Chill Out! Does your horse need a calming supplement?
Information provided by Farnam
In our modern world, where we provide for our horses’ every need, it’s easy to forget they are still prey animals wired to “run first, think later.”
This flight instinct is beneficial for mustangs living in the wild where danger from predators still means life and death. However, when you saddle up for a relaxing trail ride with friends, the last thing you want is a horse that looks for the “boogey man” around every corner.
Some horses are just naturally more high-strung than others. They tend to fret and act nervous in situations that might not phase a more laid-back horse. If you have a nervous horse, you’ve probably wondered if there was a way to “take the edge off” without resorting to drugs.
That’s where calming supplements appeal to many horse owners. You’ll find a variety of such supplements on the market containing a number of ingredients reported to help the horse be quieter, less reactive, and more able to focus. The supplements come in powder, pellets, granular, paste, liquid, and sometimes as wafers. Depending on the form, they can be given to horse directly or during mealtime.
All calming supplements are not created equal. What worked for your friend’s nervous gelding may not make a noticeable difference on your spooky mare. This is when you need to talk to your veterinarian and do some homework. Check out ingredients and research their effect on the horse’s body. Online reviews posted about various products can be helpful, but calming products don’t work the same in every horse and they don’t work for all horses.
You should also consider the training background of a horse that is routinely nervous. Some horses get upset because they lack a solid foundation and don’t fully understand what the rider is asking them to do. If necessary, work with a professional trainer to make sure your horse has the training he needs.
If your horse has a “vice,” such as weaving, stall walking, or cribbing, a calming product may help but it’s not a cure. Stress and boredom can create stable vices, so, for your horse’s sake, you’ll want to search out the root cause of the stress and find ways to make changes for the better to his environment and/or routine.
Also with 4th of July quickly approaching, it may be a temporary solution for a temporary problem. Burns Feed Store has several options for you to help your horse focus or fear less. We suggest administering it at least a couple hours before the fireworks start to help ensure a calmer horse.