Tense Horses
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Tim Wait
Posted on: May 21, 2006

A friend has several horses that are very large, 18 hands, 1700 pound Holsteiner mares. They are competition jumpers and very athletic. She would like to find something to take the edge off them before she rides. What about a handful of chamomile daily? Would that calm them down slightly without making them sleepy or sluggish?

The first thing a herbalist always does is try to figure out why a condition exists. Are these horses always tense? If so, why? Are they receiving all the nutrition and exercise they require? Are their stables suitable? Do they get along with their stable-mates? Do they have enough access to light and pasture, etc.? Do they have a good relationship with all the humans they encounter on a regular basis (including riders)? Are there any other mitigating factors (old injuries, improper fit of shoes, etc.)?

As for herbs, yes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) could be employed at a handful of dried flowers in the feed once a day as could skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) at 15 grams of the dried herb in food once a day. Bach flower essences may also prove useful. Rock rose would be worth a try for the horse (10 drops in a bucket of water) and 2 drops each of mimulus and aspen in a glass of water might be good for the rider, in order to quell her worries of repeated high strung behaviour before she begins her ride.

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