Horses inspire love and admiration. You don’t have to own a horse to be attracted to their beauty; but if you have ever felt the wind at your back, the sheer power beneath you as you gallop across an open field, you truly know what it feels like to fly. I love horses and because of this love I have spent a lot of time trying to understand them.
Over the years I have coined the phrase “Horseology” it is my way of weaving horse psychology and physiology and how it connects to the health, well-being and success of our horse endeavors.
We share one very powerful aspect of our nature with that of horses; energy. We are all made up of it and it has a lot to do with our physical and mental performance and health. Energy is the cornerstone of the big picture, so today I want to talk about energetics. We will explore how it can be used for health and training and the modalities that compliment it.
We are living in a world that is filled with stress and our horses feel that stress. Domestication has made our horses dependent on us and because of it they have a lot of the same health issues as we do. Energy medicine can help our horse’s health in a profound way. I use a meridian based massage technique on our ranch horses where they participate in the process for pain and tension release. Acupuncture and Acupressure are also powerful modalities.
All three processes have consistently shown the ability to: release endorphins to reduce pain, relieve muscle spasms, resolve injuries by removing toxins and increasing blood supply, enhance mental clarity for better focus in training and performance, release cortisone for swelling reduction and help build the body’s immune system. Working with your veterinarian, western medicine can work hand in hand with Traditional Chinese Medicine to create a powerful healing effect in your horse.
Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) treats the mind-body- spirit and they view the body, both human and equine, as an integrated, interdependent system where all aspects of life are interwoven into one whole. Health is achieved when there is a balance and harmony between internal and external elements. TCM is a preventative medicine to maintain health and healing that is approached from many levels. Highly sophisticated modalities are available to draw from. Some of the most powerful are: dietary therapy, exercise, herbal remedies, massage, physical manipulation, acupuncture and acupressure. Integrating these practices into your regular training program creates a powerful system that can achieve superior results.
There are six key concepts in TCM to understand. Chi Energy is our life force; it is the basis of everything. Yin/Yang are opposites with complimentary qualities that are interdependent for balance. The Meridian System is a network that carries Chi throughout the body. Acupoints are pools of energy located along meridians that are used to balance energy. Five-Element Theory is a complex framework that describes the five phases of transformation, it is a powerful checks and balances system. Energy balancing allows for manipulation of energy to restore balance within the system for healing to occur.
Prevention is the best tool you have to keep your horses healthy and strong and TCM provides the framework to get you there.
In future articles, I will break down each modality individually and explain in more detail how they work to maintain health, strength and performance in your equine partner.