Horses are prey animals. This means that in nature, carnivores hunt horses and devore them. Picture zebras grazing on the grassy plains of the Serengeti and a pride of hungary lions in pursuit of them 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.
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 and none of these is a long term solution. An option is to provide a daily supplement of calming herbs that will allow the horse to focus on their work.
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 substance
- Magnesium: If a horse has a magnesium imbalance in their diet a simple addition of Magnesium Oxide might help calm them.
Please note that though herbs are a natural products it does not mean they are competition legal i.e Valerian, so it is always important to check the ingredients on the label.