Five Element horse temperament typing is starting to become accepted by more horse owners as a viable way to have healthier and happier horses. Knowing your horse's type helps explain those quirky behaviors and special dietary needs. The challenge is typing the darn things! It seems that many horses just don't fall perfectly into a single type, or they are a combination that does not fit the ones listed. Well, don't feel alone if you are having this challenge. I find most people take between six months and a year of focused study to grasp the nuances of the different horse temperament types. There are several reasons for this.
First, horses often come to us with layers of personality issues covering up their underlying temperament. Life experiences shape behavior which can make typing a horse that you have no history on a real challenge.
A second challenge with typing horses is the variation between breeds or lines within breeds. For instance an Earth horse that is a thoroughbred will likely be much more energetic than an Earth draft horse. Within breeds such as the Quarter Horse you can have lines of horses that are bred for racing versus other lines bred for ranch work so all of this has to be taken into consideration.
In addition, emotions can be hard to determine when an animal can't talk to us. Is your horse more anxious than fearful or worried rather than sad? Finally, health conditions that are more common in one type can also occur in any type under the right conditions.
Horse Harmony Certification Course
Taking all of this into consideration I am now training my first class of horse typers. These people are helping develop a certification course which will train people who want to become proficient in typing horses.
One of the first things we learned as we started typing horses as a group was that first impressions are very meaningful. The first impression you have of a horse is often a snapshot of the essence of the horse. With this in mind we are using video clips, with no given history, to train the typer to look at the whole horse and get a feel for him. Then the history can be added and a deeper evaluation done.
If the history gives a clear picture of the horse's type, then history is given priority. However, if the history is confusing then the first impression is given more emphasis. This is working well.
I am beginning to compare horse typing with homeopathic prescribing. Acute cases and first aid can be done easily from a book with a minimum of training in homeopathic theory, but chronic or serious cases should only done by a trained homeopath. If your horse is uncomplicated then your will be able to type him easily out of the Horse Harmony book and online test. For confusing cases we will soon have more trained people to help you type them. In the meantime, check
out some of the cases and videos posted on the Five Element typing forum: Five Element Typing Forum (no cost to read)
Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Madalyn Ward, DVM. Copyright (c) 2010 HolisticHorsekeeping.com and Madalyn Ward, DVM. All rights reserved.
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