Dear Totally Horse & Pony Magazine,
My horse is feeling a little fresh and excitable after the long winter! I am wondering whether there is something diet -related that could help calm him down a little?
Arlo, by email
We passed your question onto the experts at HorseHage and Mollichaff to see what they could suggest. Equine Feed Adviser, Kate Perrot, proposed the following:
“It’s always important to look at your management routine and environment to ensure that any potential stressful situations are kept to a minimum before relying on a change to the diet. Fizzy behaviour may also be due to pain from being ridden in poorly fitting tack or from teeth that need attention so this should be checked out too.
Then make sure you feed your horse the correct amount of feed he needs for the work he is doing. It can be easy to overestimate your horse’s workload and feed a product that’s too high in digestible energy. For example, if your horse is only going for a 30 minute hack two or three times a week, you are likely to experience problems if you are feeding recommended amounts of a cereal-based competition mix! For a sharp horse, a low starch, high fibre product would be much more appropriate in this scenario, and far less likely to result in over-exuberant behaviour.
One product that we feel may help your horse is Mollichaff Calmer Complete. It’s a complete fibre feed formulated for nervous or fizzy horses. It contains a balanced blend of fibre pellets, oat straw, dried grass, herbs, soya oil, limestone and trace elements, and it can be used as the sole bucket feed when fed at the recommended levels as it contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement. It includes elevated levels of magnesium along with camomile, lemon balm and mint, to help relax your horse, plus vitamins B1 and B12 which are known to help decrease anxiety by exerting a calming influence on the horse.
It’s suitable for all horses and ponies, including those prone to laminitis, as it’s low in sugar and starch providing limited controlled energy from high quality, digestible fibre and oil-based ingredients.”