Some supplements for horses can help improve holistic health, including hooves, skin, and joints, and can make up for nutritional deficiencies in the horse's diet in some cases. There are also horse supplements intended to calm and alleviate stress, but make sure the horse is not experiencing an underlying medical condition that is causing them duress, first. Talk to your equine veterinarian for an evaluation, as well as to determine if dietary changes are needed when adding natural herbal supplements.
Some common herbal supplements that can calm an anxious horse typically utilize ingredients like magnesium, chamomile, valerian root, vitamin B, and Ashwagandha. Here is what you need to know about these herbal supplements, and what they can potentially do.
Chamomile has long been used by humans for its sedative effects, and it has the same result with horses, too. Other benefits of chamomile include that it is anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrheal.
It is difficult for a horse to get enough Magnesium purely from their diet, so it makes sense to supplement as needed and after you have your horse's diet evaluated by an equine professional. Magnesium is often used to calm and relax, and it helps support a healthy nervous system. When the nervous system is not working properly, it sends the wrong signals to the horse, leaving the animal confused and nervous. If a Magnesium deficiency is the cause of your horse's anxiety, supplements can have speedy results.
Amino acids can also play a role in your horse's stress and anxiety. Essential amino acids must come from the diet since they can't be organically produced. L-tryptophan is an amino that contributes to feelings of calmness. In fact, this essential amino acid is usually referred to as an anti-stress hormone.
Vitamin B is integral for a healthy nervous system. While most horses derive their B vitamins naturally, some may require a supplement due to diet or stress. For instance, when a horse is deficient in Thiamine — one of the important B vitamins — they act nervous and antsy.
Ashwagandha is gaining popularity as an herbal supplement that alleviates anxiety, tension, and stress. The way that it works is to reduce stress cortisol, so the horse can stay calm. This herbal supplement has also shown promise as a pain reliever, too.
Valerian root is used widely in products that promote relaxation and feelings of contentment. Humans often experience less anxiety and better sleep with valerian, while it has shown efficacy in resolving colic in horses. Talk to your equine vet to learn more about this herbal supplement.
As mentioned, make sure to have your horse evaluated to ensure there is not an underlying medical issue that is causing them to be stressed or anxious. Also, if you show, ride, or compete with your horse, supplements may be banned, even natural or herbal ones. Consider this when adding supplements to your horse's daily regimen.
For more information on natural supplements for horses, contact a professional near you.
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