An all natural herbal calming supplement for horses can help spooky or nervous horses relax and focus. For performance horses, this is essential to a good job in the show ring. For riders, it is essential that their mounts remain calm and steady or else dangerous situations may arise.
Nervous and Spooky Horses
Horses are prey animals. This means that in nature, carnivores chase horses and eat them. Picture zebras grazing on the grassy plains of Africa and hungry lions roaring after them in pursuit and you have a better idea of what goes through a horse's mind when someone comes up behind him suddenly. His instinct shouts "run away!" Most horses get over their initial reactions and learn to trust their riders or handlers. However, some horses may be more difficult than others to train out of their natural instincts. A spooky or frightened horse may be exceptionally strong and may not listen to his rider's commands. Such a horse is dangerous to himself, his rider, and anyone around him.
Although some horse owners turn to their veterinarians for drugs to soothe and calm nervous and spooky horses, most of these substances are banned for performance horses. None is a long-term solution to the problem. Most nervous and spooky horses respond best to calm, focused and loving training. Desensitizing spooky horses to various stimuli, for example, is much more effective in the long run than drugs or supplements. An all natural herbal calming supplement for horses may offer short term relief.
About All Natural Herbal Calming Supplement for Horses
An all natural herbal calming supplement for horses may be an herbal remedy, homeopathic remedy, or Bach flower therapy.
Most all natural calming aids for horses contain a blend of herbs, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are typically administered as a powder or pellet in the horse's feed or as a paste that is squirted into the mouth like a worming paste.
The most common ingredients in herb and vitamin supplements to calm horses include:
- Herbs: Calming herbs used for horses include valerian, black cohosh, passion flower, hops and ginger root. All of these herbs are known to induce relaxation.
- Vitamins: Most of the natural calming supplements contain some blend of B-vitamins. B-vitamins are the vitamins to help the body handle nervous tension and stress. Thiamine is the most commonly added B-vitamin to natural calming supplements.
- Amino acids: Several amino acids are thought to enhance a feeling of calmness and well being. L-tryptophan is converted into serotonin and melatonin in the brain, both chemicals known to act as calming agents and anti-anxiety substances.
Horses respond well to homeopathy. Remedies are selected to help the horse relax and for overall nervous system support. The most common homeopathic remedies to calm horses include doses of Kali phos, Chamomile, and phosphorous.
Bach Flower Essences
Bach flower essences show good results with horses and all animals. Rescue Remedy, a blend of five flower essences, works well for panicked animals and animals under stress, such as horses that have been moved into a new environment or who are in a trailer for a long period of time. Adding Five Flower Formula or Rescue Remedy to the horse's water before, during and after travel ensures that he gets used to the taste. Be sure to use only Bach flower essences prepared for animal use; these do not contain brandy, which may be harmful to animals.
Like people, horses may experience side effects from herbal calming supplements. Try any supplement out first when you are at your home barn so that you can watch your horse's water intake, food consumption, and elimination and make sure that it does not negatively affect him.
It's also best to check with your horse's veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian regarding the use of natural calming agents and horse shows. Routine drug tests are common at larger recognized shows, and some remedies may yield a false-positive for various drugs. Check with your horse's vet or a holistic practitioner for more information.
Lastly, it's crucial to realize that supplements are no substitute for training. A nervous or spooky horse can be a danger to himself, his rider, and others. You as the horse owner must do your part to seek professional training for an animal that consistently spooks or runs away with you. Left unchallenged, such a condition can lead to injuries to both yourself and your horse. Gentle, effective training by desensitizing the horse to whatever spooks him, whether it's a grocery bag blowing in the wind or a neighbor's lawn mower, is much more effective over the long run than dousing him with supplements.