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Horse Matching-The Wood Horse (Part 3 of 5)

AUSTIN, Texas, November 15, 2007 —It’s time to talk about Wood horses—and we aren’t talking toys or Trojan horses. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Wood element is used to describe people and animals who love a challenge and have extra energy. In the Five Element Theory—with elements including Water, Fire, Wood, Metal and Earth—each element describes a constitutional and personality type.

In this installment, we’ll discuss the Wood element—how horses of this type often act and how, as an owner, you can create the best relationship with your Wood horse.

About Wood Horses

The Wood horse is the ultimate competitor. Wood horses love physical challenges and must be kept active or they will develop bad habits like kicking and biting. Wood horses make excellent jumpers, barrel racers and cutting horses--so long as they understand the rules of the game. Don’t try to subdue or overpower a Wood horse. Instead of power, Wood horses react best when you are communicative and act reasonably.

Wood foals are brave and bold. They can be very demanding and often push against or kick at the mare if she does not let her milk down quickly when they start to nurse. Wood foals can be hard to handle and are prone to kick or bite until they learn manners. Wood horses make great performance and racehorses.

Working with your Wood Horse

The Wood horse loves physical activity and new challenges, so don’t bore him by leaving him in a dull pasture with nothing to do. To relax the Wood horse, change his work schedule and haul him somewhere new. If he’s normally a jumper, give him some variety by working cows or taking him out on a vigorous trial ride. He’ll thrive on the variety and then be ready to get back into regular training.

Case in Point:

Valentine, a grulla mustang, has always been outgoing and competitive. As a youngster she bit and kicked her pasture mates constantly, and occasionally bit people. With natural horsemanship methods, she has calmed down and become tractable. Valentine is very athletic so she picks up new skills easily, but only once she has decided that it’s a good idea. She can become stubborn or vacant during training, and increased levels of force have little or no effect. She loves doing her job, which is jumping, and especially loves to win. Valentine has a high pain tolerance. She is indifferent to being bathed or groomed.

Dr. Ward’s Response:

Valentine is typical for a Wood horse: intensely competitive in all areas. Wood horses love to compete and if bored, they will often compete with their trainers or riders in a test of will. It’s important to persuade Valentine to work using variety in her training routine rather than force, which will only make her more competitive. As with most Wood horses, Valentine has a high pain tolerance so it’s important to monitor her health to ensure she doesn’t get overworked. Wood horses will otherwise keep going and going until their injure themselves or burn out.

--Madalyn Ward, DVM

About Dr. Ward

Madalyn Ward, DVM, owns Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic in Austin, Texas. She is certified in Veterinary Homeopathy and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association and the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. She has authored several books and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Holistic Horsekeeping”. Her new book, entitled Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments ... Are You and Your Horse a Good Match? is due out before Christmas, 2007. To learn more about Horse Harmony visit http://www.holistichorsekeeping.com/resources/hhbook/

Visit http://www.holistichorsekeeping.com to sign up for the newsletter and for more information.


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