SubscribeGift a Sub
Enable cache 100
Horse Behavior

May 2020 SmartPak SmartTip of the Month: How to Help a Nervous Horse

A nervous horse can react in several ways, from tense muscles to stopping, snorting, and bolting in the opposite direction. If your horse is acting out of character by spooking, or he continues to be on edge during every ride with no signs of relaxation, there may be something more going on, other than changes in weather or a new object in the ring. You don’t have to let a spooky horse take the fun out of your barn and riding time. There are ways to help your horse stay cool and confident.



It’s important to first work with your veterinarian and trainer to get to the root of the problem, whether it’s medical, physical, or behavioral. These concerns could range from gastric ulcers, to improper saddle fit, and lack of turnout time, respectively. If you’ve worked with your veterinarian and your trainer to cross off the possible health and management reasons for your horse’s bad behavior, adding a calming supplement to your horse’s diet may be a smart choice. There are three types of calming supplements to consider: nutrient-based, herb-based, and those for moody mares.

SmartPak SmartCalm Ultra Pellets. Image Courtesy SmartPak



Horses may be anxious if their diet does not provide enough of the nutrients necessary for proper nervous system function. Nutrient-based formulas are designed to bring your horse’s dietary levels into the optimal range for a correctly functioning nervous system. These supplements provide ingredients like vitamin B1 for normal transmission of impulses along nerves, magnesium to support nervous system function, and tryptophan, which is converted by the body into serotonin and may help increase feelings of well-being and contentment. SmartCalm® Ultra Pellets is one of SmartPak’s SmartSupplements, which offers all of these ingredients to support a healthy nervous system!

SmartPak SmartTranquility Pellets. Image Courtesy SmartPak

If you’ve tried a nutrient-based supplement and didn’t see the results you were hoping for, consider trying an herbal formula. Herbal ingredients can provide soothing support for tense, anxious horses. These supplements include ingredients like valerian to help balance the nervous system and address muscle tightness associated with tension, chamomile to help horses who process their nervousness through their GI system, and vervain, which may help balance the nervous system of horses who have unfocused energy. This category of calming supplements combines herbs with the nutrient-based ingredients, too. SmartTranquility® Pellets provide a comprehensive formula, including these herbs, to offer support for a more balanced temperament.

SmartPak SmartMare Harmony Pellets. Image Courtesy SmartPak

Finally, if your sweet mare turns into a moody monster during or around her heat cycle, her unpleasant attitude could be related to hormonal fluctuations or discomfort in her reproductive tract. There are formulas that provide ingredients that support balanced hormones and an even disposition. These ingredients include raspberry to support smooth muscle tone and help relax muscles in spasm, passionflower for muscle tension in smooth and skeletal muscle, and chasteberry to help maintain a balanced hormonal system. SmartMare® Harmony Pellets is an ideal formula to help take her from moody to mellow!

Read more tips from SmartPak.

Horse Illustrated Advertorial

Horse Illustrated’s trusted partners bring readers important information about cool new products, research, and ways to better care for your horse and your horse’s home.

Recent Posts

ASPCA Right Horse Adoptable Horse of the Week: Big Boy

Welcome to Horse Illustrated’s weekly installment of the Right Horse Adoptable Horse of the Week, offered in partnership with the…

3 hours ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Latest News

Check out Horse Illustrated's latest updates from the 2024 Paris Olympics on equestrian sports for the three disciplines of dressage,…

17 hours ago

Riding Through Sicily

Go horseback riding through the Italian island of Sicily, spanning six days with lots of long canters, wine tastings and…

2 days ago

Last Call for Entries: “Why My Favorite Horse Would Love to be a Breyer Model” Essay Contest!

Winners to Receive Special Custom Breyer Model for Breyer’s 75th Anniversary Celebration - Deadline for entries: July 31st, 2024Pequannock, N.J.…

3 days ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Equestrian Schedule

See below for the full schedule of equestrian sports at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Times listed in Central European Time…

3 days ago

2024 Paris Olympics: Olympic Equestrian Trivia and Fun Facts

With one week remaining until the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics, get ready for the Games with these…

6 days ago