by Linda Rubin & Vern Lester
“My horse doesn’t feel good and I don’t know why.” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase or even said this yourself many times. We are so close to our horses. We feed them, clean them, ride them, work them and observe them. We even sleep with them when necessary. They can’t make a move without us knowing something is wrong. So, how do we know what’s wrong? If we can’t pinpoint the problem, out comes the fast dial to the vet. But what if the vet doesn’t necessarily find something wrong? What now? An Equine Iridologist (EI), of course!
“What the heck is an EI?” you ask, “How can they tell me what’s wrong with my horse?” To first understand Equine Iridology, you will need to know a little history on Iridology itself.
Iridology was practiced in Ancient Egypt, China, India and by the Early Chaldeans thousands of years ago where the practice of reading the iris to reveal existing or potential health challenges was the norm. It doesn’t require needles, anesthetics or drugs.
Iridology, as it is known today, was originated by a young 11 year old Hungarian boy named Ignatz von Peczely around 1861. The story goes when Ignatz accidently broke an owl’s leg he noticed a dark mark appear in the lower part of the owl’s iris. The owl stayed around and Ignatz noticed the dark mark began to lighten and eventually become almost unnoticeable. We now know that the lightening of the dark mark in the iris shows the process of healing for the injured area of the body. Ignatz later became a successful physician and developed one of the first truly accurate Iridology charts used today as a model for all modern iridology charts.
Bernard Jensen, a chiropractor, was instrumental in bringing iridology to light in America during the 1950s. According to Dr. Jensen, “Nerve fibers in the iris respond to changes in body tissues by manifesting a reflex physiology that corresponds to specific tissue changes and locations.” In Layman’s terms, by looking at the markings in the eye, the Iridologist can reveal existing or potential health problems, including chronic and acute inflammation, old injuries and/or health issues, current health issues, the root cause of recurring issues, inherited weaknesses and strengths, structural misalignments, origin of muscle spasms, digestive issues and much more.
Remember the old saying “the eyes are the windows to the soul”? I had to find the correlation to this long standing phrase. Years ago my Father went to the doctor not feeling well. The doctor, of Chinese descent, took one look at his eyes and told him to go to the hospital immediately as he was bleeding internally. Dad, a retired Marine Corps Captain, initially refused to go. After all, how could this doctor tell just by looking at his eyes? He hadn’t even examined him! The tests at the hospital proved that he was indeed bleeding internally! Now, years later, I had to find the answer. After much research, I found it.
It goes back to the beginning . . . in the embryo. According to Leanne Wrentmore, BSC (Hons), BTAA, Cert Equine Iridology, Cert ESEBT of Natural Horse Solutions, located in Oakham, Rutland, UK, at that point, the eye develops as a part of the brain and separates as the embryo continues to develop. Upon separation, the eye remains connected to the brain through the optic nerve, which is a projection of brain tissue. Therefore, changes in any part of the body or organs are then projected to the iris through the brain. During stress, the nerve endings from the affected organ start to recede, leaving the discoloration the Iridologist sees in the iris of that particular organ. How fascinating! You can see why the eye is one of the most complicated tissue structures of the body!
“So,” you ask, “how does an EI find out what is wrong with my horse?”
That’s the easy part. The EI first takes a picture of your horse’s eyes with a sophisticated camera and lens, giving the EI a clear picture of the iris (Figures 1 & 2). Pictures of both eyes are taken as each eye shows tissues and organs located in its respective side. Now comes the hard part. The EI then inserts the pictures into the computer, enlarging the image for better viewing. A chart (Figure 3) is used to help the EI in his or her diagnosis. Each major system of the horse’s body is mapped to a specific location in the iris which the EI uses to examine the markings shown to determine potential health problems, development of chronic diseases, the healing of a disease, inflammation or toxic congestion. The EI then prepares a profile of the horse for the owner showing acute, sub-acute, chronic and degenerative areas of tissue and organs.
Sharing this information with your vet is encouraged by the EI and in no way is intended to be used as a replacement for your vet or the medical treatment of your horse. It is important to note that Iridology does not reveal specific diseases. Condition of tissues and organs are reflected in the iris and serve as an opportunity to detect “early warning” signs by the EI. For example, it can tell the EI if your horse has any over or under activity in specific areas of the body, such as an under-active pancreas which could indicate a diabetic condition. Having the information obtained by the EI available for your vet may help in his or her further examination of your horse before more serious problems develop.
Mercedes Colburn, ND, PhD, of Through the Eye International says that one of the common problems shown with Equine Iridology involves the mesenteric artery. This artery is very important to the horses’ blood supply and if closed, will stop the life cycle of the horse causing the horse to colic and die. A white line in the mesenteric artery shows the horse has intestinal problems, usually involving an impaction of parasite eggs. Using a wormer that destroys the full grown parasites and the parasite eggs will greatly improve your horse’s health.
Heavy metals in horses are also detected through Equine Iridology. Heavy metals are in our air, food and water, becoming debilitating to our horses. These metals consist of arsenic (from pesticides and weed killers), mercury contaminated water, lead (in the water) and aluminum (those large aluminum tubs that hold water). According to Mercedes, these toxins poison the horse’s nervous system along with the immune and glandular system. With the toxins in your horse’s system, they are not able to absorb the nutrients needed for healing and longevity. Without nutrients a host of problems from fatigue to debilitating hoofs can arise.
If you feed straight alfalfa hay, you may want to reconsider. X-rays revealed this large enterolith (stone) in the large colon of an Arabian stallion approximately five years ago (Figure 4). It is believed that straight alfalfa hay is hard on most horses, resulting in development of stones. The horse was operated on and is doing fine. Equine Iridology would have found the marks in the iris, signaling a problem in the large colon. Unfortunately, the location of the flexures was not known at that time. Mercedes engaged the help of Dr. Dena Eckerdt, a graduate of the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis and in private practice in Salinas Valley since 1983 to help make this possible for all EIs who are now able to see many problems before they manifest. Dr. Eckerdt and Mercedes have spent 10 years researching and testing the validation of the Equine Iridology Chart shown in Figure 3, which has proven to be reliable.
Trouble can start in the diaphragmatic flexure or pelvic flexure of the large colon. Both of these flexures (turns) have a long tube that flows into the turn. The tube and turn can easily be impacted. The pelvic flexure will show in the right top corner of the right eye and the diaphragmatic flexure will show in the right top corner of the left eye. One of the major concerns in the intestinal system is the pelvic flexure as it has such an ‘elbow’ turn that anything can get caught in that area. Figure 5 shows dirt, gravel and small pieces of wire caught in the pelvic flexure that can have a great impact in your horse’s health. If marks show up in either of the flexures, the EI will ask you to call your vet immediately.
Equine Iridology is proving to be a powerful tool to help horse owners better understand the main cause of health and training issues with their horse. Iridology itself is now being recognized around the world as a valuable tool for diagnosis and preventative medicine.
Just as every fingerprint and snowflake is different, so is the granula iridica of the eye, which is small part of the iris. Not one person or animal has the same eye. This is a huge factor in understanding your horse. He or she is one of a kind and as unique as you! “So,” you say, “if I want an EI to check my horse, where do I find one?”
That’s not so easy. There are approximately 100 EIs through the United States, with others, like Leanne Wrentmore, around the world. In Florida, we are fortunate to have Vern Lester, a Certified Equine Iridologist who trained with Mercedes Colburn. Vern would be happy to talk to you about your horse and Equine Iridology. You can reach Vern at 321.591.7295.