I wanted to share some of my experience with Chinese Medicine and horses. I’ve learned some interesting things about identifying our horses Element type or types (they can be combined).
Five people lead their horses out to the pasture in the early morning sun. The first horse to the gate pulls on the line, impatient to have his morning buck after being cooped up in the stall all night. The second pushes her bulky body through the gate and promptly begins to graze, ignoring the third who nips at her playfully, eager to frolic. The fourth quietly waits his turn as if absorbed in his own thoughts. The last horse moves slowly due to her 25 years but is aware of the herd’s every movement and leads it with quiet authority. Which horse sounds like yours?
Each horse embodies common physical and behavioral characteristics of the Five Elements of Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM). By understanding how Five Element patterns relate to your horse, you can learn how to keep your horse healthy and happy on a deep, lasting level.
Ancient elements, modern horses
Thousands of years ago, CCM practitioners recognized that the body’s energy regularly cycles through five distinct natural phases, often called the Five Elements. They saw how each influenced the body’s organ functions, emotional stability and core body health. When a patient’s Five Elements were healthy and balanced, he glowed with vitality; when they were weak or unbalanced, he developed behavioral issues and physical ailments. These early practitioners developed an entire system of assessment and treatment based on the Five Elements.
This model has been practiced and refined over centuries and is highly effective for today’s animals, including horses. By applying the basics of Five Element theory, you can ease common acute health conditions like lameness or colic. You can also improve long standing issues, from chronic coughing and skin problems to dangerous aggression and debilitating fearfulness. The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
The Wood horse is dominant and a herd leader. He is confident, dynamic, and athletic. He needs clear boundaries as he will constantly test who is the boss. He is a fast learner, and needs to keep stimulated. He benefits from lots of turn out. He can be easily offended and may turn grumpy or impatient. The Wood horse works best for a strong and fair trainer.
The Fire horse is sociable, charismatic and radiant. He loves to be the center of attention and is often an excellent show horse. His prime motivator is connection through relationships; he is prone to suffer from separation anxiety when isolated and needs to be with others. He can be emotionally reactive and very excitable. The Fire horse requires grounding, and can be fun to train; he learns quickly, but often loses focus. The Fire horse works best for a knowledgeable trainer with a watchful eye and plenty of resources. Not surprising to me and anyone who knows him, Mercury is a Fire horse.
The Earth horse is dependable and generous. He is steady as a rock and motivated by comfort. He is food motivated and usually an easy keeper. The Earth horse may seem a bit lazy but is a good worker once he gets going. The Earth horse works best for a patient trainer who provides a consistent and regular routine. He is not a quick learner, but once he learns a lesson he keeps it forever. However, he can be a bit stubborn if he feels forced into performing.
The Metal horse shares many characteristics with the Earth horse; they are both even tempered, sensible, reliable and calm. The Metal horse is more disciplined and requires a job to feel useful. He thrives on hard work and mental challenge and lives within his boundaries. Like the Earth horse, once taught a task, he is quite happy to perform it that same way over and over. While calm, quiet, and orderly on the outside, the Metal horse is actually highly sensitive and will internalize stress if not careful. The Metal horse works best for an organized and disciplined trainer.
And, then we come to the Water horse, the equine chameleon. With the Water horse, expect the unexpected, because he is always changing. He often takes on the characteristics of one of the other elements and will masquerade as a Wood, Earth, Metal, or Fire.
The Water horse is physically and emotionally sensitive. The Water horse often suffers from unique physical problems that are difficult to isolate and diagnose. He is unusual and quirky, regularly confounding vets, riders, and trainers.
Our own vet Dr. John Perdrizet of the Animal sanctuary helps us with our animals and figuring out which Element they embody. I am going to be sharing some of my experiences with the horses of Ohana and their Element types and how it helped me understand them and their health needs better in some upcoming blogs. Though I will always treat all beings as individuals, I found that working with the 5 Elements has highly been beneficial to my program. Can you identify what your horse(s) is? Share in the comments area what you think your horse might be.
For those of you who missed the Live streaming demo on Body Language last weekend, You can watch the replay at this link if you are a member Watch video