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5 Steps to Getting a Calm Horse

Last updated on October 4, 2023

Any person involved in the equine world has experienced one of “those” horses: high-strung, nervous, hot natured, flighty…basically anything but a calm horse. There can be so many factors into that kind of behavior. Sometimes it’s a combination of MANY factors that can cause an anxious or high-strung horse. Performance horses particularly get a bad rap for being “difficult” horses, but that explosiveness is often what is needed to win, so the behaviors are ignored or laughed off. If you are struggling with a hot horse and just want to bring them down a few notches without impeding performance, then this is the blog for you! 

We’ve got a few suggestions to help calm your horse and make them a bit more pleasurable (and safer) to be around. And believe it or not, we DON’T recommend just dumping a bunch of supplements on their food and calling it good. We suggest starting from the ground up and finding the root of the problem(s), instead of just addressing the symptoms. Curious? Read on…

Foundations for a Calm Horse

1. Check for Ulcers

  • Ulcers are PAINFUL and having a saddle cinched around their sore spot can and WILL cause horses to act out. Horses are meant to graze 24/7. Even though that is not always the case in today’s equine industry, horses’ stomachs don’t know that. Acid is produced constantly, and if there is no forage in the gut to break down, that extra acid will cause ulcers to form. 
  • A sure fire way to get a definitive diagnosis is to have your vet perform an endoscopy. They snake a small camera down the esophagus into the gut, and can see if any sores are visible. 
  • But don’t forget the hindgut! The endoscopy cannot reach back that far, so hindgut ulcers are harder to diagnose and often get missed. Mark DePaolo, DVM has a great YouTube tutorial on how to palpate for hindgut ulcers. Watch it here.

2. Detox

  • Horses can acquire toxin buildup in their systems, just like humans can. They ingest chemicals through water, feed, bug sprays, grooming products….horses are exposed every day in multiple ways. This can lead to changes in appetite and performance, weaken their immune systems, and even change behaviors. If they don’t feel well, they’re not going to act well.
  • For more information on why it’s important to detox your horses, read this blog.
  • We recommend all horses get our Foundation Daily Detox to help purge their system of harmful chemicals and get all their natural body functions running the way they should.

3. Proper Nutrition

  • Top human athletes follow strict nutrition guidelines to better increase their energy, performance and overall health. The same attention to nutrition should be applied to equine athletes as well!
  • Horses should have free choice forage at all times, to help prevent excess stomach acid and ulcers. Their bodies were designed to graze 24/7 so are healthier when their natural instincts and functions are encouraged.
  • High quality supplements like Foundation Daily Detox and NuTrack Digestive Support support healthy digestive systems which allows the horse to absorb nutrients better and flush out toxins. 
  • Animal Element supplements contain beneficial vitamins and minerals that help your horse reach peak physical condition and improve their performance. 46 out of 50 Animal Element ingredients are food-grade ingredients. The remaining 4 ingredients are animal feed-grade, and ALL of our all-natural supplements have no artificial additives or fillers.
  • A healthy gut is the foundation to a strong, healthy, happy horse. If they have an unhappy gut, their behavior can and will reflect that. You don’t want to run and play and be friendly when your stomach hurts, right? Neither does your horse. Constant pain and discomfort can cause irritability and behavior changes.
  • Read Mardi’s story to see how Foundation Daily Detox improved his health and temperament! 

4. Training

  • Often times inadequate training, or unknown expectations cause a nervous horse. Evaluate your horse’s training, and your communication. Do they UNDERSTAND what you are asking of them? Are they physically and mentally capable of executing the task you’re expecting of them?
  • Equus Magazine has a great article called “Calming The Anxious Horse,” read it here.
  • It never hurts to go back to basics and go over the foundations with your horse until they seem to understand expectations better. It could lead to a more enjoyable and safer experience for you AND your horse.

5. In The Zone Paste

  • Sometimes even with all the proper foundational things in place, horses are still high-strung and need help calming their nerves. 
  • Many calming pastes or medicines take the hot out of a horse, but with that they also take away a horse’s quick reflexes and the explosiveness and speed that makes them excel as a performance horse. 
  • In the Zone paste has been specifically formulated to help calm a horse’s nerves while maintaining their natural ability for speed and performance. 
  • In fact, many horse lovers have seen horses that were too nervous to even compete have a complete turn around and start winning with In the Zone. 

Read the story of Smash– the horse who went from bouncing off the walls like an orangutan to falling asleep in his stall and winning three races in a row.

Some Horses are Naturally High-Strung

Keep in mind that some horses are just naturally high-strung and prone to nervousness. If you suspect that’s your horse, it’s important to figure out how best to communicate your expectations to them in a way that they understand. Staying calm yourself is also key to getting your horse calm.

Remember to check for ulcers, detox from heavy metals, offer high quality feed and supplements, re-evaluate your training, and offer In The Zone calming paste to help turn your fire-breathing dragon back into a performance horse. For more information on the supplements featured in this blog, click on the shop tab on our website

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