Holistic horse health

What is holistic horse health?

Holistic horse health on the external scale of things means the whole picture of your horse's health made up of every single external influence in his life.

In terms of physical health, there is his diet, the exercise he takes or doesn't and the type of environment he lives in.

The psychological health of your horse will be influenced by his society i.e the people and horses around him, even any other animals and his environment (whether it is quiet or busy etc.). It is important to know your horse's life as intimately as you possibly can, because every part matters. One relationship which isn't working with one person, even on an irregular basis, can upset the whole balance, just as a dietary lack can seriously restrict development. If you can create a positive cycle however, where one area supports the next, then problems will be easier to find and easier to fix.

Holistic horse health on the internal scale concerns the nature of the horse himself. This is just as important to understand, although a little bit harder to rationalize. To really know your horse you will have to go with your intuition more, to be able to both communicate with him and see the picture he presents.

Coming from the more alternatively-minded school of people(!) we are convinced that horses do reincarnate. We believe this because it is the only explanation for the experiences we have had with our animals. All of the more esoteric and unconventional things we believe in fact are based on personal experience, and we think it has to be that way. To believe something for no reason makes no sense. On the other hand refusing to believe because you are afraid or in denial is not proof that things do not exist.

For us it is important to know that a horse is not necessarily coming into this life as a 'new soul' because we then appreciate that there may already be unresolved issues and trauma's which will influence the training process. In a way the training process we go through with the horses can be seen more as a healing process which resolves bit by bit, layer by layer, the fundamental issues of that horse's life.

It is fascinating to view it in this way, and it is one of the reasons why we don't make compromises with a horse's training. For example pushing to get a horse cantering for a test you want to compete in before they are balanced and ready. For us the joy of training a horse is all about their individual journey. To find their personal perfection in movement and also in the clarity of their perception. Just like us, horses are happy when they are present in each moment, and like us they dissociate from the present when they are unhappy. It is our passion to help them to come back into the now, and this manifests itself physically in a horse which moves with more and more suppleness and balance. The straightness comes through and the energy flows freely. It looks beautiful, and nothing else - no matter how talented and athletic the horse is - can replace it.

The Fundamental Choice

The most important idea I want to talk about about in this section is the nature of 'Health'. Good health should be normal, good health is our natural state. Why? Because we are part of a network of intelligence. This network connects all life and every living being has the blueprint of perfect health within them. Of course there are many ways in which we lose touch with this intelligence in ourselves. As a society we have a tendency to choose to give up the responsibility of our own health to others, most often our doctor. Unfortunately as modern doctors tend to represent the very large, powerful and greedy pharmaceutical industry, it is not always a good idea to give them over the reins.

Even more unfortunate is the power exercised by this same industry over the owners of both small animals and horses. Why is it, do you think, that they recommend that horses, dogs and even cats should be vaccinated against tetanus every single year, and yet people only have the vaccination themselves every ten years, if that? This subject is not new and most people are aware in some way of the situation, but they don't often feel they have any other option than to follow along and give their animals more and more frequently wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and other synthetic products which at best apparently fix symptoms and at worst cause damage, the extent of which can only be guessed at.

Our belief in holistic horse health means that we trust that horses can heal themselves. We believe that the different systems at work in their body, such as the immune system and the lymphatic system, all work together in an incredibly sophisticated and intelligent synchronicity, if they are supported to a reasonable degree. Support meaning a good diet, a clean environment, correct training and therapeutic attention which addresses the sources of any health problems.

An example of our holistic horse health choice in action is that we don't give our horses wormers. In our experience, a healthy digestive system and a healthy functioning immune system (i.e. undamaged by perpetual vaccinations) gives the horse easily enough resistance against parasitic attack. A healthy gut lining is strong and resistant. Synthetic wormers are not only toxic for the liver, but also a lot of damage is caused to the gut lining when the worms detach as a result. This makes the gut lining susceptible to further worm infestation. This sets up a vicious circle, with the horses system getting more and more out of balance.

We find that it takes from one to three years, depending on the health of the horse to begin with and how much drug damage there has been, for a horse to regain a healthy balance and for worms to cease to be an issue. During this time of course we don't use synthetic wormers, but may provide herbal or essential oil treatment as a support as well as the necessary diet. Often the diet has to be augmented over this period to help the horse regain full vitality.

Taking this kind of attitude to your horses health is a big responsibility and is not the same at all as a denial of the issues involved or neglect. It should be seen as an opportunity to learn and become more aware of the processes taking place.

related pages within Happy Horse Training that may interest you:
Natural horse hoof care
The importance of the horse herd
Horse health

return from holistic horse health to Happy Horse Training homepage

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

New from HHT!

audioride logo

AudioRide is a series of exercises designed to listen to while you ride.

Audio descriptions guide you through each step of developing a balanced, dynamic connection with the horse through your position.

This truly innovative learning tool gives you a whole new way of being guided in your riding, in a calm, clear, step-by-step way.

Free Download! Introductory Exercise: Riding in the Now

Click here for full details

The Gymnastic Rider eBook

How to ride a horse in balance: The Gymnastic Rider eBook

Now available exclusively from HHT! A unique, comprehensive guide to practical rider biomechanics. This professionally produced eBook takes the rider through the process of developing their body in the specific way that brings the horse's movement into harmony and balance - without force and constraint. Click here for full details, and to download the 15-page introduction for free.

Join the Happy Horse Training group on Facebook!

See and share topical info, news and photo's, and take part in lively discussions.

Click here to go to the HHT group and then click on the 'join group' button.

Join the Whole Horse Newsletter

HHT's free monthly newsletter giving you wide-ranging and intelligent insights into holistic horsemanship.
Just enter your details below to join.

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you the whole horse newsletter.

Free bonus on the riding position with all new subscriptions: Ten Top Tips To Instantly Improve Your Connection With Your Horse.

Click here to see back issues of The Whole Horse newsletter

Train Your Horse
The Holistic Way

How To Train A Horse Without Force

How To Train A Horse Without Force is a unique guide to training horses through energetic connection and gymnastic training. Part 1 covers everything on the ground, from handling to the lungeing technique that develops strength, straightness and engagement. Comes with a free eBook supplement on Horse Trauma.
Click here for more details.

What people say about the eBook:

"OMG! I'm BLOWN AWAY by this text [...] It's one of the best horse training texts I've ever read." - Wendy Kendall

"I realized that I haven't yet written you about the impact that your training e-book has had on me, and I want to let you know how inspiring and helpful I found it. As a student of Zen Buddhism for nearly three decades, I've often wondered when someone was going to write the book on Zen and the art of horsemanship, and I think that your emphasis on mindfulness and energy connection gets right at the heart of the matter. It has certainly deepened the way that I relate to and communicate with my horses. I am reasonably sensitive to horses' body language and mood, but new to me was the idea of feeling their energy in a more subtle way - including their connection with me even when I am not directly working with the them. I have made myself more aware of this communication, and it's pretty amazing. I have started grooming differently, too, treating a grooming session as a time to mindfully listen to my horse instead of a way to dust out an old rug (OK, I wasn't quite that bad, but you get the idea). Additionally, I have made myself more open to how I actually feel about the horses themselves - very enlightening. Overall, I think that you are saying something that no one else is saying but that everyone ought to hear." - Tess Lloyd

Do You Have
A Horse Story
To Share On HHT?

So many people have been through wonderful experiences with horses, whether in training or otherwise. If you've made a change in a horse's life - or one has made a change in yours - tell us about it here.

Learn How To Trim
Your Own Horse's Feet

Natural Barefoot Trim eBook

The Simple Seven-Step Natural Trim is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to a cutting-edge barefoot trim. Click here to find out more.

What people say about HHT:

"The riding instruction is outstanding, if instructors in the UK taught this way there would be a lot of happy riders and horses."

"The riding tuition exceeded my hopes and expectations by a long way; giving me an exciting new facet to horsemanship which is lighter. more subtle, more elegant and more meaningful. It is as if a new door has opened bringing more sunlight and air."

"My goodness - what a change has taken place in my riding. I think that I'm starting to sit 'into' the horse rather than on top of him. I felt my horse's movements in a way that has almost never happened before"

Click on Testimonials for more