Many horses and ponies can experience stress, anxiety and/or excitability as a result of their daily routine.
The symptoms are not always as clear as you might expect, but you love your horse and look after him well, so why might he become stressed?
- Feeding – Changes to a horse’s diet should be carried out over time, sudden changes or lack of supporting ingredients which cannot be found in grass can cause digestive upset and negative behaviour.
- Turnout – Horses like to have both space and friends. Most horses and ponies dislike being on their own, BUT also remember that negative social interactions such as field bullying, can be one of the quickest ways to create an anxious horse. Lack of regular turnout can also bring about anxious and over-excitable behaviour.
- Stabling – Horses which have to be stabled for long periods of time (Winter, Box-rest or restricted grazing), can develop both signs of stress and over-excitability.
- Exercise – Horses need regular turnout and exercise where possible, those who are not getting enough, or are stabled for long hours can start to develop anxious behaviour or over-excitability when they are allowed outside. Competition horses that get plenty of exercise can be stressed by travelling and staying away from home.
- Routine – Feeding, turnout, stabling, exercise, competing, and yard visiting times. Any of these changes can be enough to unsettle your horse or pony.
HPD’s hints for spotting equine stress.
- Weight loss.
- Lack of appetite.
- Behavioural Changes such as biting, kicking, grinding teeth, and head tossing.
- Changes in toilet behaviour (loose or hard droppings, irregular and strong smelling urine).
- Muscle tension.
- Sweating excessively.
- Staring coat, even when it’s not cold.
- Messy stable (Box walking).
HPD’s top tips on how to help your horse to live stress-free.
- Feeding – Keep feeding as natural as possible, a forage based diet supported by a balancer is a great way to know your horse is eating as nature intended, without missing out on any of their key daily vitamins or minerals, which even the UK’s best grazing can struggle to replicate. Stress free for both you and your horse.
- Turnout - Provide plenty of regular turn-out, where possible with friendly field companions.
- Stabling - A forage based diet and stable toys can be interesting. Feeding a balancer from a treat ball is a great way to entertain your horse in periods of prolonged stabling. Hay can be placed into various nets around the stable for interest and a small amount of succulents such as apple and carrot can be hidden within hay for your horse to find.
- Exercise – Keep your horses exercise varied as they can become stale and anxious doing the same thing day in, day out. Introduce variety with them and their work. Try new things in the arena, hacking, bathing and pampering, or grazing in hand. Horses that lack enough exercise may become over-excited and benefit from a balancer such as HPD Calm and Stress Free which contains specific herbs and ingredients to help combat this.
- Routine – Try to be as regular as possible with your routine. Some horses like to be at the centre of the action on a busier yard, and others prefer the peace and quiet. You know your horse, so try to accommodate stabling them in an environment where they will be happiest.
Want your horse to be calm and stress free?
Horse and Pony Direct have taken two years to research and formulate the new HPD Calm and Stress Free Balancer.
It contains key natural ingredients such as Vervain for relaxation, Chicory for anxiety and stress, Probiotics to maintain a healthy digestion, Chamomile to promote a calm temperament and Magnesium to calm excitable and spooky behaviour.
HPD Calm and Stress Free feed balancer will contribute to a stress free life for your horse or pony.
Buy Our New Calming Balancer Here >>