Feeding a nervous or excitable horse herbs such as chamomile, vervain, valerian root, poppy or lavender may help to calm him
- but first it is important to discover why a horse or pony is getting excited or fizzy.
What makes a horse excitable?
Excitable or nervous behaviour in a horse or pony has a number of causes:
If the cause of the horse's excitability is just lack of exercise or he is receiving too much high energy feed then the answer is simple - more exercise or less food! No need to look for a herbal remedy!
Herbal remedies should never be used as a replacement for proper exercise, feeding, schooling, training, experience or discipline for a horse.
However herbs can be used to calm a horse that gets nervous, overexcited or tense because of outside influences, competition nerves or insecurity.
Herbs such as valerian root, chamomile, vervain, poppy, scullcap and lavender are nerve relaxants.
These are the herbal remedies that will relieve the tension caused by over-excitablilty.
Some of these herbs are also anti-spasmodic and will relax the gut and affect the peripheral nerves and muscles. This anti-spasmodic action will have a relaxing effect on whole of the horse or pony - without affecting the horse's senses or sedating him.
It is possible to buy blends of herbal supplements mixed specially to produce a calming effect on horses.
If the horse or pony's fizziness is due to 'competition nerves' it may be best to administer the relaxing herbs for just a few days before the event.
Be aware of any stress caused to the horse during competition, and if necessary continue to feed the herbs for a few days following the event.
Bach Flower Remedies and essential oils can be particularly helpful to a horse stressed by going to horse shows and competing.
Herbs can be very useful to give to a horse that is on Box Rest.
Bach flower remedies can also benefit a rider or horse owner with competition nerves!!
There is also a homeopathic remedy suitable for calming competition nerves in a rider - Argent Nit. - which is more usually prescribed for stage fright.
C, alternative to a herbal supplement for horses is to give a supplement containing magnesium