In my time as a trainer and proponent of the whole approach, the importance of whole foods and herbs self selection has become an integral part of my horses overall well-being and balance.
On Sunday, I hosted our first herbs and whole foods clinic at the farm which we also streamed live to the web. I gathered wild and cultivated plants grown bio-dynamically on the property and well as a dried selection which I had on hand. I also had various whole foods on hand. I had two equine helpers on hand to show the unique needs each horse displays by what they select and the story it tells about their overall health picture.
Mercury, my personal horse participated as did Jordan, a Warmblood I just took in to rehab and add to our Equine Faculty. Mercury has been getting Self Selection for several years now and Jordan had not had the option to do it until being at our farm. Self Selection allows our horse to tell us what they need and what is going on with their health picture.
Jordan is a 19 year old Oldenburg who had been trained using hyper-flexion (or rollkur) in his past and though he was quite highly trained to Prix St George, his body and feet showed a lot of discomfort. Jordan Selected several items from the fresh live group as well as several dried items. I believe that whenever possible offering the fresh live plants is optimal as they possess the living energy and full power of the plant at that moment. What his selections told me was that he was trying to rebuild tissue, and regenerate his body. I was relieved that he did not select any strong herbal anti-inflammatories or pain relievers which told me he was not in tremendous pain. In the days that followed I have brought him more of the items he selected and he keeps taking the same herbs in the last few days.
One of the things I love about Self Selection is that as I form a relationship with a horse using my exercises, Self Selection allows me to provide a horse with something that I believe deepens the bond further. When you provide items to a horse that are genuinely healing and balancing, the horses see you in a different light. Since our session, Jordan comes straight to me asking for the things he needs to replenish. Previously, He was friendly but I could tell his opinion of people was rightly so, dubious. What is cool about this Earth element horse is that, he seems quite self possessed and very much sure of who he is.
Mercury, my comparison horse is much more interested in live fresh plants that grown on the farm. He is fond of Burdock (Fire Horse) small amounts of this and that which drives home the point that horses generally don’t over eat medicinal herbs or whole foods. Mercury only took small amounts of dried herbs and really only a few items. So there you see the comparison of a horse that is more in balance. I would like people to reevaluate supplementation as a daily food additive and give the power to their horses to tell them what they need. I have found it takes the guess work out supplementing. I also prefer to give my horses single items not mixed in food so I know they are really taking them out of choice and not because they are hidden in something else that tastes good. In the Short video clip, You will see the fresh plants I harvested from the farm and how the two horses felt about them. The full replay is available to members of the FDH Virtual Clinic at this link http://fdhorsemanship.com/category/fdhvc-videos/live-clinics/
Next weekend, I have my exclusive Online Liberty Fun!damentals Demo sponsored by Holistic Horse Magazine at 11:30am-1:00pm ET on Sunday, September 11th. Register for this event here Register