Herbal Remedies for Shying?

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Herbal Remedies for Shying?

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    05-12-2010, 11:12 PM
Herbal Remedies for Shying?


I'm only new to the forums, but I'd like to get some advice from you all.

I'm retraining my horse from being a polocrosse pony to dressage and trail-riding.

We've had some bridle problems (which is a whole other story, but I think we are almost on top of), but the problem I'd like your help with is that he tends to shy quite a bit - and very unexpectedly. At times it is just annoying - but at others can be a bit dangerous. Because there is no guarantee if the shy will be just him propping or if he does a spin and depart. We can be walking along with a couple of us, just talking and relaxing and he'll see something out the corner of his eye and boom a shy happens - which can be frustrating for the other riders I'm with, particularly as there may have been no sign of tension prior to the shy. Or I could be working him in the arena and another horse comes along the path and he does a big prop when he catches sight of them.

I know that there are herbal remedies you can use to help calm them a little before you ride out. My big concern is that I don't want him to become catatonic ... I'm just looking for some recommendations for something that might just help me a little.

Thanks for any suggestions
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    05-12-2010, 11:17 PM
What are you feeding him at the moment, in its entirety (ie include hay amount and type, grains, supplements etc.)?
    05-13-2010, 02:05 AM

He's in a paddock with other horses. Each morning hay is split between them - so hard to say how much exactly he gets, but my best guess is that he would get a decent size biscuit each morning. (He's about the middle of the pack in pecking order, so he would get his fair share).

Then when I ride him (3-4 times per week) I feed him. Then he gets a plastic bucket of oaten chaff, about 1/2 kg of copra (watered down), tbsp livermol, tbsp calcium and a tsp of elctrolytes.

He's got a good cover - without being fat, shiny healthy coat.

    05-13-2010, 02:21 AM
You may want to try lowering his Oaten Chaff and perhaps even his Copra if he isn't a hard keeper. As for herbal remedies, I occasionally use Quietex tubed formula for trailering and it seems to work, it also comes in powder form for daily use. Other people in my barn have used Easy Boy and they said it seemed to work. The active ingredient in many common calming supplements is Valerian root.

However, in the end, some horses are just hotter than others. My first horse was like yours- he would seem calm and then something would come out and he'd bolt. The important part is what you do after the spook. You have to be calm and pretty much pretend it didn't happen, take him right back to work and don't let him freak himself out. If you see something coming that you think might spook him, occupy his mind, for example ask for a trot circle and don't allow him to get distracted. Be aware of yourself and ask yourself if you are tense or nervous. It often helps to turn your own fear into determined 'anger', as in thinking "I am going to trot right by that trailer and nothing in this world can stop me!" If you don't want him to spook, don't give him a chance to. Even when you're walking warming up or taking a break, don't just go in a circle around and around, do serpentines and diagonals. Keep him focused on you and not what's going on outside.

Hope this helped!
    05-13-2010, 02:31 AM
I would take him off the oaten chaff and switch him to lucern or wheaten chaff. My arab is the calmest thing when he's not on oats, but as soon as he gets oats, it's all spook even though he lives and works on the same property.
My old lease horse got a little fizzy on copra, but that would only make him bolt from a canter. He wouldn't spook any more, but he just wouldn't stop running.
I've tried chamomile and that's sent horses more nuts than before, so look out for that. All the calming b vitamins either make horses cranky pants or bonkers as well.
Personally I try to stear clear from calming stuff. Natural and not, I haven't personally had any good experiences.
    05-13-2010, 02:39 AM
Oaten chaff doesnt actually contain any oats, so that should be fine
    05-13-2010, 02:45 AM
Originally Posted by ThatNinjaHorse    
Oaten chaff doesnt actually contain any oats, so that should be fine
Tell that to my feed store!!! My friend bought tripple blend and it's PACKED with oats same as any other oaten chaff we've ever gotten.
Now we just stear clear of it and buy working horse mix for the oldies.
    05-13-2010, 08:07 AM
Thanks everyone for the comments.

I'll try changing over from the oaten chaff - but my understanding was it wasn't heating. It's not that he's overly hot - just alert and a high flight instinct.

I'm pretty good at keeping him occupied and carrying on as if nothing happened - comes with the grace of aging - in my younger years I would have lost my temper with him. Sigh! But I do look forward to the day when we can go for an entire ride without a single shy/spook!

Thanks again

herbal remedies, shying

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