healthy horse shin
From the skin to the eyes to the hooves, what is in the feed is what makes thes parts shin.
Dry and/or Itchy Skin
Dry Skin is often related to the metal element. Traditional Chinese medicine associates the lung/large intestine with the metal element. The metal element is related to the skin and dryness is the weather condition that most affects this element. Fatty acids will help combat dryness. If the skin is dry but not itchy, then any vegetable oil will help if added to the diet. If the skin is itchy, then you must focus on oils high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil is good, but must be kept refrigerated. Blue Green Algae is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and will help many horses with itchy skin. Probiotics also help the metal element by supporting the proper function of the large intestine.
One Form of Hives
Hives or urticaria occurs when a foreign protein enters the bloodstream. The protein acts as an antigen and the immune system forms antibodies against it. When antigen/antibody complexes are formed they must be removed from the body in the safest way possible. Since large antigen/antibody complexes can cause damage to the kidneys, it is safer for them to be moved through the lymphatic system. If the lymphatic system cannot keep up with the production of antigen/antibody complexes, they accumulate in the fluid around the cells. The extra fluid appears as welts or raised nodules. Itching may or may not be present but generally the skin is sensitive. Nutritional therapy can be used in several ways to treat this condition. First, having healthy intestinal function will prevent the absorption of undigested proteins into the bloodstream. Strong probiotics and plant based digestive enzymes will aid the body in properly breaking down proteins. If ulcers are a possibility then hold off on the enzymes and focus on healing the stomach and the intestinal lining. Once antigen/antibody complexes are in the blood the best way to break them down is with extra digestive enzymes. Ideally these enzymes should be given between feedings but this is not always necessary.
Watery or matted eyes get lumped under the term allergies, but most of the time they result from an imbalance with the liver/gallbladder. In Chinese medicine, the eye is connected with the wood element (Liv/G.B.). Spring is the season when the wood element is at its weakest. Wind is the external force that most effects the Liv/G.B. So, to treat the underlying cause of runny eyes, one needs to support the function of Liv/G.B. Green foods, rich in chlorophyll and natural antioxidants are vital to support the wood element. Blue-green algae, alfalfa hay (in moderation), green grass, sprouts and carrots are all good foods to support the Liv/G.B. Exercise is also vital to aid the Liv/G.B. in its function of moving Qi (energy). Probiotics to support healthy bacteria in the intestines will help the Liv/G.B. by keeping absorption of endotoxins to a minimum. Avoiding all toxic chemicals, food additives, or drugs will help the horse with the wood element out of balance.
Cracked or Poor-Quality Hooves
The hooves as well as tendons and ligaments are related to the wood element, so the same nutritional advice applies. Many people suggest Biotin for healthy hooves, but if the intestinal bacteria are healthy, they will produce plenty of Biotin as well as an ample supply of other B vitamins.
Frequent Tendon or Ligament Injuries
These can be related to the Liv/G.B. imbalance and respond to adding green food to the diet. Tightness and overall muscle stiffness suggest stagnant liver Qi, which often resolves with supplementing natural antioxidants such as CoQ10, sprouts, and natural Vitamin E.
Reprinted with permission of Dr. Madalyn Ward