The Earth horse temperament does not enjoy strenuous work but when healthy he is not lazy. Some of the most successful performance horses I have known have been the Earth horse temperament. Not to mention the consistent lesson horses that work for hours each day without complaint.
The Earth horse temperament can appear lazy because when it comes to generating life energy the he has 3 strikes against him.
This type horse is more yin than yang which means his metabolism runs slower and cooler. Anyone who has driven a car understands that the engine runs better once it has warmed up. Same with the Earth horse but sometimes his metabolism never quite makes it to best operating temperature.
The organs associated with the Earth horse temperament are the Spleen and Stomach. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), both of these organs are critical for digestion and assimilation or nutrients and they are the organs most likely to have weakness in the Earth horse. When the Spleen and Stomach are not functioning well the Earth horse will be able to process easily digested sugars and starch but struggle with more difficult proteins and complex carbohydrates. This is why we often see the Earth horse gain weight but still act like he is starving. His body is absorbing calories but not the protein and micronutrients so his body is still craving more nutrition.
It can be a challenge to get the Earth horse fit and this also can make him appear lazy. According to TCM, the tissue associated with Earth is muscle. Muscle will become strong with proper nutrition and exercise. We already see that protein assimilation can be a problem for the Earth horse temperament but we also have to look at his natural disposition. The Earth horse is not lazy but he is not ambitious either. When other horse temperaments might be running and frolicking in the field the Earth horse will more likely be standing around watching. To build fitness in the Earth horse you will need to ride and train him to strengthen his muscles.
To sum it up:
Three reasons the Earth horse can appear lazy:
Lack of muscle fitness
How to increase the energy of the Earth horse:
Include some warming foods in the diet to support metabolism and aid digestion. The total food fed daily must be at least 1% of his body weight and should include mostly grass hay supplemented with nutrient dense, warming or neutral energy foods such as carrots or chia seeds. Beet pulp can be a good substitute for grain.
Supplemental food based enzymes will help with digestion. My favorites for the Earth horse are Preprobiotics and these digestive enzymes.
Ride and work your Earth horse on a regular schedule. Long trail rides that include some trotting will do wonders for his fitness and muscle tone.
For more information on feeding according to Five Element horse temperament check out the Horse Harmony Feeding Guide. To gain a deeper understanding of Five Element horse temperament typing enroll in our online level 1 certification course. Madalyn
Five-Element Temperament Type Resources
Want to know more about the Five-Element temperament typing system? Want to type you or your horse at no cost? Check out these resources below:
We also have some Five Element Audios of actual case histories and discussion of each horse temperament type. Real life cases are a great way to gain understanding of Five Element typing.