There are many disputes on when to give a horse a calmative, or to give them one at all. There is relevant data that supports the correlation between the stress level of a horse and their magnesium levels. The loss of magnesium through the horse’s sweat means the horse is left stressed and stiff.
Situations that can Result in a Stressed Horse:
- Being surprised by unknown objects or people.
- Having gear put on or being ‘tacked up’.
- Being transported by vehicle.
- Having internal or medical issues as a result of stress, which then causes the horse to stress even more.
- Being overworked.
- Changes in housing, environment or handling.
- Irregular or unsuitable nutrition.
Signs of a Stressed Horse:
- Long-term decreased appetite- can cause ulcers which place stress on the horse’s digestive system.
- Ulcers may cause the horse to lose a significant amount of weights.
- Heavy sweating despite minimal exercising.
- Unpredictable behaviour, even to a trainer the horse knows.
- Upset Stomach and excessive urination.
- Running to stall or shelter, general flightiness.
- Weaving- swaying its head and neck from one side to the other repetitively.
- Stall walking- pacing through the stall or pen repetitively.
- Impulsive behaviour i.e. Aggression or skittish to sounds and movements.
- Excessive yawning, in an attempt to increase endorphin levels.
- Bolting food, or eating too quickly. This can be a choking hazard.
If you have ruled out potential culprits for the source of the horse’s stress then consider giving them a calmative to boost their magnesium levels. This should result in a happy horse who is easier to control and work with. You know what stress feels like, horses should not feel the stressed for extended periods of time as this may affect their health. Consider a calmative supplement to ease the burden of the beast.