Nourish your senior horse with acupressure

By Amy SnowNancy Zidonis

Performing gentle acupressure sessions on your senior horse can help enhance his spirit, strength, and longevity.

The more time that passes, the dearer our senior horses become. We share many good times and a few hardships with these equines, growing closer to them through each new experience. So when their beautiful bones become more visible, the hairs around their muzzle turn gray, and they develop a hitch in their step – it’s not easy for us to watch. But while a senior horse often loses his status in a herd, and might not be able to sail over jumps with as much ease, he can still thrive well into his golden years! As long as he’s still here, there are steps you can take to maximize his quality of life – including acupressure.

Supporting his spirit

The more you can support your senior horse during this period of his life, the longer you will have him to love. Chinese medicine offers caring, gentle methods of nourishing your senior horse’s spirit, strength, and longevity. By promoting the harmonious flow of chi, blood, and other vital substances within the horse’s body, you can help him through these latter years in comfort.

Specific acupressure points, called “acupoints”, address and enhance the spirit as your aging horse adjusts to his changing status within the herd. Helping our horses live healthfully and comfortably as they age is the goal, and there are acupoints to help accomplish this.

According to Chinese medicine, emotions impact the horse’s entire being. The ancient Chinese saying, “The spirit is housed in the heart and revealed in the eyes,” couldn’t be truer for horses. When we see a horse with dull, absent-looking eyes, we know he is suffering. An aging horse is bound to lose status in the herd, and is bound to experience a wide variety of emotions during the adjustment period – from fear and anxiety to resignation and withdrawal. Offer your senior an acupressure session that can help calm and nourish his spirit, and clear his mind.

Strengthening muscles

Muscle tone and mass decrease with age; that’s the way it is. However, there are acupoints that enhance the circulation of energy and nourishing blood to the horse’s muscles, helping to sustain and build strength even as he ages. Two actions must occur to accomplish this. First, the horse’s digestive system must be able to break down the ingested forage into bioavailable nutrients; and second, the horse’s vascular system must be able to circulate nutrient-rich blood to the muscles.

When stimulated, the acupoints indicated in the chart below help strengthen muscles and sustain muscle tone, while also supporting digestion and blood circulation.

Equine longevity

Living a long time is one thing. Living a long time in good health is another. We all wish for our senior horses to live long and well. Chinese medicine is known for its attention to longevity. Ancient Chinese doctors knew that longevity is dependent on a robust flow of life-promoting energy (chi), blood, and the circulation and balance of all the vital substances needed to nourish the body. This is a tall order, acupoints known to enhance longevity have been used for thousands of years.

Between current conventional medicine and ancient Chinese medicine, we have the opportunity to enjoy our senior horses longer than ever before. These elders have nourished our lives, so it feels good to offer them acupressure sessions that help them feel their best. In many ways, our caring nourishes us both.