A typically calm horse who becomes anxious or spooked during riding or competition can definitely be a risk to safety, not to mention your enjoyment of quality time. There are many pharmaceutical products available, but calming supplements for horses offer a natural way to achieve the same results.
What Is a Calming Supplement?
A calming supplement provides natural ingredients that promote relaxation and focus during stressful times, such as trailering, weaning, or separation. These ingredients may be nutritive, herbal, or a combination of both.
Equine calming supplements can also calm excited horses as they relieve acute stress. This ultimately lowers their risk of developing disease and helps them to be better learners.
What These Supplements Can and Can’t Do
Despite the many positive things the right calming supplement can do for you and your horse, it’s just as important to discuss what these products cannot do.
Calming supplements should never be used as a “cure-all” or “calming boost.” They also will not eliminate any of the following common issues which can be the root cause of your horse’s anxiety:
- Insufficient turnout time or longeing prior to riding
- Not exposing your horse to various situations
- An underlying medical condition like gastric ulcer
- An untreated injury
Getting a veterinary exam to rule out any of the above is always recommended before starting any natural or medical treatment with calming and focusing benefits. You may also want to examine your horse’s environment for anything that may be making them anxious.
When Should You Give Calming Supplements?
Because the above conditions, as well as certain nutrient deficiencies, can result in a nervous horse, no calming supplement should be given until these are addressed.
Healthy nervous system function relies on adequate amounts of certain vitamins. For example, vitamin B1, or thiamine, helps increase the transmission of nerve impulses, which can aid calming. Some amino acids like tryptophan are also important to include in your horse’s diet, both for complete nutrition and to put your horse at ease.
Every calming product will have different suggestions for the best times to give them to your horse. As well, some supplements will be faster-acting, while others need to build up in their system before results can be seen.
Some herbs have been well-researched for their ability to promote calm, but, before giving calming supplements to competing horses, you may wish to check with your organization to ensure the herbs you’re using haven’t been banned. Checking nutrient-based supplements to ensure a balanced diet is also a good idea.
As for the best time to feed your horse one of these supplements, it’s a good idea to see how the supplement will work under normal conditions.
Give your horse the calming supplement on a regular day when they’re at home, and monitor them for any behavioral changes or side effects. If you notice anything you deem suspicious, call your vet as soon as possible.
Try These Other Natural Horse Supplements
Some products, such as turmeric, can be safely added to your horse’s feed according to their weight and activity level. Others, like bentonite clay, can be taken internally but can also be used topically for the healing of wounds, making it an ideal product for any stable.
Turmeric offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to your horse. It also supports healthy skin, digestion, and joint function, which can eliminate anxiety-causing discomfort and irritation in these areas.
Bentonite clay can also address digestion problems, as it improves latent energy. It also provides needed nutrients, as it removes chemicals and toxins and strengthens your horse’s immune system.
When your horse is feeling comfortable and their immune system has been optimized, this may be all that’s needed to calm their anxiety.
Top-Quality, Natural Equine Products
Equi-Herbs is dedicated to natural equine health. Our supplements contain only the best ingredients, hand-picked for their high quality and health benefits. Explore our natural calm-enhancing products and other items at our website, or call 1-800-786-0708.