Endurance racehorses are robust creatures capable of almost anything. However, they also suffer from nerves and anxiety. Here are a few methods you can employ to ensure horses are at ease before competition time.
Establish a comfort level
There are some steps you can take to prepare your horse for a competition before travelling to the venue in an attempt to minimise stress levels. Reducing exercise the 3-4 days before a competition can help your horse’s body store glycogen levels to full capacity, which will stop them from burning out in the long race. Regularly giving your horse equine supplements can also aid in maintaining your horse’s state of being. Nothing else in the horse’s regime should change. Continue to give them free access to grass and hay and stimulate their water intake. By changing minimal factors the horse is more likely to be calm.
This level of comfort must be emotional and physical. Physically, your horse needs an appropriate place to sleep, space to roam and plenty of food and water; this is just the basics of any animal’s care. While travelling be sure to make frequent stops and check on your horse thoroughly to ensure they are still comfortable and calm. Establishing this level of comfort in a new environment to the horse is easier said than done.
New environments and situations can increase the stress levels of horses somewhat unpredictably at times. They may even be used to travelling and show no signs of stress en route, but when reaching their new destination will show changes in their behaviour.
Be on the lookout for signs of stress
Your horse’s behaviour will show signs of stress if they are experiencing anxiety. They talk to us, and we just need to know how to listen. While a horse you are riding experiences stress they will get a tremor down their body you will likely feel. You can expect them to raise their heads and for their ears to snap back. They will take slower and shorter steps, the back will drop and you will likely hear them snort. These are tell-tale signs of a stressed horse.
Should you be concerned that your horse is experiencing heightened stress levels or even chronic anxiety, consider treating them with equine calming supplements. Equicalm restores the horse’s vitamin B levels and keeps them calm. For advice and equine products geared to keep your horse happy and healthy contact us!