Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years. Homeopathy is something I had never really been into (except for my arnica remedy) until around 10 years ago. The more I read about how it worked with horses and other animals the more I thought Ė I must check this out.
Even though I had spoken to several homeopaths I wasn't ready to find out more at that particular time. Then probably a year later almost too strangely to be a coincidence Lynley Daly, a homeopath, turned up on my door step wanting to do a herbal and aromatherapy workshop. She later suggested a remedy for one of my horses, which seemed to work like magic and I was hooked! I then met another homeopath Diana Bowyer who has patiently helped me with numerous questions over the years. So much to learn and so interesting the responses.
Homeopathy is based on the theory of Ďlike treating likeí. Samuel Hahnemann found that a substance that produces a certain set of symptoms in a healthy person could cure a sick person with those same symptoms. What they are actually given is not the substance itself, but a dilution of it that is so weak that none of the original substance remains - only its unique energy pattern. The results from using these remedies can be quite amazing.
Homeopathy has been around for over 200 years and is commonly used for all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
I use various homeopathic remedies mostly on a first aid type basis for things like muscular aches and stiffness, swellings and inflammation, feet problems, nerve damage, for calming when hyped up at a competition etc and the list goes on.
I work with advice from the homeopathic pharmacists at Simmillimum Homeopathic Pharmacy in Wellington. Free phone 0800 ARNICA (276422) or or www.simillimum.co.nz. They have some great homeopathic information on there and are very helpful.
Flower Essences have been around for many years. Flower Essences have been around for many years. Originally there were the Bach Flower Remedies which nearly everyone has heard of, but now there are many different types from many countries. Around 15 years ago I started reading about Australian Flower Essences and then soon after when I went to the UK I got into Bach Flower Remedies. I experimented with them for different things and found they worked well.
Flower Remedies or Essences are made in a very similar way to homeopathic remedies. They are not usually used to treat an actual physical disease but rather the emotional state of the patient. They can be used to help resolve fear and anxiety, anger, grief, and many other emotions which may affect our physical health.
While most people have heard of Rescue Remedy - which is a combination of remedies - by asking a series of questions I can make up a personally chosen combination of remedies for you or your horse for your individual problem.
They are all so interesting how they work and the effects they have. I have used many blends with horses and riders and also dogs for different situations with great success.
Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years. Plant based medicines have been associated with most countries in the world. I first took an interest in Herbal Medicine over 20 years ago when my step-mother had a herb garden with lots of wonderful smells. She used to make up a poultice to put on one of her horses legs made up from comfrey and other secret ingredients.
When I returned to New Zealand soon after I attended various herbal workshops and courses and started growing my own herbs. I also made products from the herbs I grew and eventually ended up selling them. I was asked to do talks and workshops on herbs and their uses. I have run a lot of these workshops over the years - up until my Equine Therapy work became full time. I had always hoped to grow enough herbs to make my own horse products but unfortunately just never had enough space or time.
When horses had larger areas to roam they would instinctively choose what they needed from the many plants around them. There are still a few wild herbs in our paddocks and Iím sure some of our horses still know how to search them out and self medicate when they have imbalances and dietary needs.
I use herbal remedies for promoting horse health and for various problems. I use and recommend products from Hira Labs in Wanganui. Phone Everdien 06 345 0737 or check out their website at www.hiralabs.co.nz
Some people find it a bit strange when I say that I use aromatherapy on animals. Essential oils are used in so many products these days and a lot of the time we donít even realize it. Most balms, creams and insect repellents use essential oils.
Aromatherapy uses the sense of smell (aromas) with the sense of touch (massage) to heal the body, mind and spirit. Aromatic extracts have been used for thousands of years throughout history.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile extracts taken from plants, flowers, barks, fruits and woods. Each essential oil has different chemical constituents, which is how they have different therapeutic properties. There are oils to stimulate and oils that help relax, oils for pain relief and that work on a physical level, and oils that help with emotional problems.
Aromatherapy can help with behavioural or emotional problems such as spooking and fear, past traumas or separation. It can be used to help physical symptoms such as skin problems like mud fever, irritations and bites, and also promote the healing of cuts and wounds. It also helps with muscular aches and pains, spasms and stiffness.
The way I use essential oils with horses is to choose a few oils for whatever problem they may have Ė eg. if they have muscular aches and pains then I would choose essential oils for muscular problems. I then let the horse choose what oils they like the smell of. Of course you get some horses that love all of the oils and some that may only like one or two of them. I believe by letting them choose you aren't covering them in something they donít like and should get a more positive response.
I then dilute the oils in a carrier or base oil and use it on the areas that need it. There are some oils that donít agree with horses so you do have to be a bit careful with which ones you choose.
I have been using essential oils for over 20 years now and have seen a few negative reactions from using the wrong oils for the wrong thing in untrained hands. They are very concentrated so do have to be used with care. Skin conditions require a bit of caution as well as using the wrong oil can make the condition worse and cause irritation. I also never let the horses take them internally or put them on their skin undiluted.
Some essential oils contain chemical constituents that can be swab able. I recommend not using your aromatherapy blend on your horse 2 weeks before a competition where it is possible you may be swabbed - just to be on the safe side.
I certainly couldnít imagine a life without smell and the results from using aromatherapy on some horses have been amazing.