A horse’s fluid body movement is completely dependent on the health of his joints. It follows that the health of the joints is dependent on a harmonious flow of chi (life-promoting energy) surrounding and through these joints. Unfortunately, the free flow of chi through the horse’s joints can be easily obstructed by something as simple as cold weather, which constricts and slows the flow of chi, or as chronic and painful as arthritis.
Even when there’s no trauma to the joint or an aging issue, chi flow tends to be slowed or stuck above and below joints. Offering your horse a brief acupressure session before exercise would be both kind and beneficial to enhance his comfort level.
The acupressure points, also called acupoints, selected for the chart below, can increase the horse’s flexibility by bringing nourishing chi, blood and synovial fluids to the movable joints such as the shoulder, hip, stifle, and hock joints.
These acupoints further support the health of cartilaginous joints including the horse’s vertebrae and pelvis, plus, the fibrous joints in the sutures of his skull.
How to Perform an Acupressure Session
A session incorporates therapeutic intent with the understanding that your connection with your horse is a dynamic energy exchange between two equal partners. It begins with selecting a location that is safe and has few distractions.
Take three deep breaths then rest one hand on your horse wherever it is comfortable. With your other hand place the soft tip of your thumb or two-fingers (see photographs), depending on what is most comfortable for you, on an acupoint shown in the chart.
All of the acupoints on the chart are bilateral; we suggest you work with these points on both sides of your horse. Watch your horse’s reaction to the point work. Healthy energy releases are: yawning, deep breathing, muscle twitches, release of air, and softening of the eye. If your horse is overly reactive to a particular point or exhibits a pain reaction, move on to the next point. Try that point again at a later session.
When you have completed the point work, give your horse a hug, and allow him to rest or turn him out for at least 24 hours for his chi to circulate and replenish his body.
This article first appeared in Horsemanship Magazine UK – holistic equine specialists.
Learn how to use acupressure to treat a variety of conditions in Amy and Nancy’s other articles here on Animal Wellness Guide, in their hands-on and online courses, and in their books on canine, feline and equine acupressure: