Equine calming products (ECPs) are often used by owners to calm challenging or “unruly” horses, often with little scientific basis for their action and with little understanding of how, why or, indeed, whether they actually work.
Diane Ross of the North Highland College, University of Highlands and Islands, Scotland, and Jayne Roberts of Equijay, Brisbane, Australia, conducted a study to investigate owners’ attitudes to such products.
They distributed a survey to horse owners in the north of Scotland .
How did respondents think ECPs work? Opinions varied. Over half (59%) of those replying thought magnesium was responsible for the calming effect; 9% thought it was due to herbs, valerian or tryptophan and 32% did not know which of the ingredients were responsible.
Were owners' satisfied that ECPs had the desired effect? A positive calming effect was reported by 48% of respondents; 30% were uncertain; 25% thought there was no effect; and 5% thought that rather than calming the horse they made their behaviour worse.
The authors conclude that horse owners appear willing to use ECPs without underpinning knowledge of ingredients or scientific evidence that they work.
For more details, see:
Equine Calming Products: A short survey into their use, effect, and knowledge using a small sample of horse owners in the north of Scotland, UK.
Ross DJ, Roberts JL.
J Equine Vet Sci. (2018) 68:63-67.