In today’s world, stress is a part of everyday life – for us and our horses.  Fortunately, there are some wonderful alternative therapies that can help reduce stress even further.

Energy work: in tune with horses

Being such sensitive animals, horses are very open to the benefits of hands-on or energy work. Everyone has the potential to be a conduit of beneficial healing energy, as it’s the focus and intent of the healer that facilitates a powerful session. Healing energy follows thought, so send loving thoughts to the horse at soul level. With horses that respond well to touch, place your hands on her body, always starting in the dip by the shoulder area. If your horse is still comfortable with direct touch, move your hands around the neck and back. Physical responses come with emotional releases, since emotional blockages and physical problems go hand in hand. Energy work also helps us open up communication channels, which is important if we are to understand what the horse is saying.

Homeopathy to the rescue

Keep Ignatia 30c in your medicine chest for grief. This is a very disturbing emotion to horses. It can be triggered by the loss of a human or horse friend, or even a change of routine or environment. This remedy works well for both people and animals; use one dose three times a day until symptoms ease. For anything complicated consult a homeopathic veterinarian. Selecting the right remedy with the correct dosage is essential if it’s going to make a measurable difference.

Sound can be good or bad

Sound, including music, has been shown to have an effect on the emotional and physical well being of both humans and animals. Horses are very sensitive to sounds, and loud inappropriate music played in their environment can lead to high stress levels. Music has an effect on the brain, so be vigilant about what is played in your horse’s presence.

REMEMBER: Horses can reflect your own inner tension or calmness that arises from the music you listen to. Cut back on that heavy metal. Classical music has been shown to help lower your blood pressure and make your breathing more rhythmical.

Massage and Tellington TTouch

Physical touch is a very powerful healing tool. Massage releases endorphins that produce relaxation, improve circulation, and provide an enhanced sense of well being. Just gently running your hands over a horse’s body (avoiding joints, wounds and sore areas), is an effective technique. Tellington TTouch teaches specific movements that are calming to animals.

Cranio sacral therapy

The flow of energy from the head to the pelvis, called the cranio sacral system, can become blocked due to stressful situations. Although you can consult a qualified practitioner to help rebalance the whole system, there is one simple technique that works well for many people. Place your hands gently to each side of the face and direct loving energy into the head. Ask all the nerves, muscles and bones to be in balance and harmony. Then direct your thoughts to carry this expansive energy from the head along the spine to the tail.

REMEMBER: If your horse does not like human hands around his head, place a hand over his hips and direct the energy up to the head area.

Essential oils…more than a nice smell

Essential oils help with calming and relaxation. However, many oils are toxic to animals, including horses, so I stick to oils you know are safe, such as lavender oil. Place one drop on the back of each hand, then offer your hand for the horse to sniff; do not let him lick the oil in case of allergic reaction.

The valuable vibration of flower essences

Flower essences are a useful addition to any anti-stress remedy kit. The recommended dose for horses is ten drops in each water bucket. For instant dosing, four drops can be put on a piece of apple or carrot and offered to the horse. Flower essences are very easy to use. Numerous essences are available, including:

  • Bach Rescue Remedy, a great all-round help for stress, fear and nervousness.
  • Star of Bethlehem, useful for shock and terror.
  • Walnut, for times of change in lifestyle or circumstances.

You can’t eliminate all stress from your equine partner’s life, but you can help reduce its effects. Always keep in mind that your horse can mirror how you feel, so be proactive in your own well-being too. All the above techniques are as useful for people as they are for the horses!

FINAL NOTE: Be aware that what seems like stress in a horse can be caused by pain, disease or illness. If there is any doubt as to why a horse has “behavior issues”, a veterinarian must be consulted as a crisis can suddenly develop.