Image credit: Hoof Prints Photography
It is a well known fact that horses are not the most predictable of beasts and the slightest change of environment can be detrimental to their stress levels and general outlook on life. But what is all the fuss about calmers and do they actually work? Or is it more of a placebo effect?
Blue Chip Feed has spent years developing a range of calmers which use the highest quality ingredients to ensure peace of mind for both horse and rider when stressful situations arise. So how do you know which type of calmer to choose, when to use it and how to feed it? Blue Chip answer four common questions to help you select the correct calmer to suit your horse.
A Competition environment can unsettle horses and the use of a calmer may help to focus them in their work to achieve a winning performance
What type of calmers are available?
Calmers are most commonly available in either liquid or powdered form, however, Blue Chip have now developed the Super Concentrated Calming Balancer, which incorporates all the active ingredients of their award winning Karma liquid into a top quality feed balancer to ensure your horse or pony is getting all the benefits of a calmer at the same time as feeing the most up-to-date balancer, with the advantages of specifically tailored levels of vitamins and minerals as well as complete hoof and respiratory supplements.
Liquid calmers are water-based and therefore enter the bloodstream faster than their powdered equivalents which are absorbed in the gut at a slower rate. Both liquid and powdered calmers require a period of loading, which is usually the feeding of a double dose for around five days to allow the active ingredients to become present in the body, before dropping back to a normal dose.
What are the active ingredients in a calmer?
Most calmers contain varying qualities of magnesium and L-tryptophan, however, Blue Chip incorporates them in their most bioavailable forms for maximum effectiveness. Magnesium is well known for its calming properties and, as it is included in water-soluble form, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, along with L-tryptophan — which is an amino acid that provides the building blocks for serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone produced by the brain to help keep the horse in a settled, relaxed state.
Another effective calming ingredient found in Blue Chip Karma is vitamin C, which is included in a highly soluble fruit-derived form and acts as an antioxidant that helps mop up free radicals, protecting the body from damage caused as a result of oxidative stress from exercise and anxiety-inducing situations.
When would my horse benefit from a calmer?
Has your horse got an anxious personality? Is he easily stressed by changes in routine or alterations to diet and environment? If so, he may benefit from the inclusion of a calmer year-round to promote a feeling of calm and help him be more relaxed in his general persona.
This is so easy to do when feeding Blue Chip Super Concentrated Calming Balancer as it provides the calming benefits of magnesium and L-tryptophan alongside specifically tailored levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help a nervous horse thrive and gain both condition and confidence.
Other horses may only require a calmer in certain situations; for example, is he easily stressed when the farrier or vet visits or when travelling and in a competition environment but usually laid-back at home? If this is the case, an instant calmer such as the Blue Chip Applecalm or Carrotcalm may prove useful as this provides a concentrated dose of top quality calming ingredients in one easy-to-feed shot that only needs administering an hour before the effect is required — perfect for a last minute helping hand!
Some horses can find a visit from the farrier or the vet very stressful, so using an instant calmer may help to make it a more positive experience
Does feeding a calmer benefit my horse’s condition?
In short, yes! In humans, when a person is stressed, they may lose weight, look run down and feel miserable. The same applies to our four-legged friends. Horses have very sensitive digestive systems and as stress and digestion are symbiotically related — meaning that stress will negatively affect digestion — it is a really important factor to consider.
By feeding a calmer to improve your horse’s wellbeing and general outlook on life, you’ll be benefiting him from the inside out, as a reduction in stress leads to improved gut motility and nutrient absorption as blood flow is diverted to the digestive system — rather than to the muscles ready for the ‘flight’ response that is typically seen in horses and ponies — allowing digestive efficiency to improve.
Calmers are an easy, daily inclusion that you can incorporate into your horse’s diet in a liquid, powdered or — new to the market — a pelleted form
Hopefully, the thought of purchasing a calmer will now seem less of a challenge, but for further information on any Blue Chip products, visit www.bluechipfeed.com or call 0114 266 6200