
Paul Bellinger, co-founder of Easy Street, said each horse in the ceremony was chosen for a specific reason.
Blacky was rescued and brought to the farm in 2007 for being malnourished and unhealthy. Bellinger and his wife, Nina Bellinger, rehabilitated the horse to a healthy state. He was adopted by an Adirondack horse trail riding company not long after, however, and ended up bucking riders twice. The company returned Blacky to Easy Street.
"We think there's something wrong with Blacky's spine," Bellinger said, "and we're hoping today's ceremony will help."
Another horse, Chief, was brought to Easy Street after his owner discovered the horse had a small fracture in one of his legs. A veterinarian told the owner the horse would have to rest for three months for the injury to heal, but the owner didn't want to wait, so Easy Street took Chief off the owner's hands.
"Chief is a great horse. He's trained and comes from a racing family," Bellinger said.
During the ceremony the four horses swished their long tails, snorted at the grass and stood still, not resisting Jim or Antonio.
The duo are currently touring the East Coast, performing their special ceremonies for the first time. Easy Street was their first stop.
Jim said in his culture the horse is a "sacred being" that represents nature and energy. He wanted people at Saturday's event to see the horse as more than just an animal.
"People come together today and see that the horse is more than what they think," he said. "Horses are misused so much in society; they're used for profit and work, but rarely do people see the spiritual side of the horse."