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Five Element Theory

The Five Element Theory in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) plays an important role in diagnosing and treating patients. The Five Elements are FIRE, EARTH, METAL, WATER, and WOOD. Scroll down to learn more about your horses unique TCVM constitution (elemental personality) and how imbalances in their element may affect their health and well being. 

Horseback Riding


Horses with a FIRE constitution are playful, friendly, sensitive, vocal, like petting and enjoy being the center of attention. The Emperor! 

An unbalanced FIRE horse may be hyperactive, considered to be a "drama queen", have anxiety or a TCVM Shen Disturbance and may have or be predisposed to a HEART condition. 

General FIRE Element Characteristics 

  • Season: Summer

  • Climate: Heat

  • Direction: South

  • Color: Red

  • Flavor: Bitter

  • Sound: Laughing

  • Emotion: Joy

  • Growth: Sexual (Teenage/early adult)

General FIRE Body Characteristics


  • Orifice: Tongue

  • Sense: Speech

  • Tissues: Blood Vessels

  • Functions: Circulation, Mind, SHEN

  • Exterior: Complexion

  • Secretion: Sweat 

  • Tongue area: Tip 

Horse Whisperer


Horses with an EARTH constitution are laid back, easy going, friendly, slow moving, sweet and tolerant. The Nurturer! 

An unbalanced EARTH horse may seem to have excessive worry, be obese and have or be predisposed to Gastrointestinal Disease. 

General EARTH Element Characteristics

  • Season: Late Summer

  • Climate: Damp

  • Direction: Center

  • Color: Yellow

  • Flavor: Sweet

  • Sound: Singing

  • Emotion: Worry

  • Growth: Transformation (middle adult)

General EARTH Body Characteristics


  • Orifice: Stomach

  • Sense: Mouth

  • Tissues: Muscles

  • Functions: Digestion

  • Exterior: Lips

  • Secretion: Saliva

  • Tongue area: Center

Horse in a Cage


Horses with a METAL constitution are aloof, quiet, independent, like order, rules and structure. The Prime Minister! 

An unbalanced METAL horse will be upset with changes, have sadness or grief, depression and be prone to LUNG disease. 

General METAL Element Characteristics

  • Season: Fall

  • Climate: Dry

  • Direction: West

  • Color: White

  • Flavor: Pungent 

  • Sound: Weeping

  • Emotion: Sadness

  • Growth: Reaping (later adult)

General METAL Body Characteristics


  • Orifice: Nose

  • Sense: Smell

  • Tissues: Skin

  • Functions: Respiration

  • Exterior: Skin Pores

  • Secretion: Nasal Fluid 

  • Tongue: Midtip 



Horses with a WATER constitution are timid, shy, fearful, nervous and may bite or kick. The Water Manager! 

An unbalanced WATER horse may withdraw completely, have or be predisposed to renal disease, arthritis, premature aging. 



Horses with a WOOD constitution are dominant, aggressive, confident and fearless. The General! 

An unbalanced WOOD horse may be irritable, angry, bite, and have or be predisposed to hoof or tendon/ligament issues/injuries, liver disorders, eye problems or seizures. 

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What is your horses constitution? 


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