A: That’s a tough and often abstract or subjective answer. For me though, it means the whole body working in unison for complete harmony and health. Cheesy answer, I know, but it’s true. The long answer would be, there is balance at many different levels. There is balance of the feet, so that they can grow as uniformly, symmetrically, and in a manner that allows the feet to require little hoof care over time, i.e., the hoof care necessary should be only enough to keep the feet in perfect balance. That’s rare, but that’s the goal. The next level of balance to me is that of the body. Most creatures tend to be asymmetrical, but through guidance and help, we should be able to come closer to symmetry. That would mean that the shoulders, hips, spine and all the related muscles should be equal and even in relation to each ones counter part. Think of the body like that of a suspension bridge. If one cable is looser than the rest there isn’t perfect balance. If one footing is off, the bridge can’t be level, stable or in balance. If one beam of the bridge has more tension or is out of
place, there can’t be perfect balance. So, the body has to be as symmetrical as possible.
There is balance in the diet, and no, this doesn’t refer to micro-managing the diet. It simply means that the horse should be able to have available all the necessary vitamins, mineral, proteins, fats, etc, etc. that each specific horse requires, based on the amount of work he does and based on his body type. If the horse has the right diet and nutrients, then the body should be able to produce any chemical or supplement that horses body needs. We shouldn’t have to micro-manage the diet to ensure that ‘we’ feed 2 units of zinc, 4 units of vitamin C, 1 unit of fat, 1/2 unit of protein, and on and on. That’s getting in the horses way. Besides, that kind of diet regulation can get very expensive and will likely wind up driving you and/or the horse nuts. Just provide the basics and let the horse do the rest. If the digestive track of the horse is balanced, he will be able to handle extracting just what he needs from his diet. If it’s not balance, help it become so, and then get out of the way.
Let the body take over. Nature is a pretty amazing thing. Quite often, she knows better than we do. After all, she’s been managing all things great and small for a lot longer than we have, regardless of what we humans thing is best for the world.
Next there’s balance in the environment. This has to do with various surfaces for the horse to walk across, various sources of water, good air, various dirts and soils, various grasses, plants, shrubs and scrubs to graze upon. The greater the grazing area and the greater the varied plants to eat, the better the horse will be able to extract most, if not all, the food and nutrients it needs.
Nature is at work again and providing just what that horse needs.
The problem is, we don’t all have enough pasture and grazing area for our horses. So, this is where we can be inventive or creative to help mimic Nature the best we can. Just think outside the box. Oh, hills and flat land are all part of a balanced environment. Some people are lucky enough to have that naturally. Others have to create it the best way possible.
Balance means complete harmony between all interacting factors and variables. For the horse, that starts from the ground and works it’s way up. Balance can also be a state of mind. If you think in balanced terms, you should be able to achieve balance & harmony.