Points to stimulate in the horse for weather changes
We can’t control the weather, but we can make our horses as comfortable and healthy as possible during seasonal changes.
As winter approaches, horses grow a thick, lush winter coat in preparation for the chilling cold to come. Unfortunately, when a warm day pops up, your horse can be rather uncomfortable when out for even a short hack in the countryside. As the days grow colder and the night temperatures drop even more, it is wise to allow our horses to retain their internal heat and not expend it through over-work or long rides. And, by building your horse’s immune system during these seasonal transitions you will be able to ward off potential illness.
When the weather is so variable, we can use acupressure to help them balance and build their immune systems. Acupressure, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts, is noninvasive, safe, and a gentle yet powerful touch therapy.
When chi (pronounced “chee” and also seen as Qi or Ki) and blood are flowing harmoniously through the horse’s body, his internal organs and tissues are being nourished and his immune system is strong. If the horse’s immune system is not strong, during rapid and frequent changes in the weather, the animal is more likely to become compromised and possibly fall ill.
Specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” can support the horse’s capacity to regulate his own body temperature in relation to the environmental temperature.
Offering a horse an acupressure session as part of his grooming regime would go a long way toward keeping him happy and healthy as the weather fluctuates between warm and cold in a matter of hours. The following acupressure session is designed to help the horse adjust to varying temperatures while also strengthening his immune system.
Apply light pressure, about one pound of pressure, using the soft tip of your thumb to directly affect the balance of “chi” (life-promoting energy) in the horse’s body. Stay on the acupoint for a minimum of a slow count to 30 or until your horse gives you a release such as yawning, licking, shaking, passing gas, or moving away.
Pericardium 6 (Pe 6), Inner Gate – Located on the foreleg at the middle front edge of the chestnut. This acupoint is commonly used to help the horse regulate his internal body temperature and direct chi properly for optimal internal organ function, which, in turn, supports the horse’s capacity to manage external temperature shifts.
Triple Heater 5 (TH 5), Outer Gate – On the outside of the foreleg, in the groove between the lateral digital extensor and common digital extensor. This is the junction point between “inner and outer” and in this role helps your horse adjust more readily to external environmental changes.
Large Intestine 4 (LI 4), Adjoining Valley – On the inside of the foreleg, below the head of the medial splint bone. Large Intestine 4 is often used to stimulate the immune system. Additionally, this acupoint regulates sweating, which needs to be balanced during periods of exertion.
Governing Vessel 14 (GV 14), Big Vertebra – On the dorsal midline between CV7 and TV7, in a depression a few inches in front of the withers. This point is known to enhance the flow of chi, especially the chi that protects the body (wei chi). Additionally, Governing Vessel 14 is used to calm the spirit of the horse.
Heart 7 (Ht 7), Spirit’s Gate – On outside of front leg, above the accessory carpal bone. A happy horse is a healthy horse because chi and blood can flow harmoniously through his body when his spirit is strong. Heat 7 is responsible for ensuring healthy blood and chi circulation in addition to enhancing the spirit of the animal. When the horse’s circulation is good, his immune system is strong.
By incorporating this acupressure session into your grooming once or twice a week, you can make a difference in how well your horse adjusts to the shifts from hot to cold and back again.
Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis, authors of Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual, own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers Acupressure Books, DVDs, and Meridian Charts for horses, dogs, and cats. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, offering hands-on and online training courses worldwide including a Practitioner Certification Program. 888-841-7211, www.animalacupressure.com , firstname.lastname@example.org