The Five Elements Theory is a significant part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been in use for thousands of years. It’s believed that the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) can be related to different aspects of the body and the surrounding natural world. This issue’s column is all about the Water horse – see if you can recognize any of these traits in your own equine!

Water is essential for life. Our bodies are composed of mostly water and the majority of our planet is covered with it. We can live for weeks without food but only days without water. Water allows our life energy to flow. It is essential for carrying nutrients to our cells and for flushing toxins out of the body. In order for water to fulfill its purpose, it must be allowed to flow.

The Water horse is full of life energy and wants to keep moving. His energy can be channeled and carefully harnessed into brilliant performance. In addition, like the never-ending flow of a strong river, the Water horse can have tremendous endurance and athletic ability. However, without clear direction, the Water horse can become unpredictable and even dangerous. Efforts to subdue him will be met with disaster. Never underestimate the power of the Water horse and his need for movement.

Training The Water Horse 

When new information is introduced to the Water horse in a gentle, concise way, he will learn quickly and maintain his lessons.

He loves to learn, but needs to do it in a safe environment. If a Water horse feels threatened, he will want to flee. If this happens, it is best to allow him to move his feet but bring his focus back to you without correcting him for his fear.

The Water horse is elegant in his beauty. Like a mountain stream or a crystal clear lake, he radiates fluid motion and peace. As the Water energy is confined and channeled, it becomes much more animated and brilliant.

Feeding The Water Horse

The Water horse’s weakness lies in his teeth and bones. He needs extra minerals to be strong and flexible. Lower back pain and weakness can occur if adequate minerals are not available. Water horses do well with alfalfa hay. Micro algae are another good source of minerals for him. The older Water horse may need soaked hay cubes if his teeth become weak. Warming herbs such as hawthorn will help with circulation to the kidneys if lower back weakness occurs. Joint supplements containing sulfur, such as MSM, may be beneficial for short term use in Water horses showing signs of joint stiffness, but they should not be used in place of balanced mineral intake from whole foods.


Dr. Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She has authored three books – Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding horse types & temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com.

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