Calming supplements: what’s on the market?

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  • Some horse calmers are instant or fast-acting — often in paste-form and administered via a large syringe into the horse’s mouth — while other equine calming supplements take time to build up in your horse’s system, which are more likely to be in powder or liquid form. They all have the same overall aim of reducing acute stress and overall anxiety, which should allow your horse to learn better and have a lower risk of stress-related disease.

    Any change of routine can bring new stresses with it. In these situations, a calmer can help to “take the edge off”, leaving you with a more relaxed horse that may be safer to handle.

    Despite lots of anecdotal evidence to support their effectiveness, there is limited scientific research into how calmers and their active ingredients work in horses. Popular ingredients include:

    • magnesium, which is thought to produce an anxiety-reducing effect
    • tryptophan — a building block of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter associated with lower levels of stress
    • valerian, which is thought to reduce anxiety

    If you compete with your horse then it is important you make sure any supplements you use do not contain any prohibited substances.

    Calming supplements for horses: what are your options?

    Here is a selection of the best calmers for horses that are currently available below in our alphabetical list, which includes the manufacturers’ descriptions of their products…

    NB: Cost per day has been calculated using the maintenance measure for a 500kg horse in light work (where there was variation) and the RRP of the smallest available tub. Some horses will require a higher dose, which will increase the cost per daily measure, while buying a larger tub will likely decrease it – these costs per day are a guide only.

    Animalife Vetrocalm Instant

    Form: Syringe paste | Sizes: 2 x 30ml, 2 x 3ml eight pack | RRP: £24.99 for 2 x 30ml syringes |

    This paste works in minutes and lasts for hours, helping your horse maintain a relaxed outlook and deal with stressful situations. It supports the replenishment of oxygen in the blood to help horses deal with stress, fear, anxiety and tension.

    View Animalife Vetrocalm Instant at viovet.co.uk

    Audevard Zzen

    Audevard Zzen

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 1l | RRP: £29 | Daily measure: 50ml | Cost per day: £0.90 |

    This formula is aimed at anxious horses and encourages concentration. It contains magnesium, tryptophan, vitamins B1 and B6. Also available in syringe form.

    View Audevard Zzen at viovet.co.uk

    Aviform Equable

    Aviform Equable

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 500g, 1kg | RRP: £17.95 for 500g | Daily measure: 25g | Cost per day: £0.90 |

    This calmer is suitable for nervous, excitable or highly strung horses as it soothes and helps promote focus for training and competing. Also available in a 100% compostable pouch.

    View Aviform Equable at amazon.co.uk

    Blue Chip Karma

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 1l | RRP: £24.95 | Daily measure: 25ml | Cost per day: £0.62 |

    This supplement contains a form of magnesium that can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream, and L-tryptophan, which is included as it is a pre-cursor for serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone.

    View Blue Chip Karma at viovet.co.uk

    Cavalor Take it Easy Forte

    Form: Syringe paste | Sizes: 60ml | RRP: £17.99 | Single measure: 20–60ml | Cost per measure: From £6 |

    This paste-type formula is enriched with several calming essential oils. It works quickly and can help horses to become more calm, relaxed and focused.

    View Cavalor Take it Easy Forte at viovet.co.uk

    Dodson & Horrell Placid

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 1kg, 2.5kg, 5kg | RRP: £15 for 1kg | Daily measure: 22–30g | Cost per day: £0.33–0.45 |

    A dried herbal blend suitable for horses and ponies prone to nervousness or excitability; including a blend of chamomile, lemon balm and vervain, which are renowned for their calming properties, while magnesium helps to support an even temperament. An ideal supplement for use when bringing a horse back into work.

    View Dodson & Horrell Placid at viovet.co.uk

    Equiform Nutrition Stay Calm

    Equiform Nutrition Stay Calm

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 2l, 5l | RRP: £36 for 2l | Daily measure: 60ml | Cost per day: £1.08 |

    A liquid feed supplement formulated to provide a calming effect on horses that display nervous and temperamental behaviour. Ideal for horses that may become stressed when competing or travelling.

    Equine America Super So-Kalm powder

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 1kg | RRP: £30.99 | Daily measure: 30g | Cost per day: £0.93 |

    This calmer provides three key micronutrients to help the horse to maintain a calm outlook and concentrate on his work — magnesium, calcium and vitamin B1. Also available as a syringe paste.

    View Equine America Super So-Kalm powder at viovet.co.uk

    Equine Products Cool It

    Form: Syringe paste | Sizes: 30g | RRP: £5.24 |

    Containing L-trytophan, magnesium, vitamin B1 and a probiotic, this supplement is useful in stressful situations, such as fireworks. There is no withdrawal period so is ideal for competition horses. Also available in powder form.

    View at Equine Products Cool It at viovet.co.uk

    Feedmark Steady Up

    Feedmark Steady-Up

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 2kg, 4kg, 8kg | RRP: £44.99 for 2kg | Daily measure: 57g | Cost per day: £1.28 |

    This calming supplement settles nervous tension while aiding your horse’s concentration and focus, and has a soothing effect on behaviour to help reduce spookiness.

    View Feedmark Steady-Up at viovet.co.uk

    Foran Equine Nutri-Calm syrup

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 1kg, 2.5kg, 5kg | RRP: £24.95 for 1kg | Daily measure: 50ml | Cost per day: £1.25 |

    Calming supplement containing B vitamins, magnesium and L-tryptophan to aid nervous tension that may be as a result of reduced turnout, for example. Also available in syringe form.

    Global Herbs SuperCalm

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 500g, 1kg, 5kg | RRP: £15.80 for 500g | Daily measure: 22g | Cost per day: £0.70 |

    This highly concentrated calming herbal mix helps to reduces nervousness and winter excitability. A powerful natural antioxidant, it improves focus to assist with training and performance. It is also available in liquid and syringe paste form.

    View Global Herbs SuperCalm at viovet.co.uk

    Hack Up Instant Liquid Caalm

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 500ml, 1l | RRP: £29.99 for 500ml | Daily measure: 25–100ml | Cost per day: From £1.50 |

    A unique blend of chamomile, hawthorn and marshmallow flowers are blended with liquorice to form this liquid supplement. This unique balance of ingredients maintains healthy serotonin levels required to keep a settled mind and body. Also available in paper refill packaging.

    Hi Form Herbanerve

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 500g, 1.5kg, 3kg | RRP: £105 for 500g | Daily measure: 5g | Cost per day: £1.05 |

    With increased stable time over the winter months, Herbanerve may assist in keeping your horse calm and stress-free without removing the edge for top class performance. You can also add water and administer it via a syringe.

    Hilton Herbs Calm & Collected Gold

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 1l, 3l, 5l | RRP: £28.33 for 1l | Daily measure: 30ml | Cost per day: £0.85 |

    A liquid supplement containing herbs, such as chamomile and valerian, to help maintain a healthy nervous system in horses of all ages. Also available as a powder.

    View Hilton Herbs Calm & Collected Gold at viovet.co.uk

    Horse First RelaxMe

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 750g, 2kg, 5kg | RRP: £23 for 750g | Daily measure: 50g | Cost per day: £1.53 |

    A unique double-action formula that works on both the gut and the nervous system. It combines magnesium with vitamins E and B to create a calmer more easy-going horse. Also available in syringe form.

    View Horse First RelaxMe at viovet.co.uk

    Lincoln Herbs Valerian Cordial

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 250ml, 500ml | RRP: £9.99 for 250ml | Daily measure: 10ml | Cost per day: £0.40 |

    A natural non-sedating calmer derived from the valerian plant. This powerful ingredient maintains calmness in anxious, excitable and highly-strung horses. The non-drowsy formula means performance and focus are unaffected.

    View Lincoln Herbs Valerian Cordial at viovet.co.uk

    Mastacare natural herbal calmer

    Form: Powder| Sizes: 400g, 1.6kg | RRP: £11.79 for 400g | Daily measure: 30g | Cost per day: £0.88 |

    This herbal supplement is ideal for excitable horses or those that become unsettled when stabled for long periods. It includes natural valerian root, hops and yeast.

    Maxavita Maxacalm

    Form: Powder| Sizes: 900g | RRP: £29.85 | Daily measure: 30g | Cost per day: £0.99 |

    A magnesium-based blend containing green-lipped mussel, L-tryptophan and soothing herbs, it helps take the edge off sharp and nervous horses without losing sparkle.

    View Maxavita Maxacalm at viovet.co.uk

    NAF Five Star Magic

    Form: Powder| Sizes: 750g, 1.5kg, 3kg, 15kg | RRP: £23.99 for 750g | Daily measure: 25–50g | Cost per day: From £0.80 |

    This supplement contains herbs and bio-available magnesium, which are known to help reduce anxiety, support concentration and learning. It has been independently trialled, showing a reduction in anxiety with no sedation. BETA Innovation Award Winner, 2019. Also available in liquid form.

    View NAF Five Star Magic at viovet.co.uk

    Nettex eCalm

    Nettex eCalm

    Form: Powder| Sizes: 1kg | RRP: £37.99 | Daily measure: 20g | Cost per day: £0.76 |

    This non-magnesium, natural calmer is prebiotic-like in functionality and has been shown to influence the natural gut microbiome, which in turn supports calmness and well-being as well as supporting the gut.

    View Nettex eCalm at viovet.co.uk

    Nupafeed MAH Liquid

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 1l, 3l, 5l | RRP: £35 for 1l | Daily measure: 25ml | Cost per day: £0.86 |

    This supplement targets stressful and difficult behaviour by improving magnesium absorption without causing acid-base disruption. FEI compliant. Also available in syringe form.

    View Nupafeed MAH Liquid at amazon.co.uk

    NutriScience Anxikalm

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 1.2kg, 3kg | RRP: £30 for 1.2kg | Daily measure: 30g | Cost per day: £0.75 |

    A nutritional powdered supplement to help calm excitable horses in stressful conditions. Safe to use in competition horses, the key ingredients are L-tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and decreases anxiety, as well as B vitamins and magnesium.

    View NutriScience Anxikalm at viovet.co.uk

    Omega ZenCalm

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 900g, 1.8kg | RRP: £27.99 for 900g | Daily measure: 30g | Cost per day: £0.93 |

    This supplement provides nutritional support to help with anxiety, stress and excitability. It is packed with powerful herb extracts, including brewers yeast, bio-available magnesium and liquorice, along with a variety of B vitamins.

    View Omega ZenCalm at viovet.co.uk

    Plusvital Tryptocool

    Form: Powder| Sizes: 750g | RRP: £34 .10 | Daily measure: 50g | Cost per day: £2.27 |

    This supplement is designed to alleviate stress in horses prone to excitable behaviour. It contains tryptophan, magnesium and B vitamins to support the nervous system. Can be fed daily or as needed.

    View Plusvital Tryptocool at amazon.co.uk

    Science Supplements ProKalm

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 1.1kg, 3.3kg | RRP: £49.99 for 1.1kg | Daily measure: 32–64g | Cost per day: From £1.45 |

    This supplement helps horses perform to their potential using a fast-acting formulation, which can “take the edge off” up to eight hours, or fed daily to achieve consistent performance.

    View Science Supplements ProKalm at viovet.co.uk

    Supreme Products Defuse

    Form: Liquid | Sizes: 80ml, 500ml, 1l, 5l | RRP: £9 for 80ml | Single measure: 60–120ml |

    A vitamin, magnesium and amino acid-based supplement that helps calm nervous animals. Designed to be used as an “on-the-day” calmer, it can be given when you feel it is required without build up.

    View Supreme Products Defuse at viovet.co.uk

    Synovium Calmingard

    Synovium Calmingard

    Form: Gel | Sizes: 10ml, 5 x 10ml | RRP: £8 for one 10ml syringe | Single measure: 10ml |

    This natural instant calmer formula is administered in gel form. It does not sedate, is safe for competition and is formulated to help horses who get stressed, anxious or excited. Administer 1–2 hours prior to requirement.

    View Synovium Calmingard at amazon.co.uk

    TopSpec Calmer

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 3kg, 9kg, 20kg | RRP: £30.50 for 3kg | Daily measure: 100g | Cost per day: £1.02 |

    This calmer is suitable for horses demonstrating anxious behaviour, particularly those that cannot cope with stressful situations such as showing, travelling or competing. It contains a pure protected yeast, MOS, B vitamins, magnesium, tryptophan and sepiolite clay.

    View TopSpec Calmer at viovet.co.uk

    Vital Equine Vita Calm

    Form: Powder | Sizes: 1kg | RRP: £26.50 | Daily measure: 75g | Cost per day: £1.99 |

    This calmer contains a blend of crucial nutrients, including magnesium, which is involved in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system and appetite. A blend of B vitamins are included for correct release of carbohydrate, helping to maintain blood sugar levels, and to help maintain the integrity of the nervous system.

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