Transitioning from conventional horse care to holistic horse care

Moving from conventional horse care to holistic horse care is a process. It requires, first a shift in belief systems from medicine healing the horse to the horse healing himself. If a horse has been given drugs all of his life then his body is less able to mount a healing response on its own.

I have had the opportunity to work with many owners who have moved horses to holistic care. Many of these horses have come off the racetrack and others have been mustangs. The mustangs were given multiple vaccinations and dewormers when captured and this weakened many of them. A horse that is used to holistic care will often have more problems with side effects from drugs because their detoxification systems are not as active.

It can take a year to 18 months for a horse to respond well to holistic care. Low force body work and energetic treatments such as homeopathy and acupressure may not work well if a horse’s system is still expecting more physical support. As a horse gets healthier and healthier he will start to respond better to energetic treatments.

A horse with colic is a perfect example. If the horse is used to getting banamine for every mind digestive upset he will not respond as well to homeopathic horse colic remedies like nux vomica or chamomile. If a horse is on a holistic program where drugs are used only as a last resort he will often recover from a mild colic with homeopathic remedies and oral probiotics such as Fastrack.

Horse injuries are another example. A horse on a holistic program may not need antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs for mild injuries. A dose of homeopathic arnica and washing the wound with Wound Wash for Animals may be all that is needed. The immune system of a horse on a holistic program is usually stronger and better able to heal injuries without infections occurring.

This is not to say that a horse on a holistic program will never get sick. A holistic program may not always prevent infections but the response from the horse’s immune system is usually very fast and effective. If drugs are needed they tend to work much faster if the horse is not used to getting them for every little minor ailment.

So if you are transitioning a horse to a holistic program don’t expect him to go drug free cold turkey. First make sure his diet is good and he has some foundational whole food supplement such as packets of bluegreen algae, probiotics and enzymes or powdered alage/probiotic blend so you know his digestion and immune system are supported. Try using homeopathic or herbal remedies before resorting to drugs and over time you will find your horse is healthier and totally on a holistic management plan that includes drugs only in the serious cases. Madalyn

2 thoughts on “Transitioning from conventional horse care to holistic horse care

  1. Stephanie Krahl

    Hi Madalyn,

    Well written article. The ultimate solution is that there would be no transition period necessary because they were on a holistic program from the beginning. Prevention is the key.

    But in reality the opposite is the “norm”.

    As individuals like yourself continue to raise awareness, we will get closer to the “norm” being a preventative approach vs. covering up symptoms using drugs.

    There is a time and place for certain drugs but the care-giver must understand that drugs have their disadvantages. The question is whether or not the good the drug does will outweigh its side effects.

    True healing does not occur from using drugs.

    I love the point you made about the mustangs.

    Thanks for such a great article.

    Take care,

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