Essences for An Overeater
Q: My Chincoteague pony - adopted several years ago, removed from his home
and mother at four months of age - has an eating disorder, an 'over-eating'
problem. Besides going out into the pasture before the other horses and staying
out there longer, he eats twice as fast as they do. He is overweight and
bordering on insulin-resistant. When I watch him eat, grass or hay, it seems
as if he cannot control himself. I am therefore controlling his intake by
using a muzzle, limiting his time on pasture by keeping him in a paddock
(which unfortunately limits his activity), and regulating his hay intake.
He has lost weight, but has not lost that impulse. Granted, his lineage
has come from a place where salt marsh grasses and shrub-type roughage
is the diet, but what I don't understand is why his hunger does not shut
off, like it does for the other horses… and delving into the body's
metabolic processes explains only part of the picture, as far as I am concerned.
Are there any flower essences that I could consider giving him to help him
with this seeming lack of control?
A: Yes. The major Bach flower for lack of control is Cherry Plum. It addresses any idea of loss of control, i.e., the animal's lack of impulse control, out-of-control hormonal changes, even physical lack of control such as incontinence. Its action is upon inner impulses that feel beyond one's ability to manage. It gives poise and the capacity to trust. Another idea would be "over-doing" - that is a Vervain issue - anything done to excess, or anything that is over-responding, including the physical system itself. Of course, beneath all control issues is fear. A horse in a new environment, in a new herd, with strange people would be experiencing many fears. Mimulus is the flower essence for fears the animal can distinguish (in the particular way they are able), and Aspen is for unknown fears. In animals, I always combine them to cover all bases. Perhaps you have given these flowers already for his new situation. Beyond these comments, the truth is there is never a ready-made solution for a type of situation. Each creature is individual in how they respond, and what looks like similar behavior in any two animals or people can be produced by very different stresses. I would definitely try Cherry Plum and Vervain for your horse and dose the animal very regularly for some weeks.
Esther Sager, MS, BFRP, RMT, IARP