Horses are magnificent creatures known for their strength, grace, and intelligence. However, just like humans, they can experience stress and anxiety, which may affect their overall well-being and performance.
Calming and behaviour supplements have gained popularity among New Zealand horse owners as a proactive approach to supporting their equine friends during stressful situations.
In this guide, we will explore the various types of calming supplements available, understand the active ingredients that contribute to their efficacy, and discuss the benefits of incorporating these supplements into a horse's diet.
Types of Calming Supplements
1. Powders:Calming supplements in powder form are a convenient option for horse owners to administer to their beloved companions. These powders are typically added to the horse's regular feed, ensuring ease of consumption and digestion.
2. Pellets:Pellet-based calming supplements provide another practical method of delivery. Horse owners can mix these pellets with their horse's feed, ensuring consistent and measured dosage.
3. Pastes:For horses that may be a bit more finicky or have difficulty consuming powdered or pellet supplements, pastes offer a palatable alternative. These pastes are administered orally and absorbed by the horse's system to promote relaxation.
4. Liquids:Calming supplements in liquid form offer versatility in administration. They can be mixed with the horse's feed or administered directly into the mouth using a syringe.
Active Ingredients in Calming Supplements:
1. Magnesium:An essential mineral for nerve and muscle function, magnesium plays a pivotal role in maintaining a horse's emotional balance. Horses deficient in magnesium are more prone to anxiety and stress, making it a key ingredient in many calming supplements.
2). Tryptophan:Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of calm and relaxation. Including tryptophan in calming supplements helps horses manage stress and maintain composure in challenging situations.
3). Valerian Root:For centuries, valerian root has been known for its calming effects on the nervous system. It helps horses cope with stress and anxiety, making it a valuable component of many calming supplements.
4). Chamomile:Another natural herb renowned for its calming properties, chamomile soothes the nervous system and promotes relaxation in horses. It can be particularly beneficial in situations where horses face environmental changes or novel experiences.
5). Passionflower:With a history of use dating back centuries, passionflower is a potent herbal ingredient that aids in relaxation and anxiety reduction in horses.
Found in green tea, L-theanine has been scientifically shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Including this amino acid in calming supplements can help horses stay composed and focused during stressful events.
Benefits of Calming SupplementsCalming supplements offer a wide range of benefits for horses, allowing them to manage anxiety and stress in various situations.
1). Managing Anxiety in Stressful Situations:Horses often encounter stressful scenarios, such as travelling, competing in shows or races, or experiencing environmental changes. Calming supplements can help horses cope with these stressors and maintain a more relaxed temperament.
2). Reducing Nervous Tension during Training and Travel:Training and travelling can be demanding for horses, leading to nervous tension. Calming supplements provide nutritional support to ease their nerves and maintain focus during training sessions and journeys.
3). Helping Horses Focus and Stay Relaxed in Competition:During competitions, horses need to be at their best. Calming supplements can help them remain calm and focused on the task at hand, enhancing their performance.
Choosing the Right Calming SupplementWhile calming supplements offer various benefits, it is essential to select the right product for individual horses.
1). Consulting with a Veterinarian or Equine Nutritionist:Before introducing a calming supplement into a horse's diet, consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist. They can recommend the most suitable supplement based on the horse's specific needs.
2). Understanding Individual Horse's Needs:Each horse is unique, and their stressors and anxiety triggers may differ. Understanding the horse's specific requirements can help horse owners select the most appropriate calming supplement.
3). Checking for Scientifically Proven Active Ingredients:When choosing a calming supplement, look for products containing active ingredients that have scientific evidence supporting their calming effects. This ensures the supplement's efficacy and safety.
Feeding Guidelines and InstructionsTo ensure the proper administration of calming supplements, follow these feeding guidelines and instructions:
1). Recommended Daily Serve Based on Horse Size:Dosage recommendations vary based on the horse's weight. For ponies and horses weighing 200kg to 400kg, a 20g daily serve is recommended. Average-sized horses weighing 400kg to 600kg should receive a 40g daily serve, while large horses weighing over 600kg or high-performance horses benefit from a 60g daily serve.
2). Double Daily Serve for Specific Situations:For certain situations, such as travelling, competitions, separation, and weaning, horse owners may consider doubling the daily serve for two days before the event.
3). Mixing with Feed or Administering Orally:Calming supplements can be mixed well with the horse's regular feed for easy consumption. Alternatively, they can be administered orally, dividing the daily serve into morning and night feeds for better mineral absorption.
Calming and behaviour supplements are valuable tools in managing stress and anxiety in horses. With a wide array of supplement types and active ingredients available, horse owners can tailor their choices to suit each horse's individual needs.
Remember to consult with experts before incorporating any new supplement into a horse's diet. By providing the right nutritional support, horse owners can help their equine friends thrive and maintain a calm and balanced demeanour in all situations.
If you’re looking for high-quality joint supplements, consider exploring the range of products offered by us here at Equine America NZ. Our extensive selection of products along with performance-enhancing supplements provide you with suitable options to support your horse’s overall health and performance.