NAF is a UFAS accredited supplement company, and can help with nutrition and feeding queries
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:43 am


Postby Dingbat » Mon May 17, 2010 1:09 pm


A friend of mine is looking for a calmer for her endurance horse. It's well behaved, but gets a bit tizzy when competing and sometimes training which makes it hard to keep weight on. Can you recommend something, and can you explain what the main difference is between magnesium based calmers and oxygen ones?


Posts: 16
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:59 am

Re: Calming

Postby Expert_NAF_Nutrition » Thu May 20, 2010 2:12 pm

Thanks for your enquiry, unfortunately I'd have to say it's a bit of tricky one to answer! Simply because, while there's good evidence for using magnesium as a calmer, the information just isn't there for oxygen. Magnesium is known to work on nerve endings, and has been shown to act on nerves and anxiety. Further to that, magnesium is often lacking in modern grazing, particularly at this time of year when fast growing spring and early summer grass does tend to be low in this essential nutrient. That said, we usually find that magnesium alone doesn't really do the job, and it's recommended to feed it in a product that combines magnesium with the right herbs. Herbs have been traditionally used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and with good reason - their key ingredients can be used in a targeted way to encourage a calm and concentrated outlook. If you're competing just make sure that you're not contravening FEI rules, as not all herbs are suitable - for example Valerian is a banned substance. For further information see ... an2010.pdf

The theory put forward for oxygen, I believe, is that it helps the horse better utilise energy within the system. To my understanding this simply doesn't stack up. It's a theory used (somewhat illegally!) in human ahtletics for increased performance as people don't have a large natural reserve of red blood cells allowing them to utilise oxygen. However the horse has a massive spleen which is able to instantly increase his oxygen capacity at the drop of a hat. Let's assume that oxygen does help with energy utilisation for a moment. Would your friend want her horse to have more energy at the moment he's becoming tense or tizzy?!

An alternative that might be worth considering, particularly as you've mentioned weight loss, is a calmer that works on the gut. The gut is hugely important to the horse, and certainly if a horse becomes mentally stressed his gut can also become stressed, often seen as poor condition or loose droppings. As poor appetite can also be an issue with endurance horses, I would suggest initially starting on a concentrated feed balancer, which will include vitamins and minerals for health and performance, with gut support from probiotics and prebiotics. This should help to settle his gut, improve condition, and hopefully settle his mental attitude. If this doesn't do the trick then it may be necessary to introduce a magnesium based supplement, either daily or on the day of competition, for a bit of additional support.

I hope this has answered your question. Any further queries please do get in touch again, and please let me know how your friend and her horse get on.

Kind regards,

Kate Jones, Snr Nutritionist. NAF

Return to “NAF Nutritionists”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests