Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why 3TF Chooses Herbs

I get asked all the time about how and why I got involved in using herbs for horses. Right after college I was lucky enough to work for two different alternative veterinarians who introduced me to a different way of thinking about horse health care. One vet specialized in Acupuncture and Chiropractics and the other was trained in Homeopathy. I think that through my experiences with these women the door was opened to all kinds of possibility. Although I spent some time studying Chinese medicine and was first introduced to herbal healing through Chinese medicine I wanted to connect more with what was going on in my own backyard, so to speak. I love the forest of the Pacific Northwest and it seems I can never live anywhere for very long without feeling the pull to come home, so about ten years ago I started studying and experimenting with more local herbs and how they might enhance 3TF horses' health and performance.

With the economic decline I was forced to get more creative about meeting the health needs of 3TF's horses and I turned more and more to herbs for filling those requirements. I noticed that the more I looked the more I was able to find ways to help our horses by the plants I was finding around our Creswell location. For a few dollars in seeds as well as receiving donations from friends with abundant gardens we were able to significantly expand what we are able to produce here at home. We not only continue to invest in our own gardens as funding allows, but we have an abundance of several herbs and have been able to help others do the same do the same by sharing that which we have extra of. Live plants as well as seeds are always available for people attending our Herb Walks.

Our Herb Walks were born out of a desire to share and support others in similar difficult economic circumstances as well as being able to share the passion and excitement that comes with re-connecting with our natural environment. It is impossible to be connected to our environment and actively harming it at the same time. I can't begin to tell you how much more satisfying it is to go into the garden and harvest leaves from the plants we have, or take the dogs for a quick hike in the woods to grab some of what I need. Using herbs I feel also better connects me to my horses, because when I am with them I am checking for subtler things. Does Poppy's coughing sound dry and unproductive? Do her eyes appear to have excesses mucus? What's her energy level like? If it all sounds too much or too hard don't worry, once you start to get the hang of it, it becomes a rewarding challenge. It always reminds me a bit of my favorite childhood game Clue.

Our Herb Walks are designed to support people on their herbal journey. As we wrap up our 2012 Herb Walks we already have our sights set on even more wonderful and empowering herbal classes for people. We couldn't have done it without all the help from our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs who have made these Herb Walks possible for a number of disadvantaged youth and people working in equine rescue and we look forward to bringing herbs into many more people's lives in 2013.

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