Ayurveda is an ancient body of knowledge formed through the wisdom of the ancient seers, in their heightened states of awareness, some 5000 years ago. The first portion of the Sanskrit word – ‘Ayus’ means life, and ‘Veda’ means wisdom or science. So, Ayurveda is the Science of Life. Ayurveda is a body/mind medicine that connects bodies to experience, both emotionally and physically. Understanding a horse’s Dosha allows horse owners to support, improve and further develop relationships, health and performance.
Taking Comfort in the Cycle of Life
Horses consist of an ever-changing composition of trillions of communicating cells. Nothing acts in isolation. Just as nature changes with the seasons, the night changes to the day with the circadian rhythms, animals migrate and breed at certain rhythmical times, and various cycles feed one another. Horses, too, are a creation of nature that responds to experience and environment, both internally and externally. For example – they breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide – then the trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. It creates a rhythm and a cycle, which, when realized, can replenish and rejuvenate both species. Ayurveda is a natural science about living in harmony with nature in health and vitality. Ayurvedic medicine is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ but an example of individuality. We have all experienced a variety of horses. One horse can be irritable and flighty under the same circumstances, while another may be calm and relaxed.
S0 – What’s a Dosha?
Ayurveda has identified three main bio-energies called Doshas. These are body/mind constitutions that consist of various combinations of the five essential elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Space and Air. They are constantly unsettled by exposure and experience of life. Understanding the Doshas and implementing some simple practices allows for better overall wellness and balance of the horse.
Vata Dosha – Help your Horse Find a Restful State
The Vata Dosha consists of the elements of Space and Air. It means movement, transportation of gases and cellular communication, action, circulation, breathing, the beating of his heart. Like the air, it is subtle and tends to lean toward dryness. An overabundance of Vata creates feelings of anxiety, fear and worry in the horse. The fight or flight response is responsible for a horse’s survival through millions of years. It is an ancient primitive response grounded in the survival instinct. Breath becomes faster, adrenalin increases, and the immune system is suppressed. It may feel like sitting on a tightly wound coil about to spring and unravel. The idea is to understand what brings a horse to this brink and support a more aware response. Sure, he will still observe and be mindful of his surroundings, but he can also feel safe and be aware of a more restful state.
Pitta Dosha – Hot and Intense
Pitta is a combination of Fire and Water, which may seem contradictory but is like liquid fire and governs metabolism, conversions, digestion, and body heat. It is the body’s acids, hormones, enzymes, neuro and biochemical activities and has the qualities of being sharp and acidic. An imbalanced high level of this Dosha can make a horse angry, hostile, aggressive and even threatening.
Kapha Dosha – Grounded and Connected
Kapha Dosha – Kapha is Earth and Water – the connectivity that holds bones, muscles, tissues, and tendons together correctly with good tension. It is cold, heavy and static like the earth and smoothe like water. This horse is often the proverbial “easy keeper”. He likes his food and may require some encouragement to move. An imbalance here could make a horse sad, despondent, and lacking vitality.
What is your Horse’s Primary Dosha Type?
How Did your Horse Score?
Your horse scored 1-18: Your horse is in the Kapha realm
Your horse scored: Pita is your horse’s primary dosha
Your horse scored: 37-54: Your horse is mainly Vata
Every horse is endowed at birth with some of each Dosha. It is possible to describe pure Vatas, Pittas, and Kaphas because they have so much of one Dosha – they are extremes. This extreme is not true of most horses, however. Most horses are two dosha types, with one Dosha predominant. If one Dosha is much higher than the others, the horse is a single-dosha type. Most indicative is a score where the primary Dosha is twice as high as the second (for example, Vata-15, Pitta-30, Kapha-15), but smaller margins also count. The horse’s next highest Dosha will influence natural tendencies but to a much lesser degree. If no dosha is hugely dominant, he is a two-dosha type, meaning the horse displays qualities of two leading doshas, either side by side or in alternation. The higher one comes first in body type, but both count. Most horses are two-dosha types. In some, the first Dosha is very strong-they have scores like Vata-20, Pitta-40, Kapha-30, which would qualify as pure Pitta with some prominence of Kapha.
Once your horse’s primary Dosha is determined, here are some non-invasive practices to balance the effects:
This ancient science of Ayurveda studies all features of a horse’s environment, disposition, and tendencies. We even know which seasons affect which Doshas. We have guidelines to harmonize horse’s Dosha types through molecular biology, quantum physics, and quantum chemistry combinations.
We have all marvelled at the size of a horse’s nostrils. They respond strongly to scents and aroma. Here’s how to bring your horse into balance according to their primary dosha type:
How to Keep your Horse Balanced through Ayurveda
Vata is most prominent during late autumn through winter. This Dosha responds favourably to sounds and touch, so do talk to and touch this type of horse soothingly. Play relaxing music. For Vata types work with slower movements, balanced with grounding and stretching exercises—massage with heavy heating oils such as almond and sesame. Infuse the air with florals, fruity, sweet and sour scents like basil, orange, geranium, clove, vanilla and patchouli.
Pitta imbalance can begin in midsummer through early autumn. Pittas are sight-oriented. Provide a pleasant outlook that is most natural and nourishing. Exercise at a medium pace – a brisk walk or light jog. Massage your horse with cool, soothing oils, such as coconut, sunflower, and olive. Infuse with cooling, sweet scents such as sandalwood, mint, rose, jasmine and lavender.
Kapha is noticeable in late winter, spring, early summer. These horses have a higher-than-normal taste and smell. Activate their neuro associative function with spicy, stimulating, and invigorating scents such as eucalyptus, camphor, juniper, rosemary, clove, and marjoram. Kapha horses need to get the blood flowing. Exercise vigorously and energetically. Kapha tends to be heavy and lethargic. Massage with light warming oils like safflower, sunflower and mustard.
All Dosha types should be kept comfortable. Nailing metal into their feet does not work with nature to support natural flexion, circulation, or well-being. Our domestic riding horses require the best hoof protection available. Cavallo Hoof Boots deliver safety, support, traction, comfort and overall best value.
Oh yes, and let us not forget our beloved canines. Use this Dosha Quiz to assess, balance and assist dogs as well.