The way in which every horse responds to change is different. If your horse spooks suddenly or becomes inexplicably anxious when in certain situations, a calming supplement can positively affect their health and behavior in a natural way, improving the quality of the time you spend together.
What Are Some Supplements That Can Help Calm Horses?
There are many brands of supplements on the market that can help to calm your horse. You’ll likely see one or more of the following natural ingredients on their packaging:
- Bentonite clay
- Valerian root
All of these are well-known for their calming properties and help reduce stress and anxiety in different ways.
Bentonite clay is really a stall staple. Thanks to its incredible absorbent properties, bentonite clay is capable of drawing out toxins, whether it’s applied externally to a wound or internally to remove chemicals, bacteria, and other invaders that can be at the root of a horse’s anxiety.
Truly the great rebalancer, bentonite clay helps improve digestion and latent energy as it nourishes your horse and strengthens their immune system.
If you have a cat in your household, then you are likely very aware of catnip’s effects. When given to your horse, catnip can provide a mild sedative effect. However, catnip is a natural antibiotic and appetite stimulant that can also help an anemic horse.
If that weren’t enough, catnip is also ideal for horses as a natural biting-fly repellent, which is welcome news for horse and owner alike.
Chamomile’s active calming ingredient is Apigenin, a natural sedative. The benefits of this herb are far reaching; chamomile definitely offers sedative effects, but also helps your horse’s digestive system, relaxing their digestive tract. Giving chamomile to your horse can also reduce inflammation, clean their liver, and strengthen skin and hair.
Whether fed in tincture, powder, or another form, the hops herb is legendary for its ability to reduce tension and anxiety in horses. It affects the central nervous system, helping bring focus to the distracted horse, calm sensitive and easily spooked horses, and assist with settling in new situations.
Utilizing hops also helps soothe intestinal and gastric spasms, as well as stimulates appetite and digestion.
Your horse needs magnesium for the transmission of signals between nerves and for healthy muscle contraction. When the amount of magnesium in their body is low and their nervous system isn’t communicating as it should, nervousness and unusual sensitivity can be the result.
The calming properties of magnesium can begin changing your horse’s behavior within a few days of supplementation.
Stress can quickly rob your horse of the beneficial hindgut bacteria needed for nervous system health and vitamin production. This microbial population can also be negatively affected by antibiotics, which kill both good and bad bacteria. In either case, low beneficial bacteria numbers can cause nervousness and stress that supplementing with thiamine can correct.
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, helps your horse metabolize carbohydrates and fats, restoring nutrient production and hindgut health.
This essential amino acid plays a vital role in the synthesis of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which is both a neurotransmitter and hormone that benefits your horse’s central nervous system.
Because your horse’s body cannot produce it, tryptophan must be given as a feed or standalone supplement. It’s also most beneficial when given alone instead of in combination with other ingredients.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is yet another must-have for every remedy shelf. This root is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help calm stress-inducing indigestion.
However, turmeric also benefits horse health in many other ways; it can soothe sore joints and support healthy joint function, it supports skin health and is also an antioxidant, helping to rid your horse of illness and stress-causing free radicals.
Yet another all-around horse healer, valerian offers benefits for your horse’s brain, heart, nerves, stomach, liver, and lungs. This strong calmer can cure nervousness and anxiety, as well as nausea and indigestion, among many others.
However, because of its powerful calming properties, valerian should never be given to any horse who will be undergoing a procedure requiring tranquilizers, as it can enhance the medicine’s effects.
Before You Administer Calming Supplements
There’s no doubt that the above supplements can help to calm your horse and be used to benefit their health in a myriad of ways. However, they should only be administered after an examination by, and with the guidance of, your veterinarian.
There are several health conditions that can manifest as anxiety and stress, and it’s absolutely crucial that these are either ruled out or addressed first. Then, if your horse’s anxious behavior continues, you can begin administering long- or short-term supplements to calm them down.
Similarly, you’ll want to ensure that your horse has experienced a number of different settings before choosing to give them a calming supplement. If they haven’t been in a variety of stressful situations, they may need this exposure to help them calm down.
Finally, ensuring your horse’s nutrients are in balance prior to administering supplements is also strongly recommended. This will allow you to choose ingredients that provide them with needed nutrients and avoid administering supplements that may cause your horse to receive nutrients in excess.
When and How to Administer Supplements
The best way to begin is to give your horse a supplement like turmeric on a normal day when they’re at home. This will allow you to observe their behavior and ensure that they receive vet care if you notice any side effects.
The time of day you administer a calming supplement may also matter, especially if administering a time-release product, so be sure to check the label for any specific instructions. Some products may require waiting a few days before you notice a calmer horse, while fast-acting products may only take a few hours.
Although an ingredient or product may have undergone extensive research, it’s important to remember that your horse is an individual who may tolerate a particular ingredient or dosage differently from another horse. Note any ingredients that may be prohibited substances in shows and competitions as well.
The same applies to how the horse ingests a calming supplement. For example, you may find it’s easier to administer supplements via your horse’s feed than by another means. Find the route of administration that works best and stick with it.
The Best All-Natural Products
A stressed and anxious horse may be suffering from a particular medical condition, be deficient in certain nutrients, or feel this way for another reason. Regardless of the cause of their stress, calming supplements from Equi-Herbs can help your horse achieve better health and enhanced calm once your vet has ruled out other causes.
Our company founders have a passion for horses and understand the many health benefits of natural ingredients, including turmeric and bentonite clay. That’s why you won’t find chemicals, fillers, or sugars in any of our equine supplements.
At Equi-Herbs, every ingredient is meticulously sourced from only the best locations. This ensures that no matter which product you choose, your horse always receives ingredients aimed at giving them long-term health benefits. Explore our collection of calming supplements.