A few weeks from now, the horse competition season will officially start, and for sure show nerves will also be very common, especially among horses. Once equines started getting disconcerted and anxious, a lot of horse owners would then ask themselves—is there anything that can calm my horse down? The answer is YES. There’s an effective way that can help calm a normally behaved horse when he begins to act nervous and agitated, and that’s none other than an equine calming supplement.
What Are Horse Calming Supplements?
To ensure that horses grow healthy and strong, most equine owners would add supplements on their horses’ diet. There are several types of horse supplements, and a calming supplement is just one of them.
As what their name implies, horse calming supplements are used to assist tense and frantic equines. Plenty of these calming agents are oral supplements, but over the years, several injectable substances have been developed and released in the market. Basically, calming supplements can be categorized into three types: nutrient-based, herbal, and calming supplements.
Choosing the Right Supplement
With plenty of products available on the market claiming to help calm your misbehaving horses, choosing the right calming supplement can be hard. When deciding which type of calming product would be perfect for your equine, asking the recommendation of a veterinarian is essential.
There are a lot of reasons that can turn a well-behaved horse into an unruly one. Its behavior may be due to genetic influences, or a result of unpleasant management he has experienced in the past. Recognizing why your horse has suddenly developed undesirable behaviors can really assist your vet in suggesting the most suitable calming supplement for your equine.
The Most Common Ingredients of Calming Supplements
Apart from recognizing the things that caused your equines to act bizarrely, another important thing that you should try learning is the common active ingredients used in making calming supplements. According to an article written by Dr. Kelli Taylor, undesirable behavior among horses can be a result of nutrition deficiency. That is why when she is asked by her clients about using calming agents, she would always recommend that they take a good look at their horses’ nutrition program before anything else. Equines that are given an abundant supply of quality hay and a vitamin ration balancer that is especially formulated to fit your geographical region will never be deficient in magnesium. This means that even when you’ve given your horse with a magnesium-based calming agent, it won’t calm it.
Again, the key to knowing which type of calming supplement you should give your horse lies in recognizing first why the horse is acting like that. And after that, your vet will help you choose the ideal calming agent that would really work for your horse. Today, we’ll be sharing some of the common active ingredients used in making calming supplements. Here they are:
Tryptophan is one of the most common active ingredients added in equine calmers. It is actually an amino acid and is considered as a predecessor for serotonin—a type of neurotransmitter that has long been linked with fear, stress, and aggression among different animal species. According to a study conducted among horses, low doses of tryptophan can cause minor excitement and not a calming effect. A higher dosage, on the other hand, can result in hemolytic anemia or the lowering of red blood cell count.
Considered as the most used ingredient in making equine calmers, magnesium is said to have an anxiety-reducing and antidepressant-like effect among horses. However, this would most likely effect only if your equine is suffering from magnesium deficiency. But again, magnesium deficiency among horses is very rare since most horse diets really contain enough magnesium sources. Oral forms of magnesium are not listed on the FEI Prohibited Substances Database, which means that you can still give them to equines when they really are nervous.
Also called as thiamine, this vitamin is important in transmitting impulses along the nerves normally. Unlike some B-vitamins, microorganisms living in a horse’s hindgut do not make enough vitamin B1 for its daily needs. And because of that, you have to provide it with food or supplements that would provide the needed thiamine among horses. Supplementing your equines with thiamine will ensure that their nervous system will function normally.
Found in almost every cell in the body, inositol works through helping nerves transmit serotonin in a horse’s brain. Serotonin, as mentioned earlier, is a neurotransmitter that is associated with aggression and fear among animals. When the serotonin levels of an animal are low, it can trigger anxiety and irritability. And that is why, to maintain the levels of serotonin, supplementing a nervous horse with inositol is helpful.
Valerian is among the common herbs used in making herbal calming supplements. This powerful herb is known to rebalance a nervous system that is struggling with anxiety. Apart from that, it can also relieve muscle spasms and even contractions that are linked with tension.
Hops have long been used to ease petulance, nervous pressure, and tension. It is preferred to be given by horses that are becoming preoccupied and distracted. However, most horse competition organizations prohibit the use of herbal supplements since they have strong side effects.
Another herb that can assist in balancing the nervous system of equines with excess energy, vervain has also been widely used in making equine calmers. Calming supplements with vervain are even suggested to be appropriate for horses that are prone to mental anxiety.
Calming supplements may really help relieve your horses from the anxiety that they are feeling but again, make sure to consult a veterinarian first before you start adding them to their diet. Apart from that, it would also be best to ask experienced horse owners tips or tricks on how they handle it when their equines suddenly act irritable and agitated. You can also read plenty of books or articles on the Internet about how to calm down horses; this will also be very useful.