The Five Elements Theory is a significant part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been in use for thousands of years. It is believed that the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) can be related to different aspects of the body and surrounding natural world. This issue’s column is all about the Metal horse — see if you can recognize any of these traits in your horse!
Metal is the material we turn to when we need a structure to be strong. It is cold and rigid. We do not generally build our houses out of metal because we want a warmer feel to where we live.
The Metal horse is strong and durable. You don’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling around him. He is all about getting a job done, and done well. Just as metal is rigid, so is the Metal horse. He approaches life with a set routine and does not like to deviate from it. He is the perfect horse for a job that needs to be done the same way day in and day out. He is strong and athletic, but not necessarily fast and agile. He does well with ranch work, and showing that rewards consistency over brilliance.
The Metal horse learns best when things are presented to him one step at a time. He is not a “big picture” thinker. If he does not understand some aspect of a lesson, or the timing of the information is confusing, he will not be able to learn. When the Metal horse does not understand, he responds by becoming rigid and bracing through his body. He presents a cold, hard demeanor that could be read as defiance, but is simply his self-preservation pattern. When you see this behavior in a Metal horse, you know you have failed in presenting information to him, somewhere along the line. The Metal horse thinks in patterns and once he gets a lesson he will never forget.
Caring for the Metal Horse
Metal requires very little care, but it does have a couple of weaknesses. The biggest threat to the integrity of metal is rust, and the best protection against rust is oil. Another threat to metal is bending forces. If a metal part sustains repeated bending, it will eventually fatigue and break.
A healthy Metal horse will maintain with a minimum of care and a simple diet. Interestingly, he does require more fat in his diet than other temperament types. Rice bran or flax seed works well for a working Metal horse that is not overweight. For a Metal horse that tends to be heavy, chia seeds will provide the necessary fatty acids without causing weight gain. After many years of hard, repetitive work, the joints of the Metal horse can show signs of fatigue. To slow down this process, extra antioxidants in the diet can be helpful initially, followed with specific joint support products as the horse ages.
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 and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. HolisticHorseKeeping.com, HorseHarmony.com