Horses are sensitive animals. They have instincts that can cause them to react to loud noises and sudden changes in their environment in potentially unpredictable ways.
Their reactions can also be dangerous to themselves and those around them. Some horses are more prone to exhibiting signs of tension than others.
You might have questions about how you can best address the tension. With holidays known for being loud — like the Fourth of July — it’s important to talk about what to do for anxious horses.
Whether your horses show signs of tension on occasion (during fireworks, for instance) or as a more common occurrence, there are several steps you can take to help your horse maintain cool, calm, and collected. From horse supplements to creating a more relaxing environment, here are a few tips to ease your anxious equine.
Dealing with Loud, Sudden Noises
Horses are far from the only animals that are sensitive to loud, sudden noises. Dogs and cats, along with cows, goats, and other farm animals are also easily bothered by sudden noises.
The noise from fireworks can leave horses overstimulated and anxious. Horses may quiver or become restless. They may start to sweat profusely. They may even become flighty and try to bolt toward any possible opening.
The Fourth of July can be a major source of tension. One way to manage this tension is by boarding your horse in a building closed to the outside.
While this strategy might not filter out all outside noises, it can dampen them and create less of a “surprise” for your horse. Another option you can use is to use an ear bonnet designed to muffle or cancel noise.
Managing Excitable Horses Naturally
From fireworks on the Fourth of July to overstimulation during competition, there are all kinds of reasons a horse may become excited or nervous. If you have a horse exhibiting tension or excitability, there may be a more natural solution: calming herbs.
Certain plants are known to help support the nervous system and may also help the animal stay calm in certain situations. Equine supplements made with a blend of natural ingredients like burdock, chamomile, and valerian may be an option.
These and other key ingredients help maintain the horse’s nervous system—and help create a sense of calm for your horse. Using this kind of supplement may help with tension and nerves, as well as behavioral concerns.
Training with Nervous Horses
Sometimes, discovering the root of the issue requires learning how to deal with a tense or anxious horse. Asking why your horse is tense or anxious is the first step in figuring out the solution to help them.
Sometimes, the source of the anxiety can be found in your horse’s training. The horse may be pushed too far or may not be ready for certain exercises or tasks.
In that case, pulling back or recalibrating your horse’s training may be necessary. Additionally, the horse may need training to deal with anxiousness.
Your horse may need to be acclimatized to certain environmental factors or changes. For example, if a horse has been trained for certain tasks up to this point and a new set of tasks is being demanded, ease the horse into those new tasks gradually. Time and patience — along with boundaries and communication — are key.
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