News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Horse finds solace at refuge

When Sisters resident Mona Delfino, animal communicator and energy healer, found out there was a horse at 3 Sisters Equine Refuge in Bend who was recently rescued from near death, she seized the opportunity to help.

Like Robert Redford in the film “The Horse Whisperer,” Delfino was born with a remarkable gift to communicate with animals and help them heal.

Delfino said she became aware of her special abilities at the age of five when she knew what her dog Shadow was thinking and feeling, which saved him from being euthanized.

This awareness sent Delfino on a spiritual journey toward recognizing her intuitive abilities. Delfino practices a form of healing based in reading the energy of a person’s or animal’s body, or “Spiritual Immune System.” She has a background in nursing, and neurology.

The horse, now named Sammy, was picked up a few weeks ago in an open rocky area in Lane County by Cyndi Davis, board chair and one of the founders of 3 Sisters Equine Refuge.

The refuge offers a temporary haven to horses at-risk of slaughter, abuse, and neglect. Davis, her husband, and volunteers rehabilitate, retrain and re-home the horses.

“We received a text on Sunday evening June 28 from one of our volunteers with photos of a horse that someone found while out hiking,” Davis said. “We knew then that this was an emergency situation.

“The following day Kira (the woman who found him) drove as we followed with a horse trailer. We had to hike up a steep area where she had seen the horse the day before. He was nowhere to be seen. Then, Michele, our board vice president, spotted a tiny brown dot to the north. Kira and Michele headed towards the brown dot.

“As they moved towards the horse in the distance, the horse moved toward them. The horse amazingly followed them, no halter, nothing. He seemed to know to do that.”

Davis said, “I’ve welcomed two other starvation cases into the rescue, but neither were as emaciated as Sammy. He literally had days left but was remarkably strong!

“Your instincts are to throw food at a horse that looks like Sammy, but that is the worst thing you can do. It can cause ‘refeeding syndrome,’ and kill the horse in that condition. You start slow and give him small amounts of food (alfalfa hay) every few hours around the clock to re-start their gut.”

Davis also found out through the veterinarian that Sammy is 70 percent blind and has no teeth, indicating he is likely a senior, and he has a heart murmur, possibly from the starvation.

Davis said, “We are always curious about what our rescued animals are thinking and or needing to say. It helps us as we treat them. Mona has been out before, so when we heard she was on her way, we were all in!”

Delfino knew Davis for a year before Sammy came to the refuge.

Delfino said, “I met Cyndi and her husband through my friend Lori Drew, who volunteers at the 3 Sisters Equine Refuge. We became good friends and they knew I am a healer. Whenever they have issues with a horse, they call and ask me to do some healing work. I read the energy of the horse and I get the information of the emotion that’s occurring within the horse.”

Delfino told The Nugget that animals have always gravitated toward her.

“My family owned a buckskin when I was in grade school and I’ve had a love for horses and riding since then,” she said.

When Delfino went out to their refuge to meet him, Davis and her husband were out for a while.

“It was just me and Sammy, the perfect time to work with him,” Delfino said.

“They had only had him a week when I got there.

The work that I did was to read the energy of his muscle memory.

This horse did not want to remember what happened to him in his past.

He put up a resistance.

And that’s how he stayed alive in the desert. I ran the energy through his pressure points to see what else was going on with him.

As I was working on him, his stomach was very hard.

I kept coming back to that area, that’s where he needed some help.

This horse could not decipher if he was in pain or hungry.

He didn’t know the difference.

So, the third time I went down by his stomach within 45 minutes it was finally soft. He told me he missed carrots.

He can’t chew with his teeth because his teeth went bad because of starving, so I asked Cyndi to steam the carrots for him.

“I found that Sammy is very special with a wise soul. Horses are intuitive about things, and he knew Cyndi was coming to rescue him. He was left in the desert all alone, but it was his spirit that kept him alive — he had hope.”

Davis explained that Mona’s ability to communicate with the horse helped the refuge to know what he needed.

Davis added, “Carrots being one of those important things. Of course, in small amounts and we did steam and shred them for him. She also helped him release any anger he had from being left to die a slow painful death.”

She said, “Sammy is one of the most trusting, loving creatures I have ever met and honestly it’s shocking that he’s still here.”

Delfino offers individual healing sessions that are done over Skype, phone, and sometimes in person. She also holds spiritual retreats. For more information visit


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