Equine Iridology 101


Equine Iridology

Equine iridology may hold the key to detecting issues with your horse’s health.

It’s all in the eyes! Equine iridology is the study of the iris (or colored part) of the horse’s eye. It’s a newer science that dates to the mid- 1980s, when veterinarian and consultant Dr. Dena Eckerdt and myself mapped out the equine iris as a way to distinguish between healthy systems and problematic areas in the body (those that are overactive, inflamed or distressed).

Past, Present and Future

Equine iridology is basically very simple. If you remember your high school biology, you probably know that the cell is the basic unit of all living matter, and that tissues are groups of cells. You cannot see disease – only damaged tissue. The eye can show us either toxins or injuries in the horse’s body.

I believe information in the horse’s eye reflects past medical problems, demonstrates the horse’s susceptibility towards certain illnesses, and can show possible future health problems (if the susceptibility is not corrected).

Developing the Grid

Dr. Eckerdt and I learned immediately that the intestinal system is the “hub” of the horse’s body, just as it is in humans. We also knew there were different systems in the horse that could signal life or death. To be able to put everything on paper was a journey of great value.

The first step we had to take was adapting the grid to the equine eye. This project took several years to prove and design. While proving the different sections of the grid, Dr. Eckerdt and I studied many photographs of horses’ eyes. This phase took several months before the first grid was ready to be used.

This was our first logo showing a partial grid . These grids (right and left) are mirror images of one another. With a few exceptions, the outside of the grid is comparable to Dr. Jenson’s human grid. This outside area of Dr. Jenson’s human grid will almost match every animal.

The first one-third of the horse’s eye, or the intestinal system, gave us the biggest challenge. I had never heard the words “diaphragmatic” or “dorsal” when studying human iridology. Dr. Eckerdt was able to help put the complete intestinal system together.

The Four Main Systems

There are four systems in the horse’s body that I believe can signal life or death. I call them “tunnels” because they allow nutrition to get in and toxins to get out. These systems are very easy to see in the eye. If there is any discoloration (darker color) in these areas, it is showing toxicity or a weak area, and that can be a problem for your horse.

For the next section of this article, look at your horse’s eye as if you are reading a clock. This way you can pinpoint areas of concern.

1. Intestinal system
You can see this system right next to the pupil in the eye. This system takes up onethird of the eye. The small intestine is on what I call the nasal side (close to the nose). The large intestine is on the opposite side. If you see any discoloration in this area, the horse needs your help (change of diet, probiotics, parasite control, etc).

2. Urinary system (kidney/bladder)
You will find this system at around six o’clock (the right eye shows a little after six and the left eye shows a little before). This area is a major thoroughfare for the body and needs to run optimally to keep your horse at his best.

3. Respiratory system
We find this system at around nine o’clock in the right eye and three o’clock in the left eye. It needs to be clear for many reasons, one of which is for the horse’s energy levels.

4. Scruff (skin) area
The skin is known as the third kidney of the horse. He can absorb into his blood 60% to 90% of what you put on his body. The line surrounding the iris of the eye represents this system.

When one of these four systems shuts down, it puts extra pressure on the rest. If all four shut down, it can mean death. Please check the eyes of your horse often –


As a practicing herbalist, owner of the Herb Farm Company and Through The Eye International, Mercedes Colburn, ND, PhD, was in the business of alternative medicine. She studied with top iridologists in human iridology, but when she lost two of her prized horses to colic her mission changed. She went into research to find the reason for colic, how to prevent it, and how to see it coming through the use of iridology for horses. Iridology was a familiar tool used by Mercedes and has been used as a diagnostic tool since ancient times. Mercedes needed a veterinary consultant; she collaborated with Dena Eckerdt, DVM in creating the “equine iridology grid”. The biggest and most powerful discovery made was in the intestinal system. Proving the equine iridology grid by means of veterinarians, necropsies, and pathology labs has been a journey of great value. Through The Eye International now offers this ”Equine Iridology” grid as a much-needed tool for equine veterinians and therapists. equineiridology.com

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