The Metal horse temperament is generally strong and tough but their achilles heel is – their heels. The Metal horse has a tendency to contracted, sore heels. Confirmation can play a part as many Metal horses have short, upright pasterns and boxy hooves. This naturally upright hoof can become contracted when shoes are applied early in the horse’s life.
Strong bones and tight tendons help the Metal horse temperament hold up to very hard work. The tight connective tissues of the Metal horse interfere with suppleness so when his heels hit the ground the concussion is not absorbed by the joints up the leg. It is common for hard working Metal horses to develop bruised heels and corns under the shoe.
Circulation to the front legs can be a challenge for the Metal horse and this is related to his diaphragm and sternum. The Lung and Large Intestine are the organs associated with Metal and both of these organs lay right next to the diaphragm. Any inflammation of the lungs or large intestine can cause a blockage in normal movement of the diaphragm and in turn pulls on the sternum where the diaphragm attaches. Even a slight twist in the sternum will cause major should stiffness and interfere with the blood and nerve supply to the front leg.
Reasons for front heel pain in the Metal horse:
Naturally upright, boxy hooves
Shoes applied at a young age
Tight connective tissues which don’t absorb concussion
Circulation problems secondary to a twisted sternum
Prevention of sore heels involves a careful evaluation of shoeing and trimming methods. If possible keep the Metal horse barefoot so his heels can have normal motion and function. If the Metal horse must be shod, pay special attention to his heels and use fill in pad material to provide stimulation to the frog. Focus on exercises that improve the suppleness of the Metal horse so his joints can absorb concussion better. The diet of the Metal horse should include adequate fat the nourish the skin and internal hoof tissues. Regular osteopathic evaluations will help assure there are no twists in the sternum that could affect blood and nerve supply to the shoulders and front legs.
Prevention of heel pain in the Metal horse:
Careful trimming and shoeing only when absolutely necessary
Focus on suppleness when training
Adequate fat in the diet
Regular osteopathic evaluations of the sternum
Once heel pain has developed in the Metal horse it can be very hard to treat. The Metal horse has a high pain threshold so by the time he limps there is significant pathology already developed. In addition to all the preventive measures you can add herbs to help with pain. Ani-Motion is one of the best for the Metal horse temperament. Acupuncture can the used to increase circulation and provide local pain relief. Advanced cases may only respond to drugs such and bute. Prevention is sure a better plan. Madalyn
For additional help in understanding the individual needs of each Five Element horse temperament check out Horse Harmony and our online course from Tallgrass.