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How to Calm Horses – Natural or Medication?

how to calm horses

How to calm horses is a commonly Googled term for anyone dealing with an energized equine. Horses are anxious creatures by nature; they’re not at the top of the food chain, and they can’t see directly behind them. There are natural remedies to calm a horse, and there are some that are anxious enough to need medication. It’s all about figuring out the root cause and tackling it.

How to Calm Horses – Natural Tips to Calm a Horse

Like with humans, a horse’s nerves can get the best of him or her. This is especially true when new things are introduced. It goes into overdrive when the horse is introduced to new surroundings, like at shows or off-property trail rides. It’s okay for a horse to be inquisitive and even a little anxious. However, it becomes a problem when safety is jeopardized.

Try talking in a low, calming voice to your horse. Let him or her know that you’re there to help and keep them safe. It can be good for both of you since horses can sense what you’re feeling too. Take deep breaths and try to relax a bit. Make your movements slower so as not to startle your horse into the natural fight or flight instinct.

Remember that it’s often due to new things that a horse acts up. Let him or her investigate the offending object. Overall, the goal is to not make a big deal of it. This will calm your horse immediately until you can figure out what’s going on.

How to Calm Horses – When to Seek Medication

Many horse owners need to feel confident they can depend on their horse in new environments, like shows, hauling, or sales. Because of this, they modify their horse’s behavior using medication. Much like anti-anxiety medication in humans, these work by altering the way certain chemicals are processed in the brain.

There’s a catch, though. Sometimes these medications can’t be used in competitions. You have to be aware of what’s on the banned substance list of your sport’s governing agency.

Medication Recommendation

Ramard Total Calm & Focus Show Safe Supplement

how to calm horses

Sometimes, you need your horse to focus rather than be fidgety. This is especially true for show horses. Rather than focusing on the activity happening outside the show ring, the horse needs to have its attention on the rider’s cues. For this problem, riders have discovered Ramisol, a chemical that decreases cortisol levels.

Cortisol is released by the horse’s brain when exercising. High levels of cortisol can lead to fatigue, mood changes, and depression. This one is safe to use in most sports, too.

Cavalor Calm

Another safe to use supplement, this one is pretty simple. You just put it in your horse’s feed. It even comes with instructions on doses and how often to use it. It’s also an FEI clean sport guaranteed substance. Because of this, it’s a favorite among equestrians.

The way it works is that the calming chemicals, such as magnesium, combine with herbs to soothe a horse’s nerves without tampering with memory or motor skills.

SynNutra SynChill Gel

how to calm horses

If your horse is at a show and acting as if they’ve never been outside of their stall, you’ll want to keep this around. It’s in a convenient, single-dose container. Just like a wormer, you insert it at the back of the horse’s mouth, just under the tongue.

This FEI-compliant gel isn’t a sedative, so your horse won’t be sleepy or dull; it just reduces nervousness and puts the horse in a better mood. How does it work?

It contains an amino acid that produces serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that helps stabilize your horse’s mood.

Medication v Natural

When it comes to deciding whether or not to use medication to calm your horse, it can be a difficult decision.

Horses are naturally flighty creatures, and some breeds have a worse reputation than others. However, the truth is that all horses have some natural instincts to be nervous. Giving them medications like these is no different from a person seeking medication for their anxiety and stress.

It’s an equestrian’s job to help a horse be happy, competitive, and safe. Medications, especially when used appropriately, have helped many with that.

Was this post helpful? Please post your comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. By the way, I have another post you might find helpful. Read, “5 Horse Barn Safety Tips” you might find helpful.


  • Christine says:

    I think I would prefer natural calming methods but I don’t have a lot of experience with it. Some wild horses pass by my property from time to time. In reality, they belong to nearby ranchers but they live like wild horses and are incredibly skittish, they fear people … I think that natural calming methods can be beneficial for horses if they’re extremely nervous. Living with such fear and nervousness must be taxing on them …

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Christine. Thanks for your comment and feedback on my article. I too think natural calming remedies for horse should be used first before trying medicine. As with humans, doctors can be quick to give medicine instead of trying natural remedies first. Please stop by again.

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