calming supplements for horses Promoting a calm and content equine temperament will not only benefit the well-being of your racehorse but will promote *your* contentment, reassuring you in the knowledge that your horse is relaxed and subsequently happier. Whilst some horses are naturally more predisposed to suffer restlessness and agitation, others exhibit such behaviours as a result of situational factors that cannot necessarily be controlled. However, the thoughtful administration of dietary supplements can benefit your horse’s mentality and reduce symptoms of stress and ill-health. The VioVet range of products includes non-drowsy tablet and liquid formulations to supplement regular feed, treatments for stable bedding and therapeutic ointments for massaging and de-stressing your horse.
calming supplements for horses
Calming supplement ingredients that work and things to consider before choosing or administering a product
You’ve spent significant time training and preparing your horse for a clinic or competition, only to get there and have him behave poorly. He’s excitable and unfocused and spooks at things that never bothered him at home.
Does this scenario sound familiar? I had it happen with my Thoroughbred gelding Duke. We had a well-known trainer running a multiday clinic at the barn where I boarded. Even though I had been out of town for a week, I really wanted to ride. But when I walked Duke into the ring—an arena we trained in daily—he started acting “squirrelly.” We tried to work through it but ended up putting him back in his stall for the day. The next day we tried again, and he was great. Still a little “up” but listening and responding to my cues. For Duke, it just seemed he needed to be in the situation a second time to realize everything was okay.
In situations such as this, you might ask what you can do to keep your horse from being so nervous. One option many owners reach for is a calming supplement. These are not chemical tranquilizers but, rather, products designed to help horses retain focus.
Sue McDonnell, PhD, Cert. AAB, founding head of the Equine Behavior Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, in Kennett Square, says she typically gets multiple calls a week from veterinarians looking for calmative recommendations. The horses are most commonly “stallbound layup patients,” she says, but calming supplements might be useful “in a variety of scenarios, such as training or show situations, health care procedure difficulties or aversions, loading and trailering worries, anxious breeding stallions, separation stress, weaning stress, stereotypies, and more.”
Before reaching for a quick-fix calming supplement in one of these situations, however, start by evaluating your nervous horse and his environment. Because horses are “fight or flight” animals, they often fall back on these instincts when faced with stressful scenarios. They are essentially hard-wired to try to flee from new circumstances or conditions beyond their normal routines. When they can’t escape they often express their nervous energy in less-than-desirable ways. calming supplements for horses
As horse owners, we can try to find outlets for this energy. This could be as simple as allowing additional turnout time or longeing a horse before riding. In addition, exposing horses to a variety of situations can help desensitize them to and become more accepting of new circumstances. If you need help, consider working with an experienced trainer. These professionals can help horses overcome nervousness and give owners and riders training and management recommendations.
McDonnell says it’s also important to evaluate the horse’s health to make sure a medical reason isn’t behind his behavior, because conditions such as gastric ulcers can lead to behavior issues. Horses that are in pain due to injury might also exhibit negative behaviors.
Evaluating a horse’s diet before adding a calming supplement is also very important, because several dietary components can affect behavior. Imbalances and deficiencies in some nutrients can contribute to behavior disorders. In these cases a calming supplement that contains one of these nutrients might help. Work with an equine nutritionist to assess your horse’s diet and determine whether dietary excesses or deficiencies are causing behavior problems. What follows are some of the more common and effective natural calming additives on the market. The first three are designed to address certain deficiencies, while the latter four are simply helpful additives.
Equistro Haemolytan For Horses
The trace elements contained in HAEMOLYTAN 400 are in the readily bioavailable organic complex form of IPALIGO®. Increased demands on a horse‘s metabolic requirements from physical activity, pregnancy or birth can be supplemented quickly and easily with HAEMOLYTAN 400.
HAEMOLYTAN 400 use is recommended in the following situations:
• Sports horse : – Drop or irregularity in performance
– During intense training and competition programmes
• During convalescent period or in a poor physical state
• Horses destined for stud : stallions with a heavy covering programme or broodmares in the last third of gestation
Adult horses Daily programme Weekly program Standard sized horses (500 kg) 10 to 15 ml per day 20 ml 2 to 3 times per week.
Light horses/ponies/foals 5 to 10 ml per day 15 ml 2 to 3 times per week
Due to the presence of trace elements with maximum set limits, administration
must not exceed 120ml/500kg horse/day. Vetoquinol advocates the respect of
local and international rules for competition and horse racing.
TRM Good as Gold – 1.5 kg
TRM Good as Gold should be added to the normal feed ration. This product can benefit nervous, hot or high strung horses. Contains B Vitamins, Tryptophan and Vitamin E.
Pre Competition: 50g per day, 3 to 4 days prior to competition
Stressful Situations: 50g per day.
Maintenance: 25g per day.
Omega Alpha Chill – 4 L
Promotes and Enhances Relaxed Behaviour. Supports and Maintains Normal Disposition.
Chill is a calming formula that is formulated with documented botanicals used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalism. It is used to calm excitable horses, especially those with pre-performance jitters.
- Promotes and enhances relaxed behaviour
- Helps focus the mind on the task at hand
- Does not make the horse sleepy or dopey
- Will not negatively affect performance
- Can also be used for horses with trailer fright, behavioural problems, stall rest or for separation anxiety
INGREDIENTS PER 30 mL/1 oz:
Albizia julibrissin (Silktree Flower)………………………………………………………………………………………………….200 mg
Biota orientalis (Aborvitae Seed)……………………………………………………………………………………………………400 mg
Polygala tenuifolia (Thinleaf Milkwort Root)……………………………………………………………………………………200 mg
Ziziphus jujuba (Jujube Fruit)………………………………………………………………………………………………………..400 mg
Purified water, Triticum aestivum (Wheatgrass), Guar gum, Citric acid, Potassium sorbate, Benzoic acid (buffered), Natural apple concentrate.
Give 30 mL-100 mL (1 oz – 3.3 oz), 1 hour prior to exercise or event. Place directly into the mouth for best results, before traveling or new event. Shake well before use. For use in horses only.
Quiessence – 14 lb
Supports healthy nervous system function
Provides 16,000 mg of magnesium & 2.5 mg of chromium per 2 oz serving
In addition to calming, this formula may be helpful for horses that are overweight & cresty-necked calming supplements for horses
Quiessence horse supplement provides magnesium and chromium, which are important to proper nerve and muscle function. May be helpful for horses that are overweight and cresty-necked, and may also help with calming
Hypona MagVet Magnesium Supplement
Hypona MagVet Magnesium Supplement is a natural source of magnesium for your horse. This unique product will biologically and naturally calm the animal and keep its metabolism in balance. This supplement improves performance and prevents excess stress by maintaining metabolic equilibrium. Under normal conditions in a horse, magnesium and calcium are balanced and when the animal undergoes stress such as training, racing and other intense activities the hormonal effects cause an imbalance in favour of calcium. Calcium overload causes nerve and muscle cells to become over excited, nervous and tense resulting in excess lactic acid and could cause tying up. MagVet restores the balance of Calcium and Magnesium thus protecting the cells against further calcium overload which accounts for the stress relieving component of this supplement. Performance improvement is attributed to the composition of MagVet which plays an important part in protein synthesis. Magnesium is required for all energy consuming processes in the equine body. The effectiveness of MagVet is mainly due to the type of Magnesium compound which improves cellular metabolism. Horses who have been fed Epona MagVet show more willingness to work and are more relaxed. Due to the purely physiologic base of its composition MagVet is neither a drug nor is it doping. calming supplements for horses
Horse owners should completely evaluate what might be causing a horse’s undesired behavior before trying a calming supplement. First eliminate health conditions, training issues, and dietary imbalances as causes. If you do decide to try a calming supplement, make sure it’s one that’s backed by research showing it works, is safe, and is legal for use in your breed and/or discipline competitions.
McDonnell also recommends only using those supplements with ingredients that have shown positive results in blinded, peer-reviewed research.
“Putting trust in an unproven or ineffective treatment can increase safety risks both for people and horse,” she says. “And from a horse welfare standpoint, only known effective and safe treatments should be used.”
Also, first try any supplement at home on a normal day to evaluate how it works on your horse before using it in a stressful situation on the farm or away from home. Try only one product at a time to determine if it works and to ensure it produces no side effects.
JOINT SUPPLEMENTS FOR HORSES
calming supplements for horses
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