What Does a Horse Calmer Do?

John Hartley - Different styles of girth

Horse calmer supplements are very popular in the equestrian community and over the years more and more brands and types have become widely available on the market for horse owners to choose from. It’s always tricky at first deciding which brand to choose and which ingredients may work best.

Trial and error unfortunately play a big part in the process of getting the perfect supplement to suit your horse. You ideally want a calmer that will take the edge off, but at the same time not leave your horse too docile or lacking energy, particularly if you need to use it before exercising or at a competition.

Why Would My Horse Need Calmer Supplements?

Not all horses require horse calmer supplements, but some horse owners find them useful if they have a particularly difficult equine to manage, either on a day to day basis or on certain occasions. They should not be used as a replacement for proper handling and ground training and if you are worried about your horse’s behaviour then you should always seek the advice of a qualified professional, such as your vet. Here are some of the reasons you may choose to give your horse calmer supplements:

  • Horses that suffer from anxiety and stress
  • Horses that suffer from nervousness or worry
  • Hot and excitable horses
  • Spooky horses

How do horse calmer supplements work?

Horse calmer supplements work to predominantly reduce stress levels, anxiety, and nervousness in horses as well as manage the behaviour of hot excitable horses thanks to their calming, settling effects. Supplements can vary enormously in the way they work and all depends considerably on the ingredients that are used.

Some ingredients work to produce Serotonin directly in the horse’s brain, whilst others work directly in your horse’s gut or through the bloodstream. This is why a variation of ingredients in horse calmer supplements can be beneficial.

Let’s take a look below at some of the key ingredients in horse calmers, which will help you to decide how effective they may or may not be for your horse.

What key ingredients are inside horse calmer supplements?

This is one of the most common ingredients in horse calmer supplements and is thought to produce an anxiety-reducing effect. In recent studies, researchers have shown that a small amount of magnesium in the diet could help to reduce your horse’s reaction time, which helps to promote a calmer, quieter behaviour in horses.

Tryptophan is a very popular ingredient in a lot of horse calmers and is known to encourage relaxation, reduce tension, and combat spookiness and nervous behaviour in horses.

The opinions on how effective this ingredient is in calming horses are debatable. Where many believe the production of serotonin in the brain helps to reduce said behaviours, studies carried out by Science Direct found that Tryptophan has no significant behavioural effects in horses.

Otherwise known as Vitamin B1, this is regularly seen in horse calmer supplements and although deficiencies in this vitamin are rare (unless your horse has been munching on some bracken), feeding higher levels of Thiamine has historically been a cure for calming a nervous horse.


Niacin is usually referred to as Vitamin B3 and is another ingredient that can be found regularly in horse calmer supplements. It works very well with tryptophan as it helps to produce more of this ingredient which is known to help to keep your horse cool, calm, and collected.

How Quickly Do Horse Calmer Supplements Take Effect?

Many Horses Calming supplements these days are fast-acting formulas and some even provide instant results, making them really convenient for horse owners to use, no matter what the circumstances.

Horse calmers tend to come in a few different forms, one of the most popular ways of giving this supplement is administered through an easy to use large syringe put directly into your horse’s mouth. This method is usually the fastest way of getting the supplement into your horse’s system for very quick results.

Some other horse calmer supplements work to build up in your horse’s system over a period of time and these types are most likely to come in a powdered or gel form and can be mixed directly into your horse’s feed.


Assess whether a calming supplement would be truly beneficial for your horse. Check with your vet if you are unsure as they are always happy to advise you.

If you compete your horse and use calmer supplements for this purpose make sure there are no prohibited substances present, which if found, could see you disqualified or banned from competition.

Different combinations of ingredients work differently for each individual horse so check labels carefully and be prepared for trial and error to find the perfect one that actually works for your equine friend.

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