Sadie Meets Pony: Acupressure to the Rescue!

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Sadie, a rambunctious, ten-month-old, Golden-Shepherd mix, could not resist running out into the pasture to meet the farm's newest arrival, a twenty-five year old pony who was just turned out for the first time. Susan, her companion, saw Sadie streak across the field and knew there was no stopping her. Susan jogged, as best she could, in the direction where pony and puppy were on a collision course. When the two animals met the pony tried to give Sadie the standoff "cease and desist" stance and glare, but Sadie was oblivious to the pony's body language.

Sadie thought the pony was playing, so she circled the horse, happily yipping and following her genetic cues from the Shepherd side of her family. She darted and circled with great glee while the older pony began to balance his weight from one side to the other, displaying his growing irritation with this pesky pup. From a distance of about 100 yards, Susan said it looked like a curious dance between the two animals.

Finally, out of frustration, the pony lowered his head and charged at Sadie, knocking her in the head. The dance was over; Sadie was lying on the ground knocked out when Susan arrived on the scene. After taking acupressure courses, Susan knew immediately to press Governing Vessel 26 (GV 26, also known as Du 26), the emergency point for loss of consciousness. This acupoint is located at the base of the dog's nose right in the center. She pressed the point firmly with the tip of her thumb, but Sadie did not respond. Susan then knew to go under the top lip, right in the center, and press again even more firmly. Sadie's eyes popped open; she took a deep breath, stood up and shook all over. She was fine. After taking a last glance at the pony she walked quietly at Susan's side all the way back to the barn.

The ancient eastern healing art of acupressure has been in continuous use for humans and animals for thousands of years. It is safe, non-invasive, drug-free, and always available. Many animal guardians, trainers and healthcare practitioners are using acupressure to complement conventional veterinary care. Acupressure and acupuncture are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Both disciplines share the same underlying concept of maintaining a harmonious balance of life force energy, called Chi (pronounced "Chee" and also written as Qi) within the body for optimal health. The main difference between acupuncture and acupressure is that acupuncturists must be holistic veterinarians with specific training in TCM since they insert fine, thin needles under the skin to stimulate the acupoints. In acupressure, we use our hands, fingers and elbows to stimulate points to release energy blockage or stagnation. Acupressure offers every animal guardian an opportunity to participate in the health and overall well-being of their dogs, cats horses, and llamas, too.

We have seen lots of people perform acupressure treatments with just a basic knowledge of acupressure, and have very good results in resolving musculoskeletal conditions and behavior issues. Acupressure offers the additional advantage of increasing your familiarity with your animal's body while also enhancing the bond and energy exchange. Through years of clinical practice and observation, acupressure and acupuncture have been proven to enhance overall good health to avoid disease, and specifically:

Relieve muscle spasms
Boost the animal's immune system
Release endorphins to reduce pain and swelling
Enhance stamina and mental focus for training, and
Resolve injuries more readily by removing toxins and by increasing blood supply.

We have the good fortune to be able to provide our animals with the best of both eastern and western approaches to medicine. The goal for all of us involved with animals is to offer the best care possible since our barn friends are such an important part of our lives.

About the authors:
Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are the authors of Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual, The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide To Canine Acupressure, and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers Meridian Charts for horses, dogs, and cats, plus Introducing Equine Acupressure, a 50-minute training video. They also provide training courses worldwide. To contact them:, email:, phone: 888-841-7211.