We are often asked for advice from owners of nervous/anxious/spooky horses. There are many calmers on the market and it can all be a bit overwhelming!

Firstly, we would always suggest taking a 'whole picture' view of the problem. Firstly, many horses are simply not doing the work they used to. Many horses are being fed hard feed, stabled overnight and perhaps some of the day, and only ridden for short periods a few times a week, if that!

It is important to try and give horses as much turnout as possible with room for them to burn off excess high spirits, ideally with company. It is not really surprising that a horse kept in a stable for 2/3rds of the day (if turnout is 9am-5pm), may have some pent-up energy.

*** Try to reduce the sugars in their diet Most horses do really well on a high fibre/low sugar diet, such as grazing (not too rich), hay (if needed) and high fibre feed such as chaff/alfalfa/unmolassed sugarbeet/high fibre nuts. If grazing is rich, and your horse is putting on too much weight, try to reduce it by strip-grazing or grazing muzzles.

*** Check fit of tack no horse is going to relax if their saddle/bridle is causing discomfort.

*** Check they are not in pain If your horse is fine to handle on the ground, but gets 'spooky' when ridden, it could be due to teeth, back or some other pain.

*** In season mares or riggy gelding Often behaviour can be affected by hormones, and a mare with PMT-type behavious can often be difficult to handle. AGNUS CASTUS is a herb that has been used for centuries to help women with PMT. It can be helpful for a mare and can also help settle the hormones of a riggy gelding or stallion.

*** Magnesium With some nervous and excitable horses, supplementing magnesium can have a calming effect. Magnesium is not a sedative, and if a horse is not low in magnesium, or their behaviour has another causes, a magnesium supplement will not help. However, in some cases, a magnesium supplement can have a dramatic effect, and is usually worth trying! See 90% PURITY MAGNESIUM OXIDE and MAGNESIUM OXIDE HEAVY

*** Calming Herbs Having said all of the above, some horses are just rather nervous and excitable by nature. Also, certain circumstances can cause anxiety such as travelling, vet visits, shows etc. For these horses, herbs known for their calming properties can be useful. HERBAL CALM is a blend of three herbs, Valerian, Vervain and Chamomile, which are all known for their calming effects. This is a useful blend for those horses whose anxiety is not helped by a magnesium supplement, as they are either not low in magnesium, or their behaviour is not caused by this. It should be noted that Herbal Calm contains valerian which is banned by the Jockey Club and FEI. Therefore it is recommended that owners check the ruling on valerian with the competitive organisation when competiting.

Each of valerian, chamomile and vervain can be bought seperately.

BREWERS YEAST has also worked well as a calmer in some horses due to the B vitamins is contains.

Our blend HERBAL HORMONAL is an equal blend of 90% magnesium oxide, brewers yeast and agnus castus powder. We also have a version available that includes valerian root.

*** Homoeopathic remedies can be useful for calming anxious horses. There are various remedies depending on the type of horse, symptoms and situations. For instance, KALI-PHOS is very good for horses on box rest, whilst ACONITE can help with show nerves.

We hope this has been of some help. It can often require a bit of trial and error to see what works for your horse. Many owners find that with the help of a calmer, they can often work through their horses anxiety, so much so that the calmer is not longer needed!