The “Not Quite Right” Horse

– and the Role that Acupuncture and Acupressure can Play –
Free running horse
(c) Dusan Kostic

There are times when you just know that something is “off” with your horse. These subtle not clearly identifiable problems can affect performance and may be difficult to diagnose.

In such cases, integrative therapies such as acupuncture, osteopathy and herbal medicine may be useful. In contrast to Western medical approaches which “break complex biological problems into clinical signs compartmentalized via body systems” and treats problems as isolated and separate and mostly unrelated; most integrative modalities, for example acupuncture as a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or osteopathy, view the body as a totally integrated whole [1].

Acupuncture when applied on the basis of the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine – which needs to be differentiated from Western Medical Acupuncture – approaches the body in a completely different way and looks to identify certain patterns which may be the cause of a problems. This adds further tools to conventional practice and may look at an identified issue differently and may recognise imbalances that may have been missed by Western medicine.

By way of pattern differentiation which is based on gathering a myriad of information and a thorough overall assessment and evaluation of a horse, TCM may offer different and additional solutions to a certain problem.

This means that horses that present with the same Western diagnosis may undergo differing acupuncture protocols in addressing and resolving their issues based on their specific TCM pattern assessment which relies on an assessment of the whole horse.

In cases of poor performance that may be perceived as stiffness, resistance to certain movements or early fatigue where no obvious clinical cause can be found, acupuncture and acupressure offer an alternative that regularly show to resolve such issues and optimise health.

[1] Reference: Integrative Medicine, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, 2022, p. 464.