Jennifer Day-Smith is the owner of Knotty Equine and founder of the art of equinitryology. She spends many of her days checking cows and yearlings on her and her husband’s ranch, and the rest of her days are filled with working on horses. Her alternative mode of equine healing has landed her with the nickname “Voodoo,” but she doesn’t mind. She helps horses live better lives, and that’s what matters to her.
Equinitryology, at its core, is the art of evaluation. “Without an accurate evaluation of what’s going on with the horse, you can only slap a bandaid on it at best. It’s all about the root cause of biomechanical and behavioral dysfunctions […] It’s all based on energy: reading and watching energy and where it moves and where it’s stagnant.”
The journey began with working in the human medical field. Smith owned and operated her own home health agency for nearly five years. While working with the elderly and people with disabling injuries, especially spinal cord injuries, she began seeking out alternative therapies to rehabilitate them. She studied nerve work and various modalities in order to help.
When the health insurance landscape changed, Smith closed both of her agencies. Already having a lifetime of experience with horses and now an opportunity to practice with her own, she began applying her new knowledge to them. From there, she attended various equine practitioner schools in order to craft her own mode of healing. Now, it is her full time job and passion.
The core of Smith’s method is understanding that the source of surface-level pain is much deeper than meets the eye. “If lameness shows up in one place, it’s actually coming from a different spot,” she says. Basically, if there is pent-up negative energy in a particular visceral (internal) organ, there will not only be a dysfunction in the organ, but also in the surrounding tissue. “The somatic is the tissue, muscle, and bone is used for protection for what’s vital. When those organs go out of balance, they hold all of the surrounding tissue hostage. Sadly, most people and practitioners don’t notice something is wrong with the horse until it manifests itself on the somatic level. We usually notice it when the horse has run out of options to compensate,” she says. “Once they’re lame, there’s a whole lot of work to find what’s really causing this.”
Smith’s clientele consists of mainly western performance horses, mustangs used for therapy, and young horses beginning the training process. One of her favorite success stories is of a college barrel horse that was having severe difficulties breathing. “…it was just getting worse. They had her on nebulizers, steroids, and, lasix. I worked on her that night and the next morning and took her out of lung spasm, untrapped the epiglottis, took out an esophageal torsion, and she’s never had a nebulizer or breathing problem since,” she says.
For the best results, Smith brings in other practitioners, veterinarians, and farriers so that all are working together. “I love getting everything put where it’s supposed to go, figuring out what’s going on, getting organs rebalanced, getting infections cleared up, and prescribing a certain amount of bodywork and stretches. If they don’t have a bodyworker, I teach the owners to do it themselves. There’s a lot more progress that way,” she says.
There are plans in the near future to host an Academy of Equinitryology. In its beginning stages, the school would instruct veterinarians, chiropractors, bodyworkers, and others to learn how to evaluate their horses using equinitryology. She also plans to host a second school that helps people identify their attachment style and stabilize their relationship with their horse based upon it. “Our own human attachment style–whatever we got from childhood–really affects our attachment and relationship with our horse. Say someone is really clingy or controlling, almost every time, that horse has lung spasms and eventually becomes a bleeder,” she says. “[It’s] for people who want to address their attachment style and make a better, more secure attachment in relationship with their horse so that they don’t have all these issues going on.”
Equinitryology is an art and a feel, and Smith looks forward to educating the world of equine practitioners and owners about its benefits.
For more information and contact information, see knottyequine.com or on Facebook.
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