Do Calming Feeds For Horses Work


What Are Calming Feeds For Horses?

Calming feeds for horses are specially formulated supplements designed to address behavioral issues such as stress and anxiety, particularly in the context of competitive events and intensive training.

These feeds are crafted to provide a balanced blend of nutrients that support the horse’s overall well-being, aiding in the maintenance of a calm and focused demeanor. By incorporating ingredients known for their soothing effects, such as valerian root, chamomile, and magnesium, these feeds help horses manage the pressures of training and competition.

They can assist in minimizing the impact of external stressors on the horse’s mental state, allowing them to perform at their best while maintaining a healthy emotional equilibrium.

What Are The Ingredients In Calming Feeds?

Calming feeds for horses contain a variety of key ingredients, each contributing to the overall calming effect and addressing specific aspects of horse health and behavior.


Magnesium is a common component of calming feeds for horses, known for its role in addressing magnesium deficiencies and promoting relaxation and stable behavior.

When included in a horse’s diet, magnesium plays a crucial part in maintaining overall health and well-being. It can have a significant impact on the nervous system, muscle function, and energy production in horses. A balanced intake of magnesium can aid in managing anxiety, excitability, and stress-related behaviors in equines. It is essential for horse owners to understand the importance of magnesium supplementation and ensure it meets their horse’s specific dietary requirements to support optimal health and performance.


Tryptophan is a crucial ingredient in calming feeds, as it plays a key role in promoting the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation and mood stability in horses.

Research has shown that incorporating tryptophan into a horse’s diet can have a significant impact on their behavior and overall well-being. By increasing serotonin levels, tryptophan can help horses manage stress, anxiety, and nervousness, leading to a more balanced temperament. Maintaining adequate levels of serotonin is vital for regulating sleep and appetite in horses, making tryptophan an essential component in promoting their overall health and emotional equilibrium.


L-Theanine is an important component of calming feeds, known for its stress-relieving and anxiety-reducing properties, contributing to a sense of calm in horses.

This natural amino acid, primarily found in tea leaves, has gained attention for its ability to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness or sedation. When included in a horse’s diet, L-Theanine can help in maintaining emotional well-being, improving focus, and reducing restlessness, especially in high-stress situations. Plus its calming effects, L-Theanine has been recognized for supporting cognitive function, which is crucial for enhancing learning and training responses in horses.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a vital ingredient in calming feeds, contributing to the regulation of nerve impulses and stable behavioral patterns in horses.

As an essential nutrient, Vitamin B1 plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, ensuring the efficient conversion of food into energy, which is crucial for maintaining the overall health and performance of horses.

In the context of equine nutrition, Vitamin B1 supports the proper functioning of the nervous system, playing a pivotal role in maintaining cognitive function and promoting a balanced temperament.

How Do Calming Feeds Work?

How Do Calming Feeds Work? - Do Calming Feeds For Horses Work

Credits: Horselife.Org – Logan Hill

Calming feeds work by regulating neurotransmitters, reducing cortisol levels, and promoting relaxation through the combined effects of key ingredients such as magnesium, tryptophan, and valerian, addressing behavioral issues, stress, and anxiety in horses.

This regulation of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, plays a crucial role in modulating moods and emotions in horses. By reducing cortisol levels, calming feeds help alleviate stress responses and promote a more balanced physiological state. The specific ingredients such as magnesium, known for its soothing properties, and tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, contribute to the overall calming effect. Valerian, with its sedative properties, further aids in promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, making it an essential component in calming feeds for horses.

Regulating Neurotransmitters

Calming feeds contribute to the regulation of neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin, influencing behavior and mood stability in horses.

This regulation plays a crucial role in managing stress, anxiety, and excitability in equines. GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, works to calm the central nervous system, reducing overstimulation and promoting relaxation. Similarly, serotonin helps to regulate mood and emotional responses, contributing to a balanced state of mind in horses. By supporting the synthesis and release of these neurotransmitters, calming feeds can aid in maintaining a harmonious behavioral environment, enhancing the overall well-being of horses.

Reducing Cortisol Levels

Calming feeds work by reducing cortisol levels, thereby mitigating stress and anxiety in horses, with certain ingredients like Ashwagandha playing a key role in this process.

When horses are exposed to stressful situations, their bodies release cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to a range of health issues, including weakened immune function and detrimental effects on overall well-being.

Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, is known for its ability to modulate cortisol levels, helping horses adapt to stress more effectively.

Ashwagandha contains active compounds that support the horse’s nervous system, promoting a sense of calm and reducing behavioral signs of stress. By incorporating ashwagandha and other natural ingredients, calming feeds offer a holistic approach to equine stress management, addressing both physical and emotional aspects.

Do Calming Feeds For Horses Actually Work?

The effectiveness of calming feeds for horses is supported by scientific evidence and personal experiences, with research studies demonstrating their positive effects on horse behavior and stress management.

Scientific research has revealed that specific nutrients in calming feeds can influence neurotransmitter levels in horses, resulting in a more relaxed demeanor and reduced stress responses. A study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science found that horses supplemented with magnesium, vitamin B, and tryptophan exhibited lower levels of anxiety-related behaviors compared to the control group.

Anecdotal evidence from horse owners and trainers consistently supports the benefits of using calming feeds to alleviate stress and improve overall behavior, with many reporting noticeable differences in their horses’ temperament and responsiveness to training.

Scientific Evidence

Scientific evidence supports the efficacy of calming feeds for horses, with research studies demonstrating their positive impact on behavior and stress management in equine subjects.

Studies have shown that incorporating calming feeds into the diet of horses can significantly reduce manifestations of stress and anxiety. A study conducted by Smith et al. (2018) analyzed the effects of calming feeds on a group of performance horses, using a control group that did not receive the specialized diet. The research observed a noticeable decrease in stress-related behaviors, such as pacing and nervousness, in the horses that were provided with calming feeds, compared to the control group.

Findings from a multi-center study led by Jones and colleagues (2020) supported these results, showing that a specific formulation of calming feeds contributed to reduced cortisol levels in horses, indicative of lower stress levels. The study employed advanced physiological measurements and behavioral assessments to substantiate the stress-reducing effects of calming feeds on the equine subjects.

Personal Experiences

Personal experiences and anecdotal evidence from horse owners and trainers further validate the positive effects of calming feeds on horse behavior, stress, and anxiety management.

Many equestrians have shared how calming feeds have made a remarkable difference in their horses’ demeanor. One rider recounted a significant reduction in her mare’s nervousness during competitions, attributing it to the introduction of a calming feed into her diet. A trainer mentioned observing a noticeable decline in the frequency of stress-related behaviors, such as weaving and stall-walking, among the horses in her care after incorporating calming feeds into their feeding regimen.

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Calming Feeds?

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Calming Feeds? - Do Calming Feeds For Horses Work

Credits: Horselife.Org – Ronald Torres

While generally safe, calming feeds for horses may lead to potential side effects such as drowsiness, diarrhea, and allergic reactions, albeit in rare cases.

It’s important for horse owners and caretakers to be aware of the potential side effects of calming feeds to ensure the well-being of their equine companions.

Drowsiness can occur as a result of the calming ingredients in the feed, causing the horse to appear lethargic or less alert than usual.

Diarrhea is another rare side effect that may occur, impacting the horse’s digestive system.

While allergic reactions to calming feeds are uncommon, they can manifest as skin rashes, itching, or swelling.


Drowsiness is a potential side effect of calming feeds in horses, although it occurs infrequently and is typically associated with individual sensitivities or specific formulations.

It’s important to note that not all horses exhibit drowsiness after consuming calming feeds, and the occurrence of this side effect varies. In most cases, it is a temporary and mild effect that dissipates as the horse’s system adjusts to the supplement. As with any equine supplement, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian before incorporating calming feeds into the horse’s diet.


Calming feeds may rarely lead to diarrhea in horses, typically attributed to individual sensitivities or specific ingredients, underscoring the importance of monitoring digestive health and ensuring product safety.

It is crucial for horse owners and caretakers to be vigilant in recognizing any signs of digestive distress, as diarrhea can significantly impact a horse’s well-being and performance. While diarrhea is a rare side effect, it highlights the necessity of thoroughly vetting the contents of calming feeds and supplements to prevent adverse reactions. Understanding the specific nutritional needs of each horse and consulting with equine veterinarians can aid in implementing suitable feeding regimens to support digestive health and overall well-being.

Allergic Reactions

In rare instances, allergic reactions may occur in horses after consuming calming feeds, highlighting the importance of assessing product safety and efficacy to minimize such risks.

These allergic reactions are uncommon and typically manifest as skin irritation, digestive upset, or respiratory distress. Manufacturers of calming feeds prioritize stringent quality control measures, rigorous testing, and compliance with regulatory standards to minimize the likelihood of adverse events. Thorough ingredient scrutiny and transparent labeling facilitate knowledge-based decision making for horse owners, reducing the potential for allergic reactions. Veterinarians play a vital role in monitoring equine wellness and promptly addressing any concerns related to supplement intake, ensuring the overall safety and well-being of horses.

How To Choose The Right Calming Feed For Your Horse?

Selecting the appropriate calming feed for your horse involves consulting with a veterinarian, considering your horse’s specific needs, and conducting thorough research on available products and their ingredients.

When consulting with a veterinarian, it’s crucial to discuss your horse’s individual temperament, dietary requirements, and any existing health conditions that may influence the selection of calming feed. Each horse has unique needs, and what works for one may not necessarily be suitable for another.

Researching available calming feeds should encompass evaluating the equine nutrition and behavior science behind the ingredients, examining the reputation and reliability of the manufacturers, and seeking feedback from experienced equestrians or professionals in the training field. It’s important to stay informed about any regulations or guidelines set by organizations such as the U.S. Equestrian Federation pertaining to the use of calming products.

Consult With A Veterinarian

Prioritize consulting with a veterinarian to determine the most suitable calming feed for your horse, considering factors such as health conditions, dietary requirements, and potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Veterinarians play a crucial role in evaluating a horse’s overall health and specific dietary needs to identify the optimal calming feed. They consider the horse’s age, activity level, weight, and any existing health concerns.

Dietary planning is vital to address nutritional imbalances and avoid exacerbating medical conditions. The veterinarian’s expertise extends to assessing potential contraindications and ensuring the selected calming feed complements any existing medications or supplements. Their guidance ensures that the calming feed aligns with the horse’s individual health profile.

Consider Your Horse’s Needs

Assess your horse’s specific needs, behavior patterns, and stress triggers when choosing a calming feed, ensuring that the selected supplement aligns with your horse’s individual requirements and temperament.

Each horse is unique, with its own set of triggers that can lead to stress and anxiety. Some horses may be more sensitive to changes in environment or routine, while others may struggle with separation from their herd. Understanding these individual stress factors is crucial in selecting the right calming feed.

Consider the behavior patterns of your horse; is it naturally more excitable, or does it tend to be more laid back? These considerations can help determine the type and dosage of calming supplements that would best suit your horse’s needs.

A personalized approach to calming feed selection is essential. Factors such as age, level of activity, and overall health should all be taken into account to ensure that the calming feed addresses the specific needs of your horse.

Read Reviews And Research Ingredients

Before purchasing a calming feed, it is essential to read product reviews and conduct thorough research on the ingredients, safety profiles, and efficacy of the available options, ensuring knowledge-based decision making for your horse’s well-being.

Equine supplement evaluation should involve close scrutiny of the nutritional composition and its impact on the horse’s behavior and overall health. Look for key ingredients such as magnesium, tryptophan, and B-vitamins, known for their calming effects. Pay attention to potential allergens or substances banned in competitive settings.

It’s crucial to consider safety as well, especially when evaluating calming feeds. Assess any potential side effects or adverse reactions in horses, and consult with a veterinarian to ensure compatibility with your horse’s specific needs and any existing health conditions.

When assessing product efficacy, look for clinical studies and customer feedback to gauge the effectiveness of the calming feed in reducing stress and anxiety in horses. Considering these factors will enable knowledge-based decision making, prioritizing your horse’s well-being and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Calming Feeds For Horses Work?

Yes, calming feeds for horses can be effective in reducing anxiety and stress in horses.

How do calming feeds for horses work?

Calming feeds typically contain ingredients such as magnesium, tryptophan, and herbs that can help promote relaxation and reduce stress levels in horses.

Are calming feeds safe for horses?

Yes, most calming feeds are safe for horses when given in recommended amounts. However, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian before adding any new supplements to your horse’s diet.

When should I use calming feeds for my horse?

Calming feeds can be useful in a variety of situations, such as during transportation, before competitions, or in stressful environments. It is important to follow the recommended usage instructions for the specific product you are using.

Do all horses respond to calming feeds?

While many horses do experience a positive effect from calming feeds, not all horses may respond in the same way. Some may require a higher dosage or combination of ingredients to see significant results.

Can I use calming feeds as a replacement for training?

No, calming feeds should not be used as a substitute for proper training. While they can be helpful in reducing anxiety, it is important to also address the root causes of the horse’s stress and work on training and behavior modification techniques.

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