No one likes a Nervous Nellie.
It is not normal for your horse to be chronically stressed. The long-term effects of stress are far and wide, including gastric ulcer formation, weight loss, poor appetite, a weak immune system, colic, cribbing, behavioral changes and more.
So, what causes stress, and how can we manage it in our horses?
1.) Unnatural nutrition or changes in feed
Horses are designed to eat small, continuous meals. Feeding them only 2–3 times a day causes stress to their GI tract. Additionally, changes in types of hay or grain can wreak havoc on a horse’s gut microbiome. Help reduce digestive stress with proper management techniques, as well as a high-quality probiotic with digestive enzymes, such as Lifeforce Digestion.
2.) Increased travel and training
Just like how travel may throw off your own body’s natural rhythms, a busy competition schedule or any kind of transportation can cause a lot of stress to your horse’s physical and mental well-being. You can help alleviate stress during transport by providing a travel buddy, offering free-choice access to hay and water, and protecting the gut with a balanced digestive formula.
3.) Environmental changes
Make no mistake, extreme weather and environmental changes can be spooky and stress-inducing for our horses. Fourth of July fireworks are a perfect example! Or, if you are traveling with your horse and new environments cause behavioral changes that are difficult to manage, you might try a natural calming supplement to take off the edge, like Lifeforce Calming.
The bottom line is that you know your horse and will be their best advocate for when you notice that they are not acting like themselves.
Remember to watch for signs of stress and always take your horse’s physical, mental and emotional well-being into account in and out of the arena.