January 2014 – Mid Month Update

January 2014 – Mid Month Update

Holistic Horsekeeping
How To Have a Happy Healthy Horse


In This Issue:

Horse Temperament: Back Soreness in the Water Horse


Horse Temperament: Back Soreness in the Water Horse
Does your horse seem really tight in his back. especially when the weather is cold? If so, you could have a Water horse. Back soreness in the Water horse temperament happens more in cold weather because, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Water element is most affected by the pathogenic influence of Cold. The Kidney and Bladder are the organs associated with the Water element. The tissue most related to the Water element is bone. When cold weather sets in, your Water horse may feel extra tight over his kidney area and stiff in the bones of his spine and joints.

Warming Up To Relieve Back Soreness
There are a few things you can do to help your Water horse temperament stay warm and loose during cold weather. Take the chill off his food and water if possible. Drinking out of the icy trough does little to warm the inside of the horse. Offering warm water several times a day may encourage your Water horse to drink more and support his digestion. Warm soaked pellets or bran mashes can be offered on cold mornings. A touch of ginger or fennel spice and a tablespoon of molasses can be added for a nice warming meal. Sunflower seeds are another warming treat to offer on cold days.

Nutritional Support for Back Soreness
General support to avoid stiff joints in a Water horse should include providing foods rich in minerals. Alfalfa hay is good as are fresh and salt water algae. If your Water horse is really stiff you can think about supporting his joints with a joint supplement such as AniMotion. You can also rub the joints with a good liniment such as Formula 11. Cooling liniments such as Sore No More may not work as well during cold weather. Acupressure points that increase the warming, Yang energy, support the Kidneys or strengthen the back include GV 4, BL 23, KI 3, and CV 4.

Providing Shelter
Providing shelter from the cold is especially important for the Water horse temperament. While most horses don’t need blankets if they have shelter from the wind and rain, the Water horse may benefit from a blanket to keep his back warm. When riding a Water horse on very cold days a quarter sheet can be used to keep the hindquarters warm.

These suggestions for back soreness in the Water horse temperament can also apply to any older horse that is suffering from similar symptoms. The Water element can show weakness in any horse temperament towards the end of his life because, according to TCM, the Kidney is the root of the pre heaven Qi or life force that comes to the body at birth. Support of the Kidneys preserves the pre heaven Qi that is available for long life. As the pre heaven Qi is depleted towards the end of life, more signs of Kidney weakness will manifest.

Support for the Kidneys and Water element:

  • Offer warm water and food when possible
  • Add warming foods and spices such as ginger, fennel, molasses and sunflower seeds
  • Give joint support supplements and apply warming liniments
  • Support the Kidneys with warming acupressure points GV4, BL 23, KI 3, and CV 4.
  • Provide shelter and blanket for lower back warming

With a little help your Water horse temperament can enjoy the cold weather without back soreness or stiff joints. Remember to look for back soreness in any older horse when the weather is cold.

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