Help for Anxious & Nervous Horses with Calming Supplements

Confusion about calming supplements got you feeling as anxious as your horse? Get the facts so you both can feel at ease.

Myth #1

Tryptophan and Magnesium are banned substances for horses that compete.


These nutrients are normal and necessary components of your horse’s diet. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is necessary for the production of serotonin and other hormones that transmit nerve signals in the brain. Magnesium is a mineral that is vital to both nerve and muscle health, and nervousness has been documented as a clinical sign of a magnesium deficiency.

While oral forms of magnesium are a crucial part of your horse’s diet, the recent practice of using injectable forms may be unsafe. For this reason, competitive organizations are now forbidding the use of injectable magnesium sulfate.

Myth #2

Calming supplements will make my horse drowsy or sleepy.


Calming supplements are not the same as sedative medications, which cause drowsiness and incoordination. Many calming supplements work by providing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support a balanced nervous system, helping horses to feel more relaxed and focused. Some also include herbs such as chamomile, vervain and hops to help anxious, spooky horses feel more at ease. The right calming supplement can help your horse keep his normal personality and spunk, while still being confident and comfortable in his own skin.

Myth #3

Calming supplements should be given only before a stressful event like trailering.


Most calming supplements are designed to be fed on a daily basis. Because these
products work by addressing dietary deficiencies and soothing the nervous system, they need to be provided in the horse’s system consistently in order to see results. In fact, it generally takes 2–4 weeks to see the full benefits in your horse.

Paste formulas are the exception, as they typically provide higher levels of active ingredients, as well as faster-acting ingredients for quick results.