Remedy for An Icelandic Horse
Part 1 - Taking the Case

By Tanya Nolte

This is a case about an Icelandic horse that was acquired by Janice Hutchinson of Siamber Wen, a beautiful rustic and historic retreat in North Wales UK, where Janice also breeds and trains Icelandics. His name is Riddari and he was 4 years old when he came off the ship from Iceland into Janice's care.

Riddari had a health issue that centred on a urinary condition. He was not a happy horse when Janice first asked for my guidance on his case and had most likely been suffering poor health since arriving in the UK, maybe even earlier. He had been diagnosed by a veterinarian to have urinary troubles and had had one homoeopathic remedy (Rx) treatment for his condition at an acute level. He had improved but Janice wasn't satisfied that he was back to an optimum state of health and wanted help to find Riddari's constitutional Rx.

I took the case via email correspondence so did not personally get to see Riddari in the flesh. I conduct such cases (in particular animal cases) by using a comprehensive questionnaire that clients can answer about their animal companions. Many questions are asked about all aspects of the horse and its body systems and can be categorised as mental/emotional, physical/general, and particular symptoms. Included are questions about veterinary history, vaccination history, dental history, worming schedule, previous accidents/traumas, reactions to allopathic medicines, etc.

The following, based on the questionnaire and several email correspondences, is what evolved as the symptom picture.


Janet reports:
7 year-old Icelandic horse, gelding, dark (almost black) with a narrow blaze. He keeps his weight well and is rounded rather than lean or angular. He lacks vitality but seems to 'look' very healthy.

He is quite introverted and I think he is not terribly intelligent. He is sensitive but not timid, definitely not friendly to people, quite shy but in an independent way - would rather have nothing to do with people. He has quite a strong character and fits in well with the herd (is number 2). He will defend his position with newcomers but is not a real fighter. He is actually rather a polite and gentle character who is a little insecure, especially in new situations. He prefers solitude. He is fine to ride in company. He is not very forward-going when in front, is lethargic. He gets angry if I squeeze him with my legs to send him forward. He will stop and kick up at my leg and get the stirrup off my foot. He is not a horse to bully; he rather needs to be cajoled. He is not playful. Startles easily, used to startle from touch, but now is more relaxed though can still startle from a sudden movement. He is fine to be washed down but does not like water around his ears. Ok in thunderstorms. Is Ok in enclosed spaces, likes his stable and travels reasonably well. He would rather not go into the trailer or horsebox but I don't think that this is to do with space so much as it is with movement.

Left hip drops (less bulk in glutes on left) and left hind leg is stiffer. His left gluteal muscle has been less developed since I saw him come off the boat from Iceland three years ago. The leg seems to have some problem, he is not obviously lame as such on it but he does not seem to use it as strongly as the right leg. The leg itself is stiffer to circle when I do TTEAM leg circling exercises and he sometimes snatches it away. The right leg feels really free. He sometimes lacks coordination; sort of gets his hind legs out of sequence with his front legs at times. Better in mornings, worse in the cold, worse on the left side, worse when first moving.

Low pulse at rest but high during exercise; not really slow but difficult to find. After exercise it is fast and bounding.
Healthy appetite. Thirst low, tends to drink small quantities. Breathing is noisy in nostrils rather than in lungs or throat but he does not have heaves. Sounds a bit like an asthmatic on expiration, as if his nostrils were a bit blocked. He does not really have a problem breathing. Respiration rate is normal, just sounds a bit noisier than normal.

His coat is luxurious, soft, thick and velvety. His skin is flaky and he is itchy. He is allergic to biting midges, has eczema and suffers along his belly as well as topline, worse on midline of belly, mane and crest. Large dandruff flakes apparent. He would be very itchy but I cover him with Benzyl Benzoate that gives him relief and discourages the midges. He does still bite his sides. He is worse in spring and autumn. Best in cold windy weather when the midges are not about. He does develop vesicles and a rash like rain scald if I am not vigilant with the treatment.

Always has slightly swollen parotid glands. No pain or abscesses associated with them. His swollen parotid glands have been there for as long as I have known him. They were obvious before the time he had a mild bout of Strangles 2 years ago that he got over very easily. Did not abscess or have a bad cough, just high temperature and a very snotty nose. Mild cough a month ago, otherwise I don't know of any other illnesses. I 'feel' that the glands are more a reaction to the environment - grass or heat. They are more swollen or worse in spring and summer and less so during the autumn and through winter.

Faeces normal but can have a tendency to be too soft and runny with rich food or quite sloppy, like cowpats, when it gets hot. Urine feels slimy but no casts or mucus; has lots of sediment that turned out to be calcium oxalate and calcium carbonate crystals - he had bladder stones. pH was alkaline at 8. The colour is fairly bright yellow and opaque, strong odour of ammonia. Riddari drinks very little and pees little and often; has blood in the urine. Under the advice of someone acquainted with homoeopathy I had him on Hydrangea 6c twice a day for a week, after the vet first diagnosed him with the urinary problem. I wasn't totally convinced it was right but I couldn't find a better fit. Hydrangea was mildly effective as an acute, but didn't last - was not curative. He seemed to perk up a little, initially. Since then he has not had any more homoeopathics but has been on potassium nitrate in powdered form every day (as prescribed by the vet) followed by the addition of apple cider vinegar (which he really seemed to like) to his diet.

Later, Riddari was taken to a specialist, dropped off and left for his bladder to be flushed out and to have an ultrasound. I was astonished when the vet phoned me to say they could see NO gravel or stones or anything else unusual on the ultrasound. They catheterised him anyway and found no sediment in the urine that came out. They washed his bladder out with saline solution, just in case, and still found nothing. When I went to collect Riddari, the vet showed me what had come out of his bladder and it was crystal clear! In fact it was clearer than a normal horse's urine. I was utterly amazed. In fact, I actually asked the vet if he had catheterised the correct horse.

So, it would seem that the homoeopathic Hydrangea, potassium nitrate, and cider vinegar either together, individually or whatever did the trick. When we noticed he had drunk far more than usual and peed a large amount on Monday, it looked like that was everything righting itself, at least as far as his urinary problem was concerned. He is still miserable though!


I questioned Janice further about vaccination and whether there had been a time after vaccination when a reaction may have been noticed, or a time when Riddari's health had declined and perhaps he had never been well since.

Janice reported, "Riddari had only ever been vaccinated for tetanus and flu. There was a large length of time between his vaccinations and the bout of Strangles. My whole herd got Strangles from a visiting pony and it was not a big deal."

One feature is that Riddari had no discharges anywhere; when he had the Strangles he did not develop an abscess and nasal discharge was minimal/short-lived. The nature of the case presents as one of a psoric picture, psora being a homoeopathic miasm pertaining to the skin, the basic epidermal cell. It acts largely on the nervous system and the nerve centres producing functional disturbances. Miasm is a homoeopathic term comparable to diathesis, meaning an unusual constitutional susceptibility or predisposition to a particular disease condition.

This concludes Part 1, the health history and symptomatology of Riddari, the Icelandic horse. The next issue will present the selection of the homoeopathic remedy and the resulting changes after its use. Stay tuned!

Please bear in mind that this script is for educational purposes only and in no way replaces veterinary advice or treatment! Always consult with your veterinarian. Should a veterinarian have made a diagnosis and you, the client, desire to follow a holistic path then I would recommend that you obtain approval from your veterinarian to seek the professional services of a qualified classical homoeopath or other certified holistic healthcare practitioner.

About the author:
Tanya Nolte, VN, DIHom, lives in NSW, Australia. She is a professional member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association and the Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia. Tan is a veterinary nurse of 7 years and a classical homoeopath of 6 conducting consultations at the veterinary clinic, a human clinic, and privately. She recently completed her full 3-year Diploma in Homoeopathy and 2 years in the Medical Sciences of Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, Symptomatology and Differential Diagnoses. She is available for online consultations.

Tanya Nolte, Classical EquiHomoeopath.
Whispering Horse Therapies
PO Box 22, Nimbin
NSW 2480, Australia
Phone (02) 66 897296