Wood Horse: The Ultimate Competitor
The Wood horse is full of life. He is strong and athletic. He loves to run, win, and play hard. He likes to work but also wants his work to challenge him.
The Wood horse has a self assured presence that causes him to stand out in a crowd. When the energy of the Wood horse is directed towards
a competition it can produce a breath taking performance. If the Wood horse is allowed to grow restless and not given a goal he can easily
become a dangerous outlaw.
When working at a challenging job the Wood horse stays focused and engaged but when forced to drill on basics he can become distracted and willful. The Wood horse is the ultimate competitor and can do any job that lets him show his ability to be the best.
The Essence of the Wood Horse
The Wood horse is strong, athletic and proud. He loves to win. When working at a challenging job the Wood horse stays focused and engaged
but when forced to drill on basics he can become distracted and willful. The Wood horse needs a simple, low starch diet with added high chlorophyl
containing foods. The Wood horse is the ultimate competitor and can do any job that lets him show his ability to be the best.
Horse Temperament: The 2 types of Wood horse
When a person thinks about the Wood horse temperament what often comes to mind is a racehorse. The Wood horse temperament is powerful, athletic, smart and headstrong. These are great characteristics for a racehorse but not so good if you want a horse of your own to compete and have fun with. Yet, there are people out there competing and winning on Wood horses and having a blast with them. So what gives? The secret is they are buying a whole different type of Wood horse than the classic race horse Wood.
It has taken me a few years to understand that there are 2 types of Wood horse temperament, the classic racehorse and the less intense, show horse Wood. The racehorse Wood is typically a thoroughbred or appendix type quarter horse while your show horse is your ranch bred quarter horse or warmblood. Of course, any breed can be either type Wood but these are simply examples.
The racehorse Wood temperament is all about power and speed. He is not intimidated or easily shifted off his opinions. The racehorse Wood wants to win at all costs. This Wood type has been bred for competing and winning for so long that it is in his makeup. It is as much an instinct to him as eating or drinking. Running is what he loves to do.
The racehorse type Wood can withstand the rigors of race training because he is happy doing that job but put him in a show barn and he can develop many health challenges and vices. Ulcers, cribbing or stall weaving are just a few examples of what happens with a racehorse Wood that is not coping. To keep the racehorse Wood healthy and happy you better have a training program that includes plenty of physical exercise. Pasture turnout and other Wood horse buddies can help as well. Be firm but avoid confrontation. Instead work to redirect any excess exuberance into constructive exercises.
If you take the racehorse Wood and dial him back about 50% you get the show horse Wood. Show horse breeders have recognized the challenge of dealing with a racehorse Wood so they have crossed him on ranch type quarter horses or drafts to bring down the intense energy. The show horse Wood is still a great competitor but he does not have the same intense desire to run. As a matter of fact, the show horse Wood can border on lazy if he is not enjoying his work. The show horse Wood can even balk or buck if he does not want to do something.
The show horse Wood does enjoy competing. He likes to win and thrives on a training program that focuses on improving his skills and strength. He does not seem to mind working when he sees a reason for it. The show horse Wood does not tolerate being drilled on exercises that are not directly related to his job. For example, if you want to work on transitions of lead changes do this between small jumps or barrels setup in a pattern. Get out of the ring anytime you can and work in open fields or on the trail. Take you english Wood show horse to work cows or you cow horse to jump jumps.
The show type Wood horse temperament does not have as many health and stall vices when stressed but they sure will get unruly. Expect to find buckets and tubs destroyed when the show type Wood horse gets bored. Pawing and kicking are signs of the show Wood horse with too much feed and not enough work. If your show horse type Wood has to live in a stall make sure he is tired when he is in it. He may not be going out for regular gallops like the race horse Wood but you can sure take him to the round pen or for a long ride on off training days.
So it you are looking to buy a Wood horse temperament of any breed, think carefully about what you are wanting and able to handle. So many times a person is thrilled by watching a racehorse type Wood perform but has the job and skill level for a show horse type Wood. This is why one person can have a Wood show horse that they love and win consistently with while another has a Wood horse temperament that borders on dangerous if not handled expertly. It is not the Wood horse that is the problem but the type Wood horse that is not a match for the expectations of the person.
When Exposed to Stress the Wood Horse Shows Anger.
The Wood horse shows anger by kicking in the stall and destroying objects within his reach. Crushed buckets or bent gates are suggestive of a Wood horse under
stress. Under saddle the stressed Wood horse temperament will refuse to go forward and want to argue about every exercise or task presented. The Wood Element
can become Imbalanced when there is exposure to windy weather conditions.
Tendency to balk
Ligament or tendon injury
Hard heat cycles
Tightness over ribs
WOOD Balancing Formula: Willing with Balanced Energy
The Wood Horse Formula is based on the unique needs of this temperament type.
Cleansing herbs to offset the tendency of the Wood horse to build up
toxins in his tissues.
Specific amino acids and minerals are included to help the Wood horse
build strong connective tissues and hooves.
Additional amino acids are used to support the attitude of the Wood horse
to help him be more forgiving and less inclined to be angry.
This formula is specifically designed to maintain balance in the Wood horse but it can also be used in other temperament types experiencing imbalance in the Wood element due to exposure to windy weather conditions.
For all the Balancing Formulas, an 8 day course, given once a month is the suggested protocol for maintaining balance. However longer courses of ½ a dose a day may be needed for the horse in training or under stress (physical or emotional). One bag will last 4 month if given the first 8 days of every month.
Stress is going to be a part of our horse’s lives so it is important to recognize it. Often stress behavior is mistaken for bad behavior and the horse is punished which creates more stress. A better option is to offer specialized nutritional support to mitigate the stress emotions. If the negative stress emotions are lessened then they are less likely to lead to behavior or physical health issues in the horse. In other words, if we can’t make the stress go away we can help the horse have less of a negative reaction to it.
Reducing stress emotions is an important part of the principle behind the Five Element balancing formulas. These formulas are very carefully designed to provide each horse temperament with the nutrients specifically needed by his type when under stress. Providing these extra nutrients will decrease the occurrence of stress emotions.
We are ready to take orders for these balancing formulas. If you don’t know your horse’s type we have expert typologists to help you. We are excited to offer Five Element balancing formulas and are very much look forward to hearing from you on how they are working for your horse. So far the feedback has been quite positive.
Top 3 Supplements for the Hot Wood Horse Temperament
The Hot Wood horse temperament is energetic, athletic and highly competitive. Think about the famous Thoroughbred racehorse, Secretariat and you have the
picture or a classic Hot Wood horse temperament. The Cold Wood horse temperament is also a hard working horse but with a slower metabolism. With Warmbloods,
Draft breeds and some ranch type Quarter horses you are more likely to see Cold Wood horse temperaments.
The goal with the Hot Wood horse is to keep his energy flowing in a positive direction. If the Hot Wood horse is not directed down a good path he can become aggressive. On the health side, the liver and gallbladder are the organs associated with the Wood element. A horse does not actually have a gallbladder but the liver still produces bile so the Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) term, Gall Bladder, applies to this function as well as an energetic function. The Wood element controls the connective tissues and the Hot Wood horse is prone to inflammation and dryness in these tissues. The 3 top supplements for the Hot Wood horse help promote the smooth flow of Qi(energy), support the function of the liver and gall bladder and nourish the connective tissues. Therefore, 3 top supplements for the Hot Wood horse temperament include flax seeds, dandelion root and an algae combination.
Flax Seeds - Flax seeds provide quality fat that is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Poor quality fats, like corn oil, provide energy but are higher in omega 6 fatty acids that can aggravate inflammation and produce erratic energy. Flax has a sweet flavor, which helps ground and sooth the Hot Wood horse energy. Flax also provides a slow, regular energy to help keep the Hot Wood horse temperament focused. Flax seeds can be fed whole to a horse with properly functioning teeth. Up to 2 cups a day can be fed to a hard working Hot Wood horse. Flax seeds can also be mixed with beet pulp, whole oats or and control release energy feed such as Thrive.
Dandelion Root - Dandelion root has a very balanced mineral and vitamin profile. Dandelion root is considered a liver tonic. It also helps absorb toxins in the digestive tract and supports healthy gut flora. A healthy digestive system delivers clean nutrients to the liver for processing. Dandelion herb is one of the few herbs that supports both liver and gallbladder function. I like to give the Hot Wood horse a course of 1 TBS dandelion root twice a day for 7 to 10 days each month.
Algae Combination - The Hot Wood horse benefits from the nutrients, chlorophyl and Yin qualities of most algae. Rather than any one type of algae, I prefer an algae combination that contains Chlorella, spirulina, AFA, and 4 types of sea algae. The combination of fresh and salt water algae provides a wide range of nutrients to support healthy connective tissues. The sea algae, such as kelp, bring in the salty flavor and Yin energy which helps to nourish and moisten the body and calm the mind.
The Hot Wood horse is naturally high in energy and he needs a good job as a healthy outlet for his enthusiasm. A grounding feed can help keep energy focused and positive so it is not expended in negative behavior. He also needs nutritional support for his liver, gallbladder and connective tissues. Flax seeds, dandelion root and an algae combination fit these needs so they are 3 top supplements for the Hot Wood horse.
Top 3 Supplements for the Cold Wood Horse Temperament
The Cold Wood horse temperament is strong, athletic and sometimes willful. The Cold Wood horse is similar to but less energetic that the Hot Wood horse. The Cold Wood
horse temperament is also a hard working horse but with a slower metabolism. With Warmbloods, Draft breeds and some ranch type Quarter horses you are more likely to
see Cold Wood horse temperaments.
On the health side, the liver and gallbladder are the organs associated with the Wood element. A horse does not actually have a gallbladder but the liver still produces bile so the Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) term, Gall Bladder, applies to this function as well as an energetic function. The goal with the Hot Wood horse is to keep his energy flowing in a positive direction but in the Cold Wood horse is too build his energy. The Cold Wood horse can become overweight and struggle with carbohydrate metabolism. It is not uncommon to see insulin resistance develop in the Cold wood horse.
The slower metabolism of the Cold Wood horse can allow toxins to build up in his system so the detoxification function of the liver is especially important. The 3 top supplements for the Cold Wood horse help promote more Qi(energy), encourage good carbohydrate metabolism and support the detoxification function of the liver. Therefore, 3 top supplements for the Cold Wood horse temperament include AFA algae, apple cider vinegar and tonic mushrooms.
AFA Blue Green Algae - AFA algae is provides the body with slow release energy provided by its glycogen like cell wall. AFA algae is a nutrient dense food that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. The high chlorophyl content of AFA algae has a cleansing effect on the blood and promotes healthy gut bacteria. AFA algae is the perfect food to create energy without causing a horse to gain weight.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - Natural ACV has many qualities to help the Cold Wood horse. AVC contains the sour and bitter flavors which are both beneficial to support healthy liver function. ACV helps the liver in its function of breaking down proteins and fats. The healthier the blood the less a horse will attract flies and other biting insects. 1/4th cup of AVC added to the feed or offered in a separate water bucket works well.
Tonic Mushrooms - Tonic mushrooms, such as reishi and maitaki, protect the liver from damage by toxins. Tonic mushrooms strengthen the liver and help with carbohydrate metabolism. Tonic mushrooms can be very important to combat the fatty liver syndrome associated with chronic insulin resistance. Tonic mushrooms are also high in natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The Cold Wood horse needs nutrient dense food that provides energy and is easy to digest. A Cold Wood horse can tend to become overweight and struggle with proper digestion of nutrients. The slower metabolism of the Cold Wood horse can allow for toxins to build up in the blood. The Cold Wood horse that is overweight and toxic can show willful behavior because he does not feel well. If the Cold Wood horse is feed nutrient dense, whole foods and his liver is supported for proper carbohydrate metabolism and detoxification he will be a strong and willing partner. AFA blue green algae, ACV and tonic mushrooms fit these needs so they are 3 top supplements for the Cold Wood horse.
Training the Wood Temperament Horse
The Wood horse is born bold and willful. The Wood horse is not only competitive but he wants to dominate his opponent. He is the horse that plays the roughest with other horses.
When the young Wood horse is turned out with older horses he will often get multiple kick and bite injuries as his pasture mates attempt to discipline him. He is not one to back
down and take no for an answer.
Unlike other horse temperaments, you may not want to stay focused too long on a solid foundation. The Wood horse will learn best within the context of a challenging job. Perfect his stopping and turning skills by following a cow or negotiating a jump course. The Wood horse gets bored very easily so be sure and take him to new places and teach him new things on a regular basis. You never want to fight with a Wood horse but be prepared to stand your ground when differences of opinion occur. The Wood horse does not enjoy working harder than needed so make extra work a consequence of bad behavior. Let the Wood horse learn patience by standing tied to an overhead tree branch where he can stay occupied watching other horses work.
Once you have found an event for your Wood horse to excel in you must resist training him too hard. The Wood horse who loves his job will work even when he is tired or injured. The Wood horse is naturally strong so work sessions should focus on creating flexibility and endurance. Avoid arena work when possible and get your Wood horse out on the trails or working cows to keep his mind engaged. If you have to work in an arena then set up obstacles such as bridges, logs to drag, big balls to push on etc. Keep the lessons fun and challenging.
Problem Feeds for the Wood Temperament Horse
The Liver and Gall Bladder are the organs associated with the Wood element. Horses do not have a gall bladder to store bile but they do produce the bile needed to digest fats.
The liver has many functions but one of the most important is neutralizing toxins. The Wood horse does best on an easily digested, clean, simple diet. Poor quality oil, synthetic
vitamins and multiple herbs are 3 problem supplements for the Wood horse.
Vegetable oils, such as corn oil, are high in calories, hard to digest and full of omega 6 fatty acids. The horse is not equipped with a gall bladder to allow large amounts of bile to be available for digesting a high fat meal. Wood horses can be especially affected by too much fat if their liver is not producing adequate bile. Quality fats such as chia seeds, rice bran, flax or coconut oil are much better choices of fat for the Wood horse. Even good fats should be fed sparingly to the Wood horse.
Wood horses do not do well with large amounts of synthetic vitamins. Wood horses may handle the vitamin premixes in a feed but they should not be given formulated vitamin supplements. All horses do best with food source vitamins and AFA blue green algae is a really good choice of whole food nutrition for the Wood horse.
The Wood horse does not do well with supplements containing multiple herbs. Several herbs, such as milk thistle and dandelion are wonderful for liver support but some herbal products contain 10 or more herbs and the liver has to process the chemical components of herbs that are not needed. Multiple herbs can also dilute the beneficial effects of helpful herbs. If you are feeding herbal supplements to your Wood horse make sure that the supplement is needed and having a positive effect.