I recently had the great pleasure of being interviewed live on the "If Your Horse Could Talk" radio show in Phoenix, Arizona with Lisa Ross-Williams (every Sunday, 3-4pm Mountain time - call in questions welcome, 602-995-9555, on 1190AM). It's a great show; you can call in with questions from anywhere at that time, even if you are out of listening range. The last question Lisa asked me was, "If there's one thing you would want all horse owners to know, what would that be?"
I found it hard to narrow that down to one thing, but basically it is this: That the body has an intelligence, and we need to support it. If we are going to consider using alternative and complementary therapies to help heal our horses, or ourselves, we must address the basics first. We must address the nutritional and 'mechanical' needs, and the most important basic - lifestyle.
Nutritional needs vary from horse to horse depending on geographical area (soil), food (content, quality, and quantity of grazing, hay, grain, and other foods), and the horse's work program. The mechanicals such as hooves and teeth must be properly addressed. The lifestyle must be as natural as possible. Once these basic needs are met, then we can employ the use of alternative therapies, if they are even needed. Many problems and difficulties clear up readily with just these basics put in place.
In the "Organon" by Samuel Hahnemann,
the father of homeopathy, he lists and describes obstacles to cure.
What we eat, what we do and how we live our lives can make or break
a cure. Deepak Chopra says, "Without proper nutrition, medicine
is of no use; with proper nutrition, medicine is of no need."
If our horses eat processed feeds and breathe in ammonia fumes daily,
all the herbs in the world can't help.
Therefore, adopting alternative and complementary therapies is best done only after the basics have been met, or we may be wasting our efforts, and worse, delaying healing. Of course, these basics may require us to give up convenience, to upset our entire lives or give up a way of life, or even give up certain friends (if our friends do not support us in doing what is best, for the good of the horse or ourselves, then are they truly friends?) There will be sacrifice in overcoming or healing disease, but this dedication to achieving health, wellness and cure will be more than worth it. Yes, we'll be accused of 'going around the bend and feeding the horses out of the refrigerator', but who knows - we just might initiate change in others.
If we put our focus on our goal, we can get there. We can choose to incorporate various complementary therapies into the existing lifestyle to help direct us to that goal, but WE must make the journey; it can't be done for us. It takes sacrifice and determination to adopt change. We must do our part, or we may as well let conventional medicine manage our 'health' for us. Drugs and surgery WILL do the 'job', all of it and maybe more, whether we want it to or not.
If we want to achieve health and longevity for our horses and ourselves, we need to address the basics and make changes. If we surround ourselves with positive, supportive, loving, healthy people who have the same health and wellness goals in mind that we do, we can still enjoy our horses and our lives, and we may be surprised just how much more we do enjoy them.