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Horse Matching-The Water Horse (Part 1 of 5)

AUSTIN, Texas, August, 2007—For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine has taught that each person has a basic type—the words Water, Fire, Wood, Metal and Earth each represent a specific personality type and relates to specific body organs. Now, it’s time to relate these “Five Element” terms to our horses. Knowing your horse’s constitutional type can help you make dietary and lifestyle choices for him that will best support his overall needs on an ongoing basis. If you are looking for a new horse, Five Element typing will aid you in selecting a horse that is well-suited for your lifestyle, the specific activity you wish to undertake with him, or a particular training style.

Here, we’ll start by discussing the Water element—how Water horses often behave and how you may best work with this type. Then we’ll share a story about a water horse and share tips to help in problem situations.

About Water Horses

Water horses need safety and a trustworthy rider. They can be brilliant show horses but panic easily. They perform well in events that call for animation and excitement, although they are often intimidated by crowds, which contribute to their animation. They need steady riders to help them through scary situations. Water horses are best suited for sports requiring precision and elegance. They make great dressage horses.

When horses are young, the typing can look slightly different. Water-type foals may be shy and sometimes a bit fractious. They can easily panic if cornered or restrained. These foals tend to stay very close to the mares--especially in unfamiliar surroundings.

Working with your Water Horse

The Water horse is a beautiful performer when he overcomes his fear and learns

to trust his handlers. He likes to learn but can’t be pushed too hard or he will panic. A relaxing day for the Water horse would include learning some new skills in a controlled environment where he feels safe. Introducing new skills and elements in safe conditions keeps the Water horse engaged and interested, preventing boredom with his regular routine.

Case in Point:

One horse owner writes, “My horse, Jerry, will jump and try to run off as soon as he sees something new, even a small thing that doesn't seem to be in the right place. He is a jumper and a dressage horse but won't jump new fences with different color or shape. He gets stiff when he works and if a big truck or something new comes near he tries to run away. It takes a long time for him to get used to new things. He’s a big (1.85m) 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

Dr. Ward’s Response:

This horse displays typical Water horse behavior. He may benefit from some TTeam or natural horsemanship exercises to teach him to trust and respond to new situations—exercises to build his trust and confidence. With a Water horse you will need to be patient and also go into the situation with firmness and resolve so the horse can draw from your confidence.

--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 is due out before Christmas, 2007. Dr. Ward works through Myriah Press.


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