Hey everyone! Just wanted your opinion on calming supplements, what works and what doesn't? I hate to buy something and have it not work. Thanks!
Choosing a right calmer depends a lot on your horse. I found an interesting article while back and picked the one based on that article after trying different one for while (Herbs for the Nervous Horse - Horse health problems and articles - Horsetalk.co.nz - equestrian news and horse health information).
I can share mine, but there is no guarantee it'll work or won't work on your horse
Calm & Cool (suggested by my vet, BTW) - didn't work
Magic Mare - didn't work
Moody Mare by Wendals - worked (pricey though)
Calmer by Wendals - didn't work AND gave an opposite effect (horse got VERY overexcited every time I tried it)
I believe I tried some other stuff, but I know for sure anything with valerian root doesn't give any effect on my horse even though valerian considered to be a very good calmer.
I've been using SmartCalm pellets on my Paso gelding for a few weeks now, and I've noticed a definite change. He's calmer when my mare leaves her stall (he used to try to kick the stall down - now he just whinnies to her). He's less spooky on the trail, and walks instead of jigging. He's usually very anxious while I'm grooming him, bathing him, tacking him up, etc., but now he just stands quietly.
I definitely recommend it.
I had a particularly spooky (and violently spooky!) pony on a daily Vit B/Magnesium supplement that seemed to help him out. I don't know if it helps all horses though. I've also tried Smart Calm, B-Kalm, and other different tryptophan supplements. Some horses really respond to tryptophan, some don't. I think Quietex is one of the more effective pastes out there. However, it's illegal at most shows (valerian root) and kind of pricey ($8 a tube). I know a lot of people who swear by Perfect prep, but I haven't tried it.
You may just have to get a few tubes with different active ingredients and see what works best with your horse. What works for one horse may not work for every horse. Don't forget that if you show most show governing organizations have a prohibited substances list.
I would first evaluate a horse's diet and living enviornment before putting him on a calming supplement.
What exactly is he eating? What brand and type of feed? How much (by weight)? What kind of hay, how much, and how often? Any supplements?
What are his living conditions like? How much stall time? How much turnout? What size is his turnout area and with how many horses? Does he get picked on during turnout? Does he pick on other horses?
How often do you ride him, at what speeds, and for how long?
What breed is he? How old? What is his training/riding history? How long have you had him? How long has he been at his current barn?
All of the above can greatly effect a horse's behavior. Changing one or more aspects of his life may dramatically change his behavior. My TBxArab gelding went from "crazy" to puppy dog within 4 months of gradual feed and environment changes.
^^Totally agree. What kind of calming are you looking for? Like chilling him out before a long trailer ride or just calm in general? Everything works a bit different for every horse so alot of times, its trial and error. My QH was a hot horse when I got him...tons of jigging and bolting...we switched his feed from a very sticky sweetfeed to a low starch alternative. The change is amazing. If your a bit more specific on what you are looking to calm, someone on here will have an answer for you
No offense to anyone, but I don't believe the feed will calm down a truly easily-excited horse. Well unless you load it with 10 lbs of sweet feed and then switch to hay only. I feed my horse hay and 1 lb of low starch/low sugar (mostly beet pulp) pellets twice/day and she gets overexcited in matter of couple mins for no reason. And I mean head high, legs shaken, tail up, etc.
Good to hear about the Smartcalm-we are hoping it will work on a lovely (looking) warmblood our trainer has had over 6 mo and still cannot trust. Sometimes (at least a couple times a week) he just loses it. Like all of a sudden we have to spend half an hour putting on his fly mask (he has had one all his life) or, we have to spend his entire training time just going in and out of the barn on him.......have never seen anything quite like it, but doubt he will ever be truly safe and trustworthy. Hope it helps!
My TBxArab gelding was only getting 1 lb of oats and 3 lbs of Alfalfa pellets for a while (along with grass hay a vitamin supplement), and he was still a bit hyperactive and jittery. Sometimes it doesn't take 10 lbs of sweet feet to negatively effect a horse's behavior ;-).
None taken! I agree that a true blue hot blooded horse wont be calmed by a change in diet. But unless you try to fix the diet, how do you know they are truely that hot? Before I switched my horse to a low starch diet, he was being fed 3qts of sweetfeed twice a day. He would run his pasture and riding him was bone jarring. It took a few weeks to truely take effect but now hes much more level headed under saddle and in his pasture. The only thing that changed was his diet.
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