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We review... horse calming supplements

Is your horse a little edgy? Does he get nervous or uptight in some situations? A calming supplement may be just what you need. Here are reviews of twenty-three of the best calmers on the market, tried and tested...

Our testers

This month, we had Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre review twenty-three horse calmers for performance and ease of use.

This tried and tested article was first featured in the February 2013 issue of Horse&Rider magazine.

Two products are chosen from the reviews to receive a coveted H&R award each month - 'Best in Test' and 'Best Value'. You will know which products have receive an award when you see these rosettes...

Rosette

 

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Carl Hester Pro Mag Calm powder CarlHester

Contains two forms of magnesium - the first is readily absorbed for a rapid calming effect and the second, magnesium aspartate, keeps the levels topped up.
RRP: £26.99 (1 month's supply)
01634 257150
www.net-tex.co.uk
Pros: "The horse we tested this on can be sharp when handled and he finds it hard to relax when standing still and being brushed. Since being on this calmer, he's much more amenable on the ground, so I would definitely continue to use Pro Mag Calm. Overall, he was quieter to turn out and bring in, and to clip."
Cons: "I don't think it made a huge difference to him when ridden."
Buy if... you want to take the edge off your horse when he's handled.

Placid

D&H

A calming blend of chamomile, lemon balm, vervain, magnesium and lime flowers. Both chamomile and magnesium are known for their calming properties.
RRP: £24 (2.5kg)
01832 737300
www.dodsonandhorrell.com
Pros: "This product provides a lot of great herbs for your horse that he may not get grazing. It's easy to feed and the horse who tried this seemed to really like the flavours and textures. He did seem a little more laid-back while he was on Placid. You get a good amount for your money, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow."
Cons: "The paper packaging is not ideal if it gets wet."
Buy if... you want a good range of herbs in your supplement.

SuperCalm GlobalHerbs

Keeps your horse relaxed and easy to manage while providing the nutrition for health, fitness and strong defences. It contains magnesium and potassium to address incorrect mineral balance.
RRP: £22.95 (1 month's supply)
01243 773363
www.globalherbs.co.uk
Pros: "This calmer worked really well on some horses - it was like riding a different animal, as they were calm and relaxed under saddle when before they had been tense and uptight. On others, it served to take the edge off them if they were particularly highly-strung. The powder is easy to administer and the instructions are clear."
Cons: "The effects were a little inconsistent between horses."
Buy if... your horse responds well to mineral-based calmers.

EquiCalmVetVits

This advanced soothing formula was developed by vets using calming triple source magnesium, B vitamins, chamomile and lemon balm to help promote calm.
RRP: £16.95 (1 month's supply)
08081 004080
www.vetvits.co.uk
Pros: "EquiCalm did take the edge off some of the more nervous horses. It's easy to administer and none of them found it unpalatable. The packaging and instructions are clear and easy to understand. This is a very reasonably priced product with a good range of herbs, minerals and vitamins."
Cons: "This product was not as calming as some of the others."
Buy if... your horse needs a less heavy-duty calmer.

Good as Gold (paste)Goodasgold

Designed for nervous, hot or stressed horses, this paste contains magnesium, B vitamins and L-tryptophan - a precursor amino acid in the formation of serotonin.
RRP: around £16 (2 doses)
www.trm-ireland.com.co.uk
Pros: "The mare I used this on is a real hot head. Having never tried a calmer on her before, I wasn't sure what to expect but it has been fantastic. She's like a different horse to handle but still forward-going when ridden. I have moved her to the Good as Gold powder supplement long-term as the paste has been so good."
Cons: "The syringe paste is a little pricey for regular use."
Buy if... you want to calm your horse without losing their sparkle.

VetrocalmVetrocalm

Scientifically proven to counteract behaviour associated with stress and excitement while reducing muscle tension from nervousness. It's ideal for excitable, aggressive or nervous horses.
RRP: £39.99 (42-day supply)
08081 004080
www.animalife.co.uk
Pros: "My horse hates fireworks, so I used this product in the run-up to bonfire night. There were lots of displays, but she appeared much less stressed than she normally does on such occasions - no sweating or weaving this time. I was really happy with the results and will definitely be using this product again in the future for stressful situations."
Cons: "There are cheaper options."
Buy if... your horse gets nervous in stressful situations.

Steady-Up AdvanceFeedmark

Added daily to feed, it provides magnesium, yeast, B vitamins and natural calming herbs. These combine effectively to support the horse's nervous system.
RRP: £39.49 (35-day supply)
0800 585525
www.feedmark.com
Pros: "The packaging is very professional-looking - it looks like something you might get from your vet. The plastic tub is a handy size and the instructions are clear. After a few days of loading doses, the horses on this product were definitely less anxious and easier to handle and ride, and all the horses found it palatable."
Cons: "This is one of the more expensive products."
Buy if... your horse needs an everyday calmer.

TranquilTranquil

Tranquil is a natural valerian-based calmer for horses with excessive high spirits and specific unmanageable behavioural conditions. (Valerian use is not allowed in competition.)
RRP: £17 (1 month's supply)
01787 476400
www.animal-health.co.uk
Pros: "This is a potent-smelling liquid based on valerian root. The bottle has a handy measuring section for ease of administration and the instructions are straight-forward. The horses who tried this responded well to it and most of them were happy to eat it."
Cons: "I found that this made a few of the horses less responsive when ridden - almost too laid-back."
Buy if... you want a heavy-duty calmer for an excitable horse.

TopSpec Calmer TopSpec

Developed with much more than a ‘single ingredient' approach. It contains a pure protected yeast,
B vitamins, magnesium, L-tryptophan and sepiolite clay.
RRP: £24.95 (3kg)
01845 565030
www.topspec.com
Pros: "This worked well on most horses, relaxing them and making them more rideable. Some of the horses with stable habits like weaving and banging the door where definitely better. It comes in a pretty big tub so it lasts a while. None of the horses refused to eat the powder, and the instructions are clear and concise."
Cons: "This worked better on some horses than others."
Buy if... you want a long-term calmer to help ease bad habits.

Wendals Calmer Wendals

For nervous and excitable horses, it reduces nervous energy and complements performance. This calmer contains chamomile, valerian and hops. (Valerian use is not allowed in competition.)
RRP: £21 (1kg)
01522 529206
www.battles.co.uk/wendals
Pros: "This calmer is a dried herb-based formula so it doesn't have the powerful aroma of some of the liquid valerian-based calmers. The horses found it palatable and it was easy to feed. It had a calming effect and the tub lasted a while. It's a well-priced product for what you get."
Cons: "Not for use with competition horses as it contains valerian."
Buy if... you want a dried valerian-based calmer.

Cool It CoolIt

A daily vitamin and mineral feed supplement, Cool It contains optimum levels of prebiotics to help nervous and excitable horses stay calm and relaxed.
RRP: £16.10 (1.5kg)
01912 645536
www.equineproducts-ukltd.com
Pros: "I like that this is a multivitamin supplement as well as a calmer. The powder appears to be blended with grass to improve palatability, so the horses loved it. Cool It definitely had an effect on the horses that tried it and is not heavily magnesium-reliant for its effect. The price is excellent for what you get."
Cons: "There are calmers with a more potent calming effect."
Buy if... you want a nutritional supplement with calming effects.

Calming Serenity Equimins

Serenity calming supplement contains very digestible sources of magnesium together with important amino acids and B vitamins.
RRP: £24.25 (1kg)
01548 531770
www.equimins.com
Pros: "This really helped to take the edge off the horse we used this on as he can be quite cheeky for the first few minutes when he's ridden. The powder was palatable to the horses who tried it and the instructions were clear. This calmer was pretty quick to take effect on our frisky horse - I noticed a difference in his behaviour after a few days.
Cons: "It seemed to work better on fresh horses than on tense or nervous types."
Buy if... you want to calm a frisky, cheeky horse.

MagnaCalm Magnacalm

MagnaCalm from Rockies contains high levels of magnesium with dextrose and salt for consistent intakes. It can help to make horses more easy to manage.
RRP: £6.99 (1.8kg)
01606 595022
www.rockies.co.uk
Pros: "I like that this product is a bit different. As a lick, you just leave it in the stable manger or holder and let the horse lick it. It‘s a very hands-off approach to supplementing and the horse can have some as and when he wants. It's a straightforward concept and a very reasonably priced product."
Cons: "It's hard to monitor and regulate intake."
Buy if... you want to use a calmer that stays in the stable or field so the horse can use it when he wants.

Vision Vision

Helps keep horses composed and focused in stressful situations. It won't cause drowsiness or affect performance and contains a unique combination of seven active ingredients, including magnesium.
RRP: £22 (738g)
01608 683855
www.lesliesutcliffe.com
Pros: "This product looks great. The powder seems to be very palatable as the horses eat it well and the instructions are easy to follow. Vision definitely had an effect on the horses that had it as they were calmer to ride and easier to manage. The spooky ones were less spooky, which was helpful."
Cons: "Not as value for money as some calmers on the market."
Buy if... you want a calmer for a spooky, nervous horse.

MaxaCalm Maxvita

A magnesium-based blend containing green-lipped mussel, L-tryptophan and soothing herbs, it helps to take the edge off sharp and nervous horses without them losing their sparkle.
RRP: £22.95 (1 month's supply)
08450 752754
www.maxavita.com
Pros: "This product worked really well on one of the horses who tested it - he was much happier in himself and less stressed about life. The powder is easy to administer, palatable and the instructions are clear. This supplement is good value for money and worth a try."
Cons: "The effects were variable between horses."
Buy if... you want a palatable calmer for a stressy horse.

Magic (Best in test) Magic
bestrosette











Magic Liquid is formulated from magnesium. It contains extracted active ingredients from calming herbs that are readily available for absorption by your horse.
RRP: £30 (1 litre)
0800 373106
www.naf-equine.eu
Pros: "This product really is magic. It worked well on all the horses we tried it on, reducing spooky behaviour, improving manageability and rideability. It is easy to measure out and administer in the feed or via syringe straight into the mouth. I think it's value for money and I would definitely recommend it."
Cons: "It isn't as palatable as some of the other products."
Buy if... you want an effective liquid calmer.

Oxyshot (paste) Oxyshot

Charged stabilised oxygen technology consisting of a pH-balanced liquid electrolyte solution of deionised water, bioavailable oxygen and sea salt, which all work together for a calming effect.
RRP: £12.99 (3 doses)
01564 794586
www.oxyshot.co.uk
Pros: "This is an instant non-magnesium-based calmer that worked well on one of the horses who doesn't like to load. You can syringe it into his mouth and within an hour he is much more compliant and manageable. I would recommend this product as a quick-action calmer for stressful situations like loading or clipping."
Cons: "This is for short-term calming only."
Buy if... you want an instant calmer with a rapid effect.

Zylkène Zylkene

Zylkène Equine is a natural product, derived from casein, the protein found in milk. It can be used to calm horses stressed by farrier visits, travelling, weaning, training and new situations.
RRP: £45 (20 sachets)
www.msd-animal-health.co.uk
Pros: "It comes in individual powder sachet doses and is very simple to feed. The horses don't mind the taste and it had some effect on all the horses who tried it. One benefited significantly with greatly reduced napping and negative behaviour overall, leaving her much happier generally."
Cons: "It's one of the more expensive products on the market."
Buy if... you want an easy-to-feed powder with significant calming potential for your horse.

Relaxin DaySonHewitt

Relaxin contains B vitamins, magnesium and L-tryptophan. Relaxin's blend helps to reduce anxiety and promote calmness, relaxation and concentration.
RRP: £42 (30-day supply)
08455 007777
www.daysonhewitt.co.uk
Pros: "I really like the packaging of this as it comes in a tin that's pretty and useful. The 30 individual sachets are easy to administer and the powder seems very palatable. It worked well on the horse we tried it on - he was calmer in the stable and much more rideable, so I would recommend it."
Cons: "It is one of the more expensive calmers on the market."
Buy if... you want an effective sachet calmer in a very lovely tin.

Karma BlueChip

Karma contains a superior, water-soluble form of magnesium that can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. When stressed, horses can quickly use up their available stores of magnesium.
RRP: £28.50 (1 litre)
01142 666200
www.bluechipfeed.com
Pros: "This worked really well on most horses and they found it palatable. The liquid is easy to measure and administer. The horses who tend to be tense and stressed responded particularly well and the effects lasted for a while. The packaging is clear and the instructions are straightforward."
Cons: "The effects took a little time to become apparent."
Buy if... you want an effective liquid calmer.

Calm & Collected Gold (Best value) HiltonHerbs
bestvalue














A herbal calmer containing valerian, chamomile and other relaxing herbs will help your horse maintain a calm, healthy and balanced nervous system. (Valerian use is not allowed in competition.)

RRP: £20 (1 litre)
01460 270700
www.hiltonherbs.co.uk
Pros: "The squeezable bottle with built-in measure is easy to use and the instructions are clear. One of the mares we used this on was like a different horse after a few days - calmer, happier, and much less stroppy and difficult. I would recommend this product as it's very well priced."
Cons: "It isn't as palatable as some of the other products."
Buy if... you want an effective liquid calmer.

So-Kalm EquineAmerica

Contains premium grade magnesium with L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid associated with the production of serotonin, and vitex agnus castus, to calm and focus the horse.
RRP: £22 (947ml)
01403 255809
www.equine-america.co.uk
Pros: "This solution worked well on most of the horses, particularly if given daily. The bottle has an incorporated measurer and the instructions are easy to follow. The horses were less tense and uptight after a few days of having this, so we were pretty happy with the results overall."
Cons: "The solution is quite thick so it was tricky to syringe into the mouth if your horse won't eat it."
Buy if... you want an effective daily calmer at a reasonable price.

Cool, calm & collected Equifeast

Contains vitamins D, B, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. It makes horses less distractable, more relaxed and easier to train, as the ingredients enable the brain to work as nature intended.
RRP: £48.70 (2kg)
08452 301086
www.equifeast.com
Pros: "This powder is very palatable and easy to administer. All the horses that were given it were definitely calmer and more able to take instruction when handled and under saddle. We were very impressed with this product and I would recommend it for a long-term calming effect."
Cons: "It takes a few weeks to reach its full effect."
Buy if... you want a very effective calmer to aid in trainability.

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