Calming Supplements: Goodbye to Butterflies

Tense, edgy, spooky, worried. If any of these words describe your horse, a calming supplement could make training easier and riding more fun. These natural products are carefully formulated to alleviate anxiety, improve focus and help your horse feel confident in new situations, without unwanted drowsiness. As a result, they might help you feel more relaxed, too. Here are four ingredients to look for:

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, is commonly fed as a calming supplement because it plays a key role in nerve impulses and the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Horses lacking B1 in their diet can be nervous, spooky and unfocused, with tense muscles and a poor appetite. Unlike most other B vitamins, horses don’t make enough of their own B1. Fresh pasture and cereal grains like oats are good sources of this vitamin, but many horses need additional supplementation

Magnesium is an electrolyte and is needed for muscle contractions. Broodmares, growing horses and horses in moderate to heavy work often need more Magnesium than what a typical diet provides. Clinical signs of Magnesium deficiency include nervousness and muscle tension, so it is commonly included in calming supplements.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet because your horse’s body can’t make enough on its own. The brain converts Tryptophan into serotonin, melatonin and other hormones that transmit nerve signals. Serotonin is known as a “feel-good hormone” because it increases feelings of wellbeing and contentment, helping to calm and soothe.

Courtesy of SmartPak