We have an increasing number of enqiries regarding horses experiencing competition nerves. So often it is a case of what is being fed between events that can be the over riding culprit causing the horse to react with explosive tension on the day. Often the rider will say the horse is quiet and biddable to home only to become a monster at shows. The high energy feeds you feed for the rest of the week are literally brewing a storm for that special day.What can happen is that your horse is being fed energy in excess to their daily requirement .This energy will be retained as glycogen to become the fuel that feeds a shy, buck, rear or bolt usually reserved for the show. The beginning of the show season is a stressful time for both horse and rider. While most horses improve as the season progresses there are calming programs that can help with this transition.
What measures you can take to ensure that you are not contributing to your horse’s nervousness?
- Make sure the exercise regime matches the amount of energy in feed.
- Ensure that you are not feeding your horse mixes that have molasses, lucerne and corn in them. Molasses can act like a glucose fix.
- Ensure that the horse has plenty of roughage like meadow hay and oaten chaff. The cellulose in dry matter will provide the horse with slow release energy with out hotting him up.
- Ensure that part of the calorie load consists of cold pressed oils. Make sure oils have not become transfats. These will only contribute to the destruction of essential calming neurotransmittors like dopamine. They also are implicated in cortisol overload.
- A blood test from you vet will indicate magnesium levels. Deficiency can lead to nervousness and excitability, muscle tremors and ill temper.
- Vitamin B1( thiamine) helps maintain a healthy nervous system. 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast daily will provide your horse with additional Vitamin B1
- Make sure the rider is not contributing to the horse’s level of anxiety by being nervous. some have found that valerian seems to help with show nerves. As yet riders are not being tested.
Once all the above have been addresed and your horse is still difficult at shows a herbal calmer may be the answer.
We have a number of herbal calmers each working in a diferent way:
- Hira Equi-So Calm consists of mainly valerian. Be aware that it is swabbable. It is particulary useful when introducing your horse to a new experience especially first time showing where you may simply expose your horse to the show atmosphere thereby gradually desenstising it to strange sounds etc. It is the most effective of all the herbal sedatives by relaxing over contracted muscles and reduces nervous activity by inhibiting the stress response. It does not dull the horse’s responses so is quite safe to use when jumping.
- Hira Seda Horse consists of a range of plant extracts formulated to address the overproduction of cortisol, hypersensitivlity to stimulii and to help with first time show nerves. It can help with reactivity to grass sugars when magnesium does not appear to help. We have found that is helps with separation anxiety and horses struggling with a more advanced traing regime. A a long term training aid just 3ml daily will make the horse more receptive and calm. For show day around 10ml an hour before will be sufficient
- Chamomile Calm is a wonderfully gentle herb suitable for horses that tuck up and scour when upset and travel badly. 10ml of tincture half an hour before travelling seems to reduce nervous scouring. It is the herb to help with digestive type nerves
If you have issues re nervousness with your horse do not hesitate to contact us either by phone or emialing us at email@example.com