Tense, edgy, spooky, worried. If any of these words describe your horse, a calming supplement could make training easier and riding more fun. These natural products are carefully formulated to alleviate anxiety, improve focus and help your horse feel confident in new situations, without unwanted drowsiness. As a result, they might help you feel more relaxed, too. Here are four ingredients to look for:
Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, is commonly fed as a calming supplement because it plays a key role in nerve impulses and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Horses lacking B1 in their diet can be nervous, spooky and unfocused, with tense muscles and a poor appetite. Unlike most other B vitamins, horses don’t make enough of their own B1. Fresh pasture and cereal grains like oats are good sources of this vitamin, but many horses need additional supplementation. SmartB1
(#16322, $7.95) provides 1,000 mg of Thiamine per serving, making it easy and economical to add more of this important nutrient to your horse’s diet.
Magnesium is an electrolyte and is needed for muscle contractions. Broodmares, growing horses and horses in moderate to heavy work often need more Magnesium than what a typical diet provides. Clinical signs of Magnesium deficiency include nervousness and muscle tension, so it is commonly included in calming supplements. Quiessence
(#10017, $20.35) contains a high dose of Magnesium in a tasty pellet. SmartCalm
(#17403, $16.60) and Ex Stress
(#11818, $32.70) provide Magnesium together with Vitamin B1 and other B vitamins.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet because your horse’s body can’t make enough on its own. The brain converts Tryptophan into serotonin, melatonin and other hormones that transmit nerve signals. Serotonin is known as a “feel-good hormone” because it increases feelings of wellbeing and contentment, helping to calm and soothe. SmartCalm Ultra
(#17404, $22.15) contains 125 mg of Tryptophan, plus 10,000 mg of Magnesium, 550 mg of B1 and other B vitamins.
If addressing key nutrients in the diet doesn’t help your horse become more even tempered, consider an herbal approach. Valerian, Vervain, Chamomile and Hops are herbs believed to rebalance the nervous system and have a calming effect. Chasteberry and Raspberry Leaf are used to help balance the hormonal system of moody mares, and can improve the attitudes of geldings that act like stallions. Mare Magic
(#14738, $10.45), a customer favorite, is made of tasty dried Raspberry Leaves. Easy Mare
(#10745, $40.25) and RelaxHer Blend
(#10006, $33.25), combine herbs that help balance the hormonal and nervous systems.