It's Elementary - The Water Element

The Wisdom of Water

Imagine entering a barn advertising a horse for sale. You walk down the aisle toward the prospect and suddenly your eyes are riveted on another horse. The lovely black mare focuses a laser beam look on you. As you return her gaze, you feel yourself falling into the depths of her mysterious dark eyes. Then you hear a quiet inner voice say “I am the one. When you ask if the mare is for sale, the barn owner responds with a list of the mare’s woes: difficult behavior, extreme sensitivities and vague but debilitating lower back pain. Even as you hear that, you ask how much she costs and write out the check.

The next day, when you get her back to your barn you feel concerned. The mare was difficult to load into the trailer and she has a wild eyed look as she enters her new home. She trembles with fear and looks ready to bolt. You feel like this too. But you breathe deeply and tap into that initial feeling of “rightness you had when you first saw her. Suddenly the horse exhales with relief, lowers her head, softens her eye and quietly enters her new stall as if she had always lived there. Somehow, instead of feeling surprised, you just smile. Welcome to the adventure of owning a Water horse!

Expect the Unexpected

The Water animal is different from the rest. If you’re looking for a “normal animal this is not the one for you! Water animals are quirky and unusual. They routinely confound  their handlers, trainers, riders and vets with odd behavior and un-diagnosable ailments. They even catalyze profound transformation in the lives of the people they’re closest to. On the bright side, if the two of you are a good match, your connection to her will be deeper and more emotionally satisfying than any animal you’ve known. The key to understanding the Water animal is to “expect the unexpected.


The Water Element animal is always changing. You may think your animal is an Earth or Wood or Fire or Metal constitution, but don’t be fooled. Like a chameleon who changes his color but remains a chameleon, the Water animal may look like another Element on the outside, but these are just passing phases. These Elemental “masks can last for months, even years. Then suddenly your slow-going “Earth mare turns into an athletic dynamo. It’s as if she’s become a Wood horse overnight. This sudden change of character hints at the essential Water character of your animal. You can refer to the previous Element articles to help you understand these temporary “masks but for now read on to grasp the nature of the Water Element.

Sailing Calmly through Rough Waters

Water animals display lightening quick behavioral changes. The Water animal can go from calm to fully panicked in seconds. It’s as if someone flicked a switch and now he’s lashing out or bolting away as if his survival depended on it. Then almost as quickly he regains his composure and gives you a “what just happened? look. At this point reprimand is useless as the “good horse would be confused as to why he’s being disciplined. Because a Water animal’s demeanor can change rapidly, handlers must remain ready to immediately shift gears to stay on top of potential “situations.

Exploring New Horizons

Owning a Water animal will challenge you to reassess long held assumptions about animal training and health care. You may need to experiment with unusual training methods to help her perform better. You may discover alternative health care approaches in your quest to improve her odd physical symptoms. Water animals often respond best to energy based techniques like acupressure, acupuncture, homeopathy, healing essences, Reiki  etc.

If you want to be just like everyone else at the barn or at the dog park, give it up. Though other animal owners may think you are crazy, you will see your animal getting healthier and happier and you will know that you were right to risk trying a new way of doing things. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your animal instead of relying solely on conventional “wisdom. You may even end teaching those friends a thing or two.

Emotional Honesty

Does your Water animal have a lameness, skin problem or behavioral pattern that defies diagnosis? Does he seem to be sensitive to everything in his environment? Water animals tend to be plagued by unique physical problems that keep a conventional vet scratching his head. But these odd conditions are REAL and their origin often lies in unexpected places. For example, the Water animal is acutely sensitive to the emotional environment. A water horse might develop a lameness when the emotions in the barn are thick with the performance pressure of an upcoming show. Or your Water dog might have an outbreak of hot spots (skin irritation subject to intense itching) when you are going through an angry divorce. Don’t dismiss these physical responses as mere coincidence. They are telling you to pay close attention to the emotions that surround your animal every day.

The Water animal is especially sensitive to emotions that are suppressed beneath a layer of false smiles. For example, when there are barn politics creating a big disturbance with the boarders but everyone is pretending it isn’t happening, the Water horse may become difficult to handle or develop a hacking cough.

She is emotionally sensitive. If you act differently than you feel, she experiences it as lying and it disturbs her deeply. Learn to express your emotions honestly and seek out companions who do the same.

The Canary in the Coal Mine

Water animals also react to energetic influences such as high power electrical lines passing through their pasture or back yard. And they are sensitive to physical substances like pesticides or chemical shampoos. They are the “canary in the coal mine warning us about the toxic nature of many everyday animal care practices. Again, do not dismiss this reaction, instead search for solutions. Maybe you need to learn how to use feng shui to mitigate the effect of power lines or experiment with natural skin care solutions like fly predators (for barns) or natural shampoos. If you feel uncomfortable going against conventional wisdom, just remember you’re a trendsetter not an oddball!

To be or not to be

It’s not uncommon for Water animals to experience life threatening situations, sometimes more than once. They may have serious colics, career-ending injuries, or chronic health conditions. Horses rescued from malnourishment or other abuses often show strong Water characteristics. Dogs that you picked up at the animal shelter may also fit into this category. Water animals have been known to go to the brink of death only to bounce back miraculously, forcing you to reexamine your beliefs about what is or isn’t possible. Others pass over early, as if they had learned or taught what they needed to in this life and were ready to go. Still others remain far into old age, teaching from their deep wellspring of wisdom.

Embrace the Adventure

So! Now that you think you have a Water animal, how do you handle the challenges inherent in caring for him? First of all embrace the adventure, expect the unexpected and listen to your equine partner. Surrender your dreams of riding Grand Prix dressage – or even riding at all – and enter into deep relationship with the horse to see where his destiny really lies. You may have bought your horse for competition but he may have other ideas! To uncover the Water horse’s plans, stay open to new forms of intuitive communication. He may speak to you in dreams or through an animal communicator.

The Water dog as your average companion dog? Not exactly!! You may have envisioned lazy walks in the forest, not the round of strange and challenging behavioral and physical symptoms that need constant attention. This dog needs more than the short walk each morning and evening, he needs your full attention to help you both progress on your path of emotional and spiritual development! Are you ready for that? If you think you are then you will do well!

When you connect with the visions, dreams and communications given to you by the Water animal, trust what you are picking up, regardless of what conventional “wisdom may dictate. This animal goes beyond convention. If he comes to you in a dream and tells you about his athletic ambitions, give that information serious consideration. If you notice that he goes lame every time you have a show scheduled, he’s telling you he does not want to be a performance animal. In some cases you may need to accept that your Water horse is happiest as a pasture ornament. In that case, if you still want to ride or compete you may need to consider leasing another horse. If you can wrap your head around what’s really going on with your Water horse you’ve made the first step toward a happy life together. The same goes for your ideas of having the perfect easy family dog. Wrap your head around the REAL situation and you will do fine.

Mystical Partner

Accept your Water animal as your teacher and guide. He is wise and can help guide you on your path, showing you much along the way. His wisdom will catalyze profound and lasting transformation in your life. Many Water animal owners see their animals as a spiritual teacher with four legs. You, too, may be surprised to see yourself discover a different way of looking at things after living in his presence. A word to the wise, while he may be your teacher on the spirit plane, back here on earth, for safety, you still need to be the leader with your Water animal while riding, training and doing groundwork.

And finally: Trust. Trust your Water animal, yourself and your intuition. Trust your relationship. This animal has plans for you. The only question is whether or not you are prepared to jump into those deep waters! If not, you'll be happier with another animal. If so, then be prepared for a truly unique adventure!

The Water Element at a Glance

Element theory recognizes five primary patterns of symptoms in an animal’s body functions, emotional characteristics and other aspects of health and well-being. These five patterns help practitioners determine which organ system and meridian pathway needs healing and support. Below are the Water Element qualities. For example, an unusual and sensitive horse who has difficult to pin down symptoms may have a Water constitution. Water animals benefit from herbs, acupressure and lifestyle changes that balance the Water Element.

Emotional Characteristics of the Water Animal

Emotional strengths: Wisdom, spiritual connection, may display any or all of the emotional strengths of the other four Elements, deep sense of personal destiny and destiny of caretaker, committed to the fulfillment of that destiny against all odds (or resistance from you)

Stressed by: Emotional dishonesty, chaos, emotional insensitivity, conventional lifestyles and expectations, emotional difficulties in the living and working environment, people who think this animal is "just an animal"

Balanced by: Emotional honesty and forthrightness, rest time, healing work, emotional processing with caretaker/trainer/animal communicator, emotional respect

Vulnerable to: Extreme sensitivity, may display emotional weakness of the other four Elements, extreme displays of behavior especially fear/panic as if survival is threatened

Responds to stress with: Strange or extreme behavior, sometimes self destructive, odd physical ailments connected to emotional stress (personal or in surroundings), stable vices like weaving or cribbing

Learning style: Benefits from: deep intimate connection with a partner, close attention to the animal’s REAL goals/destiny. Learning style influenced heavily by “mask Element.

Tips for Success: Trust the relationship between you and your animal, trust your self and your intuition in making decisions about the animal, expect the unexpected, look deeply and creatively for solutions, maintain appropriate leadership during handling for safety but otherwise be guided in your unique path toward personal evolution, surrender to your destiny with this partner or sell the horse!

Physical Characteristics of the Water Animal

Favorite sports: No single sport pattern, sport strongly influenced by “mask Element. While some are stupendous performers many develop ailments or behavior that precludes them from heavy competition especially if they do not feel respect from the rider/handler

Common ailments: Odd even bizarre symptoms many of which will confuse or intrigue the vet, chronic disease – sometimes debilitating, many experience a “brush with death once or more, headshaking, EPM, Lymes disease, epilepsy (with dogs), Herpes, chronic skin irritation that causes continual itching or discomfort especially “sweet itch in which the mane, tail and belly midline is most strongly affected, “hot spots for dogs, bone breaks, joint issues, hearing loss, stiffness, arthritis, lumbar (lower back) pain or weakness, difficulty collecting or engaging the hind quarters, unusual water and/or salt consumption, susceptibility to cold weather, urinary disorders (i.e.: bladder infections), reproductive disorders (i.e.: fertility issues), thyroid issues. Water horses may also display the symptoms of their “mask Element.

Tips for Well-being: balance work and rest – especially for competitors, feed high quality salt (Himalayan or other specialty salts), bone/joint supplements, assure that the animal’s home is emotionally as well as physically healthy, avoid stables/homes that are near to electrical towers or other structures with high electromagnetic fields, pay attention to water quality, use healing essences like Bach flowers to support emotional balance, examine competition goals to see if they are embraced or rejected by the animal

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