Applying the Feng Shui Philosophy to the Horse's Living Environment
By Rachel Hairston

Once you understand the philosophy and teachings of Feng Shui, you can easily learn to integrate it into your horse's living space. Whether you keep your horse in natural living conditions or housed in a barn, you can apply many of the methods of Feng Shui to the improvement of your horse's living environment and emotional wellness.

With an understanding of energy flow harmonizing with the naturalism of our living space, one can be made aware of how to decide the location and design of a pasture or a barn. Issues such as location of grazing areas, accessibility to flowing water, where to place a protective covering and what direction it should face are all needed to be considered by the owner with pasture horses. Those who wish to build a barn can apply Feng Shui to the structure location and design. More often, Feng Shui is used for rectifying or returning positive energy flow in barns and stalls. What is important to note is that Feng Shui can be used to eliminate negativity in a space, as well as nurture the renewal of positive energy within your horse's life and living conditions.

If you keep your horses in a pasture, here are some suggestions for introducing Feng Shui methods into their living space. First, you may wish to consult the Bagua with a Feng Shui practitoner on where your pasture should be placed within your property. (The Bagua is an eight-sided diagram that is derived from the "I-Ching" -- the Chinese book of Divination; each side represents a different aspect of life.) This will also help decide where to place other areas such as a storage shed, bathing station, etc. Once you have chosen the pasture space, it is best to shape it into a rectangle or square. These shapes are favored, and considered the ideal shapes for the flow of chi. It is important that feeding bins or water troughs be placed in the center of the pasture which will improve the chi flow. Ideally, a natural water source is desired, but any water near or within the pasture is important to the nurturing of chi. The slow and steady flow of a stream into a pond will bring and keep chi in the environment. A pond is considered a positive energy reservoir, but it should not be too large or perfectly shaped. These traits are not conducive to the ideal naturalistic state, which Feng Shui strives to achieve within the environment. Having the pond act as a drinking source is even more ideal for the horses' well-being and energy.

When you decide where to put your protective shed in the pasture, the direction in relation to the sun's energy will make a difference. It may be wise to consider consulting a Feng Shui practitioner prior to building. It is believed that having the structure face east is the most beneficial in affecting chi, and bringing energy into the pasture. Other directions can be used, but it will make a difference on the effects of the energy flow. When it is time to choose the fencing, ideally a wood type fence is preferred. The balance of the 5 elements will have to be taken into consideration when choosing the design and height of the fence. This will depend on your choice and may need to be modified to fit the ideal elemental balance. Trees or shrubs that are dead should be removed as they are not helpful in attracting chi, and newer horse safe trees should be planted, especially near the corners of the pasture space. A corner is considered a trap to positive energy, which hinders its natural flow within a space. The entrance or main gate to the pasture should face the same direction as the shed, but does not have to be directly in front of it. A curved path should lead you from the shed to the gate; a curved path should also lead you away from the pasture. A curved path helps to keep the flow of chi at a steady pace.

Some other Feng Shui methods that could enhance the energy flow and the well-being of pasture horses include the planting of flowers with vibrant color and fragrance near the pasture space, but not within the pasture. Make sure these are safe flowers for horses in case of ingesting. The placement of bamboo or wooden chimes on the shed will provide a truly calming noise for the horses, just make sure they are high up or placed somewhere the horses can't chew on them.

When building a barn, you may wish to consider Feng Shui when choosing its location, placement and interior design. As with pasture location and direction, you should consult the Bagua in terms of both the location to build on and placement of the barn on the desired land. A Bagua can be placed over the barn plans as well as property plans to help make the right decision. The direction the barn faces will also be another factor to consider. Although east is considered the ideal, you can build in other directions for other types of energy and elemental effects. You may wish to consult a Feng Shui practitioner in regards to this.

One of the most important aspects of the location of the barn includes the balance and harmony of the chi surrounding the barn. This involves the Phoenix, Dragon, Tiger, Snake and Tortoise energies. Each one represents chi energy on a specific side of the barn. The location should ideally allow the most chi flow. Each of these energies should be able to flow properly on its side of the barn as well as in harmony with the others. This can be achieved through placement on or in front of a hill or forest area, not being too close to other buildings, or having an open area to the entrance of the barn with a curved and flora-lined path leading to it. The interior design of the barn and stalls should emphasize smooth beams, lots of windows, excellent ventilation, no clutter within walkways, removal of cobwebs, and filling of corners.

Owners who board their horses in barns should consider certain aspects about the space and the stall before moving in, and should realize that some Feng Shui methods can help make improvements. You should always choose an exterior stall to an interior. The horse requires daily and constant connections to nature and the outside energy flow. The window your horse will look out from should be a good size, clean, and open outward. Stalls with partial sidewalls allow for the exchange and flow of chi throughout the barn, from one stall to another. If a stall is small and dark, placing a small crystal up by the window can improve the mood of the stall. A fountain or other man-made water flow can be constructed near the barn for the horses to hear and see, bringing peace to the area and the flow of positive energy. Since corners are not considered favorable, you may want to place feed and water buckets and hay nets towards the center of the front stall wall. At best, the placement of these items should be somewhere within the central area of the stall if possible. Again, you may want to consider planting an herb or flower garden near the barn to bring on the smells and colors so important to the effective flow of chi and hang wooden chimes within the barn or on the outside parameter to assist in the cleansing and calming of the horse's space.

There are many aspects of Feng Shui that can be applied to the construction as well as the improvement of a horse's living space. The key is finding which methods will bring about the right balance and harmony of chi within that space. Not all horses can have an improved living space by methods mentioned; sometimes we need something more specific, and require the assistance of a Feng Shui expert who can determine the source of the negativity. We all have different goals and ideals for our horses, and Feng Shui is used in many different ways for several different purposes. The ideals and philosophy behind Feng Shui work to improve and enhance the living environment. There is not just one way to do things within Feng Shui, for that in itself would be too rigid and confining in thought. If you want to learn more about Feng Shui and how you can apply it to your horse facility, there are many wonderful books as well as Feng Shui Practitioners who can assist you.

About the author:
Rachel Hairston lives in Cameron, TX with her husband Randall, brand-new daughter Emma Isabella, and their buckskin Morgan mare, Saint Martha. Rachel holds a BS in Animal Science/Equine Industry from Texas A&M University, is a practicing Equine Sports Massage Therapist, and is the US Representative for Vitahorse Equine Aromatherapy Products. She has written articles for Horse Talk Magazine and Renaissance Magazine and is currently writing a book to be published in Sept 2002 on general horse care. She believes in natural horse care with necessary veterinary care, acupuncture, chiropractics, aromatherapy, and equine massage.

For more information:
Feng Shui Designs, Inc.

International Feng Shui Guild

American Feng Shui Institute

Feng Shui
By Susan Ajamian

Feng Shui translates as "Wind and Water". It is a very ancient Chinese practice based upon practical considerations for selecting locations with suitable energy flow for people and animals to live in good health. Early humans who settled at a place protected from harsh winds and with access to fresh water were practicing Feng Shui. Almost every culture has some process for relating to the energies of the earth.

Feng Shui considers the five elements (earth, air, water, metal, and wood) and the compass directions (using the Pa Kua or Ba Gua symbol to represent the eight compass directions), along with Chinese astrology and other factors. Over the millennia, several variations of Feng Shui developed and spread to other cultures. Different forms of Feng Shui use varying combinations of rules and intuition. The Form school, the oldest traditional Feng Shui, emphasizes landscape features such as hills, mountains, rivers and streams and the orientation of buildings. One of the newest, and most popular in the USA, is the Black Hat Sect Feng Shui that uses Buddhist rituals and chants. But prayers and hand gestures from other faiths can be used; what is important is that a person has a genuine belief that they can activate results.

Some people are innately aware of a place's energy balance; others need to develop their senses. Feng Shui is a method you can use to heighten your awareness, or to give you rules to follow. Through books, videotapes, or classes, one can have a quick introduction to the basics. It is also possible to spend a long time studying to learn all the intricacies. You may want to consult a Feng Shui expert both to learn and to enlist help selecting ways to re-balance a place's energy. Sometimes small corrections can help bring about profound changes.

Susan Ajamian is a writer who has begun studying Feng Shui and was pleased with the consultant's suggestions for changes to her home in Delaware.