Some horses are naturally calm about any and all situations they encounter and other horses are less serene. If your horse’s nerves sometimes get the better of him, the right supplement, in conjunction with proper management and training may help, and SmartPak is here help you find it!
There are three types of temperament supplements to choose from: nutrient-based calming formulas, herbal calming formulas and herbal formulas designed specifically for moody mares. By taking a closer look at these three types of supplements, it’s easier to get a better understanding of how they work, so you can find the right support for your horse.
Nutrient-Based Calming Supplements
Horses whose diets don’t provide enough of the nutrients necessary for proper nervous system function may be anxious. These formulas are designed to bring your horse’s dietary levels into the optimal range for a healthy, correctly functioning nervous system. Nutrient-based calming supplements are an ideal starting point for horses that are nervous, edgy, reactive or spooky. Nutrient-based supplements may also be a smart choice for riders who wish to avoid herbal calming supplements.
When it comes to nutrient-based calming supplements, there are three ingredients to look for: vitamin B1, magnesium, and inositol. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is important in the normal transmission of impulses along nerves. Supplementing with vitamin B1 helps ensure your horse is getting enough for his nervous system to function normally. Magnesium, a macro mineral, is a key player in nervous system function. One of the clinical signs of magnesium deficiency is nervousness, so many riders find that supplementing with magnesium helps their horses to stay relaxed. Finally, inositol is closely related to the B-vitamin family and is found in nearly every cell in the body. It assists in nerve transmission and supports the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin, so supplementing with inositol may be helpful for nervous horses.
Tryptophan is another nutrient and it is an essential amino acid, which means it needs to be supplied in your horse’s diet. It’s converted by the body into serotonin, which may help increase feelings of well-being and contentment.
For those horses who are mildly nervous and need basic temperament support, supplements like SmartCalm Pellets or Quiessence provide essential nutrients to help support a quiet disposition. Horses who are especially spooky and anxious may benefit from a more comprehensive option, such as SmartCalm Ultra Pellets.
Herb-Based Calming Supplements
Herbal ingredients can provide soothing support for tense, anxious horses. Some of these supplements combine herbs with the nutrient-based ingredients listed on the previous page. If you don’t compete, an herbal calming formula may be a great option to consider. Additionally, if you’ve tried a nutrient-based supplement and didn’t see the results you were hoping for, consider trying an herbal formula as a next step.
For herb-based supplements, some ingredients to look for include valerian, chamomile, and vervain. Valerian is a potent herb that may help balance the nervous system. Because it can also help address muscle cramps associated with tension, it’s helpful for horses that hold their anxiety in their muscles. Chamomile, another herb that supports nervous system function, is especially beneficial for horses who process their nervousness through their gastrointestinal system. Vervain may help balance the nervous system of horses who have excess energy, helping them slow down and concentrate on the job at hand.
Supplements like SmartTranquility and Vision are designed with these types of ingredients to provide a higher level of support.
Moody Mare Supplements
During their heat cycle, some mares may become moody, and their poor attitude could be related to hormonal fluctuations or discomfort. Moody mare formulas include ingredients that help support balanced hormones and an even disposition. When choosing a supplement in this category, keep in mind that some herbal ingredients are forbidden by competitive organizations.
Passion flower, chasteberry and raspberry are a few ingredients that are great choices for moody mares. Passion flower helps relax muscle tension in both smooth and skeletal muscle, making it a helpful choice for mares who are uncomfortable due to spasms in their reproductive and digestive systems. Vitex agnus castus, also known as chasteberry, helps maintain a balanced hormonal system. Finally, raspberry supports smooth muscle tone in the reproductive and digestive tracts, helping to relax muscle that is in spasm. SmartMare Harmony combines a blend of these ingredients to support a balanced temperament.
Support Beyond Supplements
In some cases behavioral issues may be a sign of an underlying problem. In addition to providing supplemental support, there are some other areas to consider that might need to be evaluated as well. Working with your horse’s veterinarian and trainer is a great first step. Some areas to consider checking include:
- Ill-fitting tack
- Too much grain in the diet
- Gastric upset
- Dental problems
- Lack of turnout
Every horse’s requirements are different, so it is important to work with your veterinarian to develop the right plan for your horses’ individual needs. To learn more about all of the calming supplements offered and for more advice on working through behavioral issues, visit www.SmartPak.com today.
From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness. With the success of this simple and convenient feeding system, SmartPak has continued to expand its offering of quality products, including its own line of more than 55 supplement formulas called SmartSupplements, and a wide variety of tack, equipment, and supplies. The company has grown rapidly each year and is now the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States. SmartPak’s success has been powered by a passion for delivering an unbeatable customer experience, and the company has been recognized with a Bizrate Circle of Excellence award five years in a row, as well as receiving an “Elite” rating from STELLAService. A nine-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, SmartPak is the only equine company ever named to the Inc. 500 list.