September 2014 – Mid Month Update

September 2014 – Mid Month Update

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse


In This Issue:

Horse Temperament: The Number One Reason to Type your Horse


Horse Temperament: The Number One Reason to Type your Horse
horse temperament typesFive Element horse temperament typing is not always an easy thing to do. The Five main element types, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, are fairly uncomplicated but if your horse is a combination type he might not be so easy to type. When you have a combination type your best plan is to study the typing system or use the short typing test to determine your horse’s most dominant element. If you are still not sure then get a consult with one of our certified horse typologists to help you go through the long test.

You may ask, why should I go to all this trouble? The number one reason to type your horse is to develop a feeding program for him that will allow him to be as healthy as possible and reach his full potential.

Nutrition Needs Vary By Type
Have you ever wondered when you could look at a group of horses, all fed the same, why some are fat and healthy and others are struggling with dull coats, poor hooves, frequent infections or any number of other ailments? There is a reason that not all horses thrive on the same feeding program. You see, each temperament type has unique nutritional needs. This individual nutritional need goes way past whether a horse is an easy keeper or not. Different temperament types have different needs for protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and even pre or probiotics.

You may ask, why do the different types have different nutritional needs? To understand the answer you will need to expand your thinking outside of the conventional western belief system. The Five Element horse temperament typing system is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM the body is thought to have a physical and energetic system. The energetic part of the system is called the Qi. In TCM, for optimum health to occur the Qi must circulate evenly throughout the whole body. If the Qi is too much or too little in any area then health will be compromised. In Five Element TCM, each temperament type has different organs associated with it. It is the organs associated with each type that tend to be the weak link in the smooth flow of Qi.

Supporting Nutritional Needs by Type
Now that you have had a crash course on Traditional Chinese Medicine let me give you a just a few examples of how you can use nutrition to support the organs of each of the five elements.

Fire – The organs are the heart and small Intestine. The heart benefits from the bitter flavor found in blue green algae and alfalfa hay. The small intestine needs prebiotics (such as found in Ration Plus) to create the proper environment to digest protein and absorb minerals.

Earth – The organs are the spleen and stomach. The spleen benefits from foods with the sweet flavor such as beet pulp or a small quantity of oats. The stomach enjoys the help of digestive enzymes.

Metal – The organs are the lung and large intestine. The lung benefits from the pungent flavor found in garlic or ginger. The large intestine needs quality fat, such as chia seeds, to support its population of bifidus type fiber digesting bacteria.

Water – The organs are the kidney and bladder. These are not digestive organs but they contribute to the body’s ability to remove the left over waste from the digestive process. The kidney benefits from the salty flavor found in kelp and extra minerals found in blue green algae or alfalfa hay. The bladder will function best when probiotics including acidophilus are fed regularly.

Wood – The organs are the liver and gallbladder. Both of these organs contribute greatly to digestion. The liver is critical for proper carbohydrate metabolism and the gall bladder secretes the bile needed for fat digestion. The liver benefits from the sour flavor found in apple cider vinegar and the gall bladder responds well to the herb dandelion root.

Hopefully you can see how typing your horse can give you the opportunity to support his health in a very meaningful way. These few examples are for maintaining health but when you know your horse’s temperament type you can also use nutrition to treat ailments. The reason to type your horse is to help him be as healthy as possible. His individual feeding program is the best place to start.

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Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Madalyn Ward, DVM. Copyright (c) 2014 and Madalyn Ward, DVM. All rights reserved.

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