When a horse gets sick, many horse owners pump their animals full of chemicals and hope for the best.
But just like with people, some horses don’t always respond well to chemical treatments. They are animals and they have been healing without chemicals long before domestication came along.
Holistic medicine treats the body as a whole and focuses on finding the cause while curing it naturally. Below are five different ways to incorporate holistic care into your horse’s life.
1. Relieve Back Pain and Tightness with Massage
Massage is one of the most popular holistic treatments for horses because anyone can do it. While horses can easily support a rider’s weight, they do get tightness in their back muscles that will become sore if left untreated, especially as they age. If your horse flinches away when saddling, canters less freely, or moves with their head elevated more than usual, it may be time to give them a little massage. The muscle most prone to tightness is the longissimus dorsi, which runs the length of the rib cage next to the spine. Try gently rubbing your hand in a circular motion over the area.
2. A Healthy Diet for Healthy Horses
Horses need a healthy and natural diet to perform at their peak. Sick horses in particular should have a strong focus on healthy eating in order to fully optimize their healing ability. Horses have evolved into prairie-grazing herbivores, but those grazing conditions can be hard to replicate in livery yards. They need a diet that’s full of fibrous material in order for a healthy digestive system. The ideal food for horses is alfalfa, which can be rather pricey. Other grassland products such as grass or hay are fine, but check that they are not treated with artificial nitrogen fertilizers. Much of hay-producing pasture lands have been polluted by these fertilizers, so horse owners have to be especially picky when purchasing horse food.
3. Reiki for Relaxation
Reiki is a Japanese relaxation technique that has been found to be especially helpful for horses. Horses are naturally nervous animals, especially if they have an injury. The practice of reiki is widely used on horses with back or tendon injuries to help them relax and promote healing. It is a difficult technique to master and may require a holistic veterinarian.
4. Positive Thoughts for Healing
As previously stated, horses are nervous animals. People have always believed that horses are especially sensitive to feelings such as fear or anger. When your horse is injured, you may be scared for it, which in turn will probably make them even more nervous. Instead change your thoughts to positive ones to help them feel more relaxed and less scared. With some horse injuries, the key to fully healing is just for the animal to relax.
5. Holistic Veterinarians
Some of the above practices horse owners may be able to do on their own, but for more serious injuries and illnesses, horse owners may want to make the switch to a holistic veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose the cause of the injury or illness and treat it with a variety of natural holistic treatments and techniques.