Show days are supposed to be fun-for you and for your horse. But, if your horse is too stressed out, he can be hard to handle and impossible to enjoy.
If your horse is being fed, exercised and trained appropriately and he is still too hot, a calming supplement may provide some relief for both of you. But with so many supplements out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
There are two main types of calming supplements: herbals and non-herbals. Since some show organizations ban the use of certain herbal ingredients, many competitors avoid them. However, every organization is different, so it’s important to check your rulebook.
Vitamin B1 plays a critical role in the transmission of nerve impulses and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Proper nerve function can reduce excitability, making Vitamin B1 a popular choice for calming supplements. SmartB1 (#16322, $7.95) provides 1,000 mg of B1 per serving, making it an easy and economical source of this important nutrient.
Magnesium is a macro-mineral that is crucial for healthy muscle contractions. Horses deficient in Magnesium can exhibit nervousness and muscle tension, so this nutrient is often found in calming supplements. Add a healthy dose of Magnesium to your horse’s diet by supplementing with Quiessence (#10017, $20.35). Combine the benefits of Magnesium and B1 by feeding SmartCalm (#17403, $16.60) or Ex Stress (#11818, $32.70).
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is converted by the body into serotonin, a hormone that increases feelings of well-being and contentment, to calm and soothe. SmartCalm Ultra (#17404, $22.15) supplies your horse with L-Tryptophan, in addition to the benefits of Vitamin B1 and Magnesium.
An Herbal Approach
Herbal calming supplements can include ingredients known as “nervines”, herbs that have specific actions on the nervous system. Popular nervines include Valerian, Vervain, Chamomile and Hops, all of which are believed to rebalance the nervous system and provide an over-all soothing effect. If you’ve got a moody mare or studdish gelding on your hands, consider a product that contains Chasteberry or Raspberry Leaf, two herbs used to help bring the hormonal system back into balance. For a tasty source of dried raspberry leaves, supplement with Mare Magic (#14738, $10.45). To address both the hormonal and nervous system, try Easy Mare (#10745, $40.25) or RelaxHer Blend (#10006, $33.25).