Wood is a symbol of life. We use wood for the structure of our homes and the furniture inside them. Wood is strong yet flexible. Wood can be carved into beautiful sculptures. Wood creates heat to warm us. When wood forests are cleared of heavy underbrush they make wonderful shaded homesites. If Woods are left to grow wild they can become the fuel for massive forest fires that burn everything in their paths.
The Wood horse is full of life. He is strong and athletic. He loves to run and play hard. He likes to work but also wants his work to challenge him. The Wood horse has a self-assured presence that causes him to stand out in a crowd. When the energy of the Wood horse is directed towards a competition it can produce a breath taking performance. If the Wood horse is allowed to grow restless and not given a goal he can easily become a dangerous outlaw.
Training the Wood Temperament Horse
The Wood horse is born bold and willful. The Wood horse is not only competitive but he wants to dominate his opponent. He is the horse that plays the roughest with other horses. When the young Wood horse is turned out with older horses he will often get multiple kick and bite injuries as his pasture mates attempt to discipline him. He is not one to back down and take no for an answer.
Unlike other horse temperaments, you may not want to stay focused too long on a solid foundation. The Wood horse will learn best within the context of a challenging job. Perfect his stopping and turning skills by following a cow or negotiating a jump course. The Wood horse gets bored very easily so be sure and take him to new places and teach him new things on a regular basis. You never want to fight with a Wood horse but be prepared to stand your ground when differences of opinion occur. The Wood horse does not enjoy working harder than needed so make extra work a consequence of bad behavior. Let the Wood horse learn patience by standing tied to an overhead tree branch where he can stay occupied watching other horses work.
Once you have found an event for your Wood horse to excel in you must resist training him too hard. The Wood horse who loves his job will work even when he is tired or injured. The Wood horse is naturally strong so work sessions should focus on creating flexibility and endurance. Avoid arena work when possible and get your Wood horse out on the trails or working cows to keep his mind engaged. If you have to work in an arena then set up obstacles such as bridges, logs to drag, big balls to push on etc. Keep the lessons fun and challenging.
Feeding the Wood Temperament Horse
Wood needs just the right amount of moisture to maintain its usefulness. Too much moisture and it will rot. Too little and it will become brittle. If the Wood horse is fed too much rich food he will build up dampness in his system which shows as stocking up in the legs. He can also get hard to handle if excess rich food causes his system to overheat. At the same time the Wood horse needs plenty of blood to nourish his connective tissues and keep them supple. Chlorophyll is the blood of a tree and chlorophyll rich foods, such as blue green algae and alfalfa hay, are very beneficial to a Wood horse.
The liver is the organ most likely to be weak in the Wood horse. The liver is responsible for detoxifying the body as well as maintaining steady sugar levels in the blood. To make the job easier for the liver, it is best to feed the Wood horse a simple, low carbohydrate diet. Avoid feeding multiple formulated supplements or herbal mixes. The single herb, milk thistle, is good for liver support.
The Essence of the Wood Temperament Horse
The Wood horse is strong, athletic and proud. He loves to win. When working at a challenging job the Wood horse stays focused and engaged but when forced to drill on basics he can become distracted and willful. The Wood horse needs a simple, low starch diet with added high chlorophyll containing foods. The Wood horse is the ultimate competitor and can do any job that lets him show his ability to be the best.
Please also enjoy all of Dr. Ward's web resources:
Holistic Horse: your guide to natural horse health