It is a funny thing, you know, that most folk involved in the horse racing game are fairly down to earth types. The majority of them would not give the time of day to those ‘new age’ believers, let alone partake in their strange practices. But, if something like Bowen Therapy or Acupuncture seems to work on their horse, they will quietly incorporate that healing technique into their equine portfolio of cures. In addition to this pragmatic state of affairs, there is, also, the trainer who will try anything to give his charge the winning edge.
This is why the racing industry has invested millions of dollars in high tech laboratories all over the world to catch the drug cheats. But what about natural therapies for racehorses: from horse yoga to flower essences; where the advantage is not considered illegal? Behavioral sciences have impacted positively on thoroughbreds for years; in many ways the art of training itself is a behavioral science. Movements and manipulations, like remedial massage whether for man or beast, are therapeutic methodologies designed to heal and improve performance bio-mechanically. Horses have been massaged and manicured for millennia; it is nothing very new. Group yoga for horses; who knows?
Can homeopathy improve the running times of a racehorse? Can flower essences do likewise? Some will say definitely, and other will shake their heads and walk away smiling. Proof is only in the individual experience of the horse, trainer and owners. The racing game is seen as an extremely results orientated industry; with little time for quackery and sentimentality. The reality is a far different shore, with owners and trainers trying everything and anything g to save and/or advantage their four legged athletes. Alternative therapies are adjudged ineffective in humans by the medical science fraternity, so there is little hope of a positive consensus emerging in regards to the equine industry.
Animals are sensitive, however, and they do not rationalize and are not prone to the power of the placebo. If natural therapy treatments work on animals, then, surely they are truly effective. I do, invariably, come back to the self-healing tendency in all living creatures and that with time and rest nature will do the rest. Not in all cases, obviously, but in many. The problem is that we are all in a hurry; and time is money in the racing game. Owners and trainers do not want to fork out large sums of money for recuperating animals.