The Holistic Horse
As a holistic vet, when setting about treating a horse holistically, we have to apply different skills and techniques, to those used in dogs, cats or farm animals, although exactly the same holistic principles apply.
A horse may have a human purpose to affect his life and his existence. We therefore need to look at the demands and requirements for work that his ‘owner’ – carer – rider places upon him and how these might impinge upon his health and welfare.
The holistic vet must be aware of all the special factors that impinge on each pony and how to moderate them. Management, lifestyle, saddling, shoeing, feeding, supplements, stabling, bedding and grassland management will all have a bearing and, without a deeper understanding of these topics, much can be overlooked that may unwittingly prevent a cure. For instance, an unsuitable or uncomfortable saddle can cause pain, which affects the way the back is used, which affects the pony’s movement, which affects the way a limb is used and the range of movement of its joints, which can have a clear and demonstrable causative influence on such problems as navicular or spavin. Furthermore, because his back is central to a pony’s ability to move and to perform, chiropractic intervention should be offered. All this is before we consider medicine!
The holistic vet can then select a therapy (e.g. acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, chiropractic) or design an integrated therapeutic strategy for the patient, depending upon his particular needs. This will be designed to stimulate the body’s own healing capability. After that, we require a monitoring program, so that progress can be assessed and any changes in the patient can elicit a response from the holistic vet prescriber, in a timely fashion.
It is precisely because of this attention to detail, and because most of our medicines stimulate endogenous healing capability, that many serious and seemingly intractable conditions can respond to holistic treatment.
The holistic vet must study and understand all the special factors that impinge on each of our species and types of animals, in order to follow the true causes of disease and to be able to minimise or eliminate them.
An interesting quote attributed to Hippocrates states: “The Physician treats, Nature heals“. This recognises that it is not the medicine that heals the body but the body itself.
Holistic care and treatment of horses