Shifting how you care for your horse from season to season is important. Here’s how to support your herd during autumn months.
Every horse knows when the seasonal shift from late summer to autumn arrives. They know it in their bones. The sweet smell of yellowing grasses fades, the warmth of daylight gets chipped away by the chill of evening and the crisp early morning. Nothing really has changed since ancient times when it comes to the cyclical passage of the seasons. When horses are allowed to follow their natural, primal patterns of life, adapting to seasonal change is intrinsic to them because their very survival is dependent on it.
Ancient civilization and the seasons
Ancient Chinese civilization would not have survived if it were not for the Taoists (Chinese philosophers) conscientiously and consistently exploring and observing how life is best lived for humans and animals. Horses were part of military protection and agrarian society, thus their horses’ health and wellbeing were essential to survival.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on Taoist thought and is the medicine of survival. Chinese medicine provides the “playbook” for leading a long and healthy life by following the rules of adapting to seasonal shifts. The interesting thing is that horses know the rules without ever studying the playbook!
Adapting to autumn
As autumn reigns, horses know it is time to slow down, rest, and consume more grass hay to protect them from the deep cold of winter. They know that forage will become scarce in the days ahead, so now is the time to bulk up and nourish their bodies.
Today it is more difficult to provide our horses with the environment they need to follow their ancestral imperatives for physical and emotional survival. We try to meet their need for a natural existence with good quality feed, exercise, mental stimulation, turnout with other horses, grooming, and holistic healthcare – but often we fall short.
There is strong evidence, seen over thousands of years, that acupressure supports the horse’s ability to adapt to seasonal change. Though we do our best, we cannot fully restore our horses’ capacity to follow his ancestral process of adapting to autumn and preparing for the frigid season that follows.
Offering an acupressure session two times per week that focuses on nourishing the horse’s body will in turn give him a sense of wellbeing. The acupressure points selected in the chart accompanying this article are known to enhance digestion and circulation of nutrient-rich blood to nourish the horse’s bones, soft tissues, and internal organs.
Contributing acupressure to your equine healthcare routine also adds a special ingredient: your horse will know you care!
Amy Snow is one of the authors of Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure, Acu-Dog: a Guide to Canine Acupressure and The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure. Amy Snow, together with Nancy Zidonis own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers meridian charts for cats and dogs as well as manuals, DVDs and canine acupressure apps for mobile devices. They founded the Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, offering hands-on and online training courses worldwide, including a Practitioner Certification Program (animalacupressure.com or Tallgrass@animalacupressure.com).