Calming supplement -What is your experience with them?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by AAHunterRider92, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. AAHunterRider92

    AAHunterRider92 Full Member

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    Hello,
    I haven't posted in a long, long time, but hello again everyone.

    Back story:
    My mare was boarded at my trainer's barn since I got her in September of last year through the beginning of July this year. My trainer sold her boarding facility and she moved one of her horses to the new place I'm boarding my mare at.

    She seems pretty well adjusted at middle/lower pecking order in the pasture, but will push her 900# around when she needs to. She has free choice grass hay during the day (slow feeder net overnight limited to about 2 flakes, but I might need to have them go down more), not on any feed ( was on Ration balancer until a few weeks ago as we were getting too chubby), on a vitamin/mineral supplement (that matches with the hay the barn owners grow), and gets general nutritional supplements (MSM, Salt, Probiotics) daily.

    However, her spookiness has gotten increasingly worse while riding and she seems much more on alert on the ground too. The barn owner let me try her on Ex-stress which is basically a B vitamin supplement plus 1,000mg of Magnesium. She doesn't seem to have gotten much better on it -we're still having at least one good spook on doing groundwork/lunging before riding and maybe one or two under saddle. I know how to keep her more focused than she was initially, but she is hard to get relaxed and stay relaxed. Groundwork/desensitization has helped some with the spooking lately.

    Anyways, my trainer thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to try her on a different calming supplement to help both of us continue to progress in the right direction. I don't think ulcers, pain, heat cycles, or eyesight are an issue with her (I'm a CVT, so I keep an eye on her health pretty closely myself and keep her vet involved if I feel there are ANY issues at all). I'm going to ask the doctors I work with if they have any opinions on this all too (I work at a small animal practice myself, but a couple of the doctors have horse experience from prior jobs).

    I'm debating between a few options:
    -Magnesium supplement (MagRestore +/- focus supplement) only supplement at a higher dosage than the Ex-stress had.
    -L-Tryptophan supplements -trying this on it's own instead of jumping to another supplement with a combo of things.
    -One of the Smart Calm Supplements -both of these have ingredient(s) the ex-stress didn't have (Inositol is in both and L-Tryptophan is in the Ultra).
    -Med Vet Calmex- ditto the smart calm supplements.
    -Herbal type supplements -I'd prefer to go the neutraceutical route first before jumping to an herbal or Herbal/Neutraceutical product.

    I've heard of some people having better luck with the MagRestore/Focus and vise versa with the Smart Pack supplements, so I want to hear your opinions on what you used, what seemed to work, and why you chose what you did. I made myself a comparison table between almost all the different options available, so I can pick the best option for my mare (I've nixed all the ones that are similar to the ex-stress).
    Emmy and I thank you!
    ~AA
     
  2. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    It sounds like she's a very easy keeper, potentially at risk for IR/EMS? My mare is an air fern and diagnosed IR 3 years ago. She was always pretty hot headed in new situations and took a long time to relax. She has age on her side, considering she's now 17, so maybe part of it has just been her growing up and getting more exposure. That said, a few months after foundering and being diagnosed as IR, I started her on Quiessence (after she had lost considerable weight but still had fat deposits). Her fat deposits completely went away and she had a much easier time eating free choice hay that is in nets but not as limited as it used to be, while maintaining a perfect weight. She has also become extremely level headed and rarely spooks while still having plenty of energy and pep in her step. Again, I can't say for sure that the behavioral changes are coincidental or causality, but I am confident that the Quiessence has helped her metabolism immensely.

    She started getting spooky and hot headed early this year, and when other symptoms started showing up as well, I knew she had ulcers again (had them after foundering initially). Ulcers can certainly cause these kind of behavioral issues, but I'd expect to see accompanying symptoms as well (but should be kept in the back of your mind should more symptoms arise).

    Lastly, I'd be sure to thoroughly rule out any potential pain (saddle fit, bit, back pain, other joint pain, etc).
     
  3. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    My gelding did well on the Smart Calm Ultra. He is not naturally spooky though. I had him on it when he was away at the trainer and turnout was limited in winter (due to negative temps and a lot of snow) so it helped take the edge off without sedating him. I noticed a pretty big difference with him on it.
     
  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Tried many, none of them ever worked.

    What worked was having my horse in a program where she got worked 6 days a week, 45 minutes a ride with real active work(trot and canter, no walking except brief breaks to keep her relaxed), and got ordinary hay and went out in a pasture for a few hours a day, otherwise she got too many calories from our rich pasture, and too much shtank. No ration balancers, no grain, no concentrates. Ration balancers make her absolutely nuts, especially at the recommended amounts. Even on that program she had boundless energy and was shiny and fat.

    When Wuss Horse needs a 'calming sedative', I give him some hay and he immediately chills out.

    My experience is the best 'calming sedative' of all is the horse being in a consistent program of frequent work, at least 5 days a week, every week, all year.

     
  5. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    I've had really good luck with Vision for a rescue mare with severe trauma and anxiety. She was on it for about 6 months and I have started to slowly wean her off of it. It allowed her to simmer down enough to be able to use her brain to re-learn the world. She was so anxious she was always in flight mode and could never retain any information because that part of her brain was just never on. Vision I believe is tryptophan based and very affordable. Good luck!
     
  6. Circle C

    Circle C Senior Member

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    I've never really had much luck with any calming supplements either.
     
  7. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    I tried Perfect Prep on my horse years ago with no effect. In hind sight his was pain from a leg. He was stoic as to not look lame, but not in how he was reacting. Agree ulcers add to spookiness, too. I am also finding that head and poll pain is a big one for spookiness. Been working with a friend's horse and started working on his head with my base of learning from the Masterson method. Also agree sometimes just feeding them and letting them chill can help too. And certain missing vitamins could be another issue. Was with myself and being jumpy at sounds. Also agree consistency is a big one too for horses.

    All these means there are so many different reasons that a horse can be spooking. And just going to a calming supplement will just mask it without figuring out the real reason for the spookiness. Might lead to bigger issues like it did for my horse where he finally did get to the point of actual obvious lameness.
     
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  8. AAHunterRider92

    AAHunterRider92 Full Member

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    Doc, she's definitely an easy keeper and trending towards looking IR/EMS which is why we're trying to decrease her food in general -both me and my trainer are keeping a close eye on her. Emmy is definitely not Stoic with pain, as I got dumped several times (multiple rides) before we figured out her back/hip was off without any lameness/off steps. I definitely will consider a chiro or ulcer treatment if she does continue to worsen. I know more work would help too, but I haven't been feeling great myself again lately.

    Thank you for the input!

    Thanks Mc, that's pretty much why we're going to try her on a different one for a couple months -she just is in prey mode so much lately that I feel she's only going to get herself more anxious about things with construction at the barn coming up.

    Thanks for there input Love. She isn't acting how she did the last couple times there was a pain issue, but I'll consider further investigation in that way if she worsens. I feel it's just all the changes in the past year of her life that have gotten an anxiety/flight factor revved up -she was at the same barn since birth until I bought her last year and then recently moving to the new barn/adjusting was another big change and learning so much over the course of a year with me too. She did fine at the 3 schooling shows we went to though and acted like it was no big deal though, so who knows.
     
  9. Morganhorse321

    Morganhorse321 Senior Member

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    I was really skeptical to try calming supplements, but my pretty spooky horse is so much more manageable and seems to think through situations better now that he's on Smart Calm Ultra
     

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