Alternative medicine for horses was very popular twenty years ago. Horse owners preferred to make and apply their own poultices and concoctions of pine tar, Epsom salts and oil of peppermint. Vet medicine was too expensive for most farmers and the waiting time for one to show up at the farm could be long.
Alternative medicine for horses has become big business. Many equine owners take it very seriously. There are books, magazines, web sites, and other media that offer holistic advice, therapies and products that cover the health of the whole horse and not just the specific ailment.
Many vets are skeptical of a holistic approach, just as many medical doctors are skeptical of their human patients using a whole body, mind, spirit approach to their own care and well being. Conventional medicine in horses as well as in humans, tend to view health as a disease-free state achieved by pharmaceuticals and surgery. The holistic approach of horse health comes from a completely different perspective. There is an interrelation between body, mind, and spirit and when either one is out of balance it can have negative effects on the whole. The alternative approach encompasses the whole animal and recognizes the importance of nutrition, physical fitness, and methods that treat the entire system and not just the affected part.
Another approach to natural horsemanship is the use of rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. I believe this also treats the horse as a whole, intelligent being.
If you are considering using an alternative approach to your horse’s health I suggest you do your research especially when using herbs and ointments. Most herbal remedies are safe to use but can be dangerous if they aren’t mixed properly or applied correctly. There are also other forms of holistic medicine including homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and nutrition.
The Holistic Horsekeeping website offers home study courses, home study test, and an online store. This would be a very good site to begin your research when preparing to use an alternative approach to the care of your equine.