calming supplements

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calming supplements

This is a discussion on calming supplements within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    11-09-2009, 12:43 PM
Super Moderator
calming supplements

I'm really just curious about them. I give mare magic to one of my mares and I'm not sure if it's my imagination or if it really helps her mood. I feel like it does.

I'm curious what types of supplements, herbal or other, that people give their horses for calming type issues. What are the issues, what is the supplement, does it work? Is it legal in shows...

I'm very curious. In the QH world I don't hear much about people supplementing their horses with stuff but that is because drug testers are at all the shows (potentially) and alot of quietting supplements contain illegal substances (for that particular show series).

I have been playing around in the hunt shows and I here tons of talk on it so it must be big in hunt shows. I'm really just trying to eduacate myself...
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    11-09-2009, 12:54 PM
Green Broke
I personally like to appreciate my horse for her, no calming supplements or mood changers. But if my mare got really grumpy and tight during heat I definitely would use something on her. I do use maristol, which is supposed to help her joints( I use it because her front legs toe in which the vet said he could not fix like he could if it was her back legs) in the dressage world supplements are very popular, some people give their horse stuff to make it more enrgetic, or more calm. Haha there's even cactus juice to give your horse, I don't know what it does, but it sounds funny! Haha.

I have nothing against suppleMents. But if my horse doesn't need one then I don't give any to her.
    11-09-2009, 01:10 PM
Super Moderator
I do use joint supplements on my older boys (corta-flex) but that's different. I'm not talking coat shine or hoof stuff... just wondering about the calming aides...

I geuss my questioning is, is it because the breeds that are in the hunt shows are high-strung? Or is it a laziness to work the horse... or is it just "the way things are"? I know not EVERY hunt rider uses them but I geuss I'm surprised by how many do and that's why I'm curious.

I am not bashing anyone that does... just curious is all.
    11-09-2009, 01:13 PM
Green Broke
Ya, I think they are popular because in the hunter ring they want the horses to look relaxed and totally soft.
    11-09-2009, 01:49 PM
Equine chill is a nice one, I find it just takes the edge off. I don't show, but I have used it for very nervous travelers before loading onto the trailer.
    11-09-2009, 01:49 PM
Green Broke
The thing that calmed my horses down the most was quitting ALL types of horse feed. Almost all of them contain measurable amounts of molasses, grain products, wheat, and other starches or sugars, which can all lead to unwanted behavior. My horses now are on a diet of nearly free choice grass hay, alfalfa pellets, vitamins, and flax. Their attitudes are much better and they hold their weight well, even with daily riding.

Before adding a supplement, I'd consider removing the grain or feed. Switch to a forage based diet with added vitamins and flax. I get mine custom blended from They can even add joint and hoof supplements in to the mix if your horse is on those. Or, if you prefer an "off the shelf" product, check out Uckele's Equi-Base Grass or SmartPak's SmartVite Grass. Both are designed for horses on little to no fortified grain/feed products.
    11-09-2009, 11:53 PM
Most of the quieting supplements contain Valerian Root. I take it myself to help me sleep and it DOES a wonderful job :)
    11-10-2009, 12:02 AM
I have given mine dac Calm-B which is primarily Tryptophan (sp?). It helped a lot when my colt was a yearling - he was very jumpy and it seemed to help take the edge off of his jitters so he could focus when handled. I have also given it to my 3 yr old filly during breeding season - she got a little rowdy during her heats, but leveled out after I started adding the Calm-B.
    11-10-2009, 12:20 AM
Vitamin B works and is in alot of calming suppliments, its natural so that's a bonus. I used to give shad a vitamin B paste I buy from the local saddlery before shows to take that edge off.
    11-10-2009, 03:59 AM
This used to be my horse: "Hi, I'm perfectly calm, walking along.....BAM! OMG! THAT IS SCARY! I JUMP 4-FEET TO THE RIGHT!.....ok, I'm perfectly calm again, walking along.....oh wait, what happened to my rider? Oh, there she is...sniff, sniff.....what are you doing down there?"

I tried desensitizing. He wouldn't bat an eye. Until, of course, I was riding and that scarey invisible ghost appeared again. I tried massive, consistent exercise. No effect. So now, my horse is on a calming supplement. It's Smartpak's SmartCalm. I'm pretty sure it's show legal because it's just Magnesium, B-Vitamins, and a few other nutrients that normally found in horses and their feed. No herbs or anything. I haven't been to a show while using this yet, so I'll have to look into it more when I get to that road.

But yes, I have noticed a change in my horse. Now, when that invisible ghost appears before my horse, he simply studders in place a moment, and then regains focus on riding.

I only give him a half dose in his SmartPak, so it's only like $10 a month. Very worth it to me if it means one less fall!

And yes, I'm a hunter, but I would give him these supplements no matter what discipline we rode. OH, ALSO...I read somewhere online that excessive biotin intake can reduce the amount of B-Vitamins absorbed by a horse. Well, my farrier recommends I keep my barefoot boy on biotin, so I think he may have been jumpy as a result of the biotin. Maybe not, but my biotin/Smart Calm combo seems to work well for his hoof health and state of mind!

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