For the professional or serious amateur riders we need products that actually work. It’s also safe to presume that these people are riding at a level where they will be honest in their appraisal of the products.

I haven’t come across a horse that doesn’t respond in some way to one of the products we will talk about in this blog. Undoubtedly there may be some trial and error to work through, but in the end you will see a result. It’s important we start at the beginning.

Recognising there are different types of need

A one solution fits all product doesn’t exist. That’s an important place to start because not all horses are the same and the origins of their behaviour are different. It’s also actually very important to be honest and recognise if we are part of the problem. There is a reason we use the phrase “Smell of fear”.

Identify which horse is your horse!

The number 1 cause of calmer failure is misdiagnosis of the cause of the problem.

The second biggest cause is feeding the wrong calmer

The third biggest cause is biology. We aren’t dealing in pharmaceuticals here but nutraceuticals. Even with drugs there are variances in how the population will respond and these ranges can be wider with supplements.

In basic terms we can split behavioural issues into three categories – indeed your horse may fit into more than one of them!

Stallions & Mares – hormonal behaviour

Both mares and stallions can suffer from behavioural issues related to their breeding cycles. Some are seasonal and some are not. Some are worse in the summer season and some are not. Experience tells us however that the normal is for behavioural issues to be more noticeable during the summer breeding season, when the days are longer and the weather warmer.

This may show itself only in the handling of the horses, but more often it manifests itself in the riding.

My general experience is that the stallions may perform better – if a little unmanageable. Mares on the other hand may show a decrease in performance during these times.

Check out Hormonal control solutions

Spooky

Spooky is an interesting issue. Some horses are noise sensitive and some react to visual stimulus. Either way this is the same issue, a heightened fight or flight response and the approach is the same through a rebalancing of the Adrenaline / Cortisol levels.

Generally in this case we don’t want to lose any of the sparkle from the horse, just get them to focus more in their work.

Primarily check out Adrenaline / Cortisol solutions

Sharp & unpredictable

For most people, surprisingly, this is not the main cause of problems. I would say that for every 10 people I speak to about calmers, 9 start off with this point of view. By the end of the conversation they end up recognising that their horse is, in fact, responding to a “spooky” situation.

Primarily check out Magnesium / Tryptophan solutions

Introvert

Not as strange as it may sound. Not all horses exhibit stress reactions by misbehaving. Some actually go into themselves.

How would I know if this was the case for my horse?

If you have ever ridden a horse that “drops off your leg” at the big occasions, holds their breath or loses their sparkle just when you want it the most then it is quite possible they are internalising the stress response.

Primarily check out Fast or One Off solutions

Other things to consider before supplements

Lifestyle and training are the most important. Whilst practically I recognise the constraints life puts on us and our horses, there really is no substitute for work and rest. Horses really should go out in the fields and be occupied for as much of the day as possible.

Keeping work varied exposes the horses to multiple situations and this will all help the horse manage stress in a more efficient way.

No product is a shortcut to either good lifestyle or good training. For the most part I talk to people about fine tuning performance. However, Cavalor products also offer real world help for leisure riders with problems.

Hormonal Control

Cavalor Venus

A blend of herbs, vitamins and minerals to help balance the hormonal cycle without inhibiting it.

Because of this action the effects of irregular ovulation are avoided.

This product has also been shown to work on stallions, moderating their behaviour during breeding season.

Magnesium / Tryptophan Based Solutions

Magnesium and tryptophan are linked together in the biochemical pathway that mediates levels of serotonin.

The anecdotal evidence for its use goes back centuries and indeed there is published evidence to suggest its ability to act as a calming agent.

he effects of Mg on clinical affective disorders and experimental studies of anxiety in animal models provide a clear rationale to propose that Mg supplementation will have a beneficial effect on mild/moderate anxiety. There is also sufficient potential mechanistic pathways via which Mg could modulate affective states.

Boyle et al, Nutrients 2017

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of mood, social behaviour and sleep in humans. It has been shown that a diet deficient in Tryptophan can increase anxiety (Zhang L, Guadarrama L, Corona-Morales AA, Vega-Gonzalez A, Rocha L, Escobar AJ Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2006 Jun; 65(6):562-70.)

Just for the record, tyrosine is not involved in this at all. Tyrosine is a non essential amino acid that is involved in the production of dopamine and adrenaline. Dopamine is in fact the neurotransmitter that increases alertness and we hopefully know about the effects of adrenaline. Unlike Tryptophan, Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid.

Tyrosine is synthesised in the horse body from Phenylalanine. This is the 3rd most abundant amino acid in the horses diet. In short, it is highly unlikely that the horse needs Tyrosine in any form as a supplement.

Magnesium / Tryptophan systems work best with horses that are sharp and unpredictable.

Cavalor Calm

Cavalor’s primary supplement in this area is Cavalor Calm.

It is a nutritional supplement based on herbs which have an anti-stress action. They do not make the horse unresponsive.

It doesn’t contain prohibited substances and has no negative effects on the liver and kidneys.

Use for a maximum of 3 out of every 4 weeks for best effect.

Adrenaline / Cortisol Balancer

Prolonged stress disturbs the balance of adrenaline and cortisol. High levels of Cortisol also may facilitate the consolidation of fear-based memories for future survival and avoidance of danger.

By helping the horse moderate and rebalance the Adrenaline / Cortisol levels in their body, the general levels of stress may lower.

Supplements that work here are best suited to horses that are spooky – as this is effectively a natural instinct overload.

Cavalor SoZen

Cavalor Sozen is the first equine supplement that works on the Adrenaline – Cortisol balance. Cavalor found out that stress is caused by long periods of tension.

Stress will unbalance the hormonal system, by producing too much Adrenaline and too little Cortisol.

The more the adrenaline – cortisol balance is disturbed, the greater the impact of a tension moment will be.

Load for 10 days and then use only as you need. Reload after 6 months if you haven’t used inbetween.

Fast or a One off Solution

Cavalor Take It Easy

Fed supplements require pre-planning. Horses need to be using them for a period of time before “the event”

Sometimes horses still behave in an undesirable manner and indeed some horses really only need a calmer on the day of the event. Some may not even need it at every event.

For this case Cavalor have Take It Easy.

A syringe of high dose tryptophan and magnesium along with vitamins. For quick application only when it is needed.

Ideally 20ml night before, 20ml morning of and 20ml 1 hour before the event. Alternatively give up to 1 tube 1 hour before event.

Maximum Strength

Cavalor Take It Easy Forte

For the very worst cases or in case of the fastest reaction from the product Cavalor made additions to the already highly successful Take It Easy

Fortified with a battery of essential oils, this is the choice for the most effect in the shortest amount of time.

Ideally 20ml night before, 20ml morning of and 20ml 1 hour before the event. Alternatively give up to 1 tube 1 hour before event.

Cavalor IS the only brand that caters for feeding, supplements and care under one umbrella and with this in mind we have a feed that has proven to be very successful in the field.

In many cases this will be all you need to lower your horses general levels of anxiety on a daily basis, allowing them to perform to their best every time you ride them.

Cavalor Pianissimo

Cavalor Pianissimo is specially formulated for horses that are prone to stress or are hard to ride. This oats-free mix contains all the nutritional components for a complete and well-balanced diet.

To make sure that nervous horses do not get too much energy, they are usually given less concentrates and more roughage. However, that leads to an unbalanced diet. For this reason Pianissimo has a low level of protein.