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lion chasing horse through the snow in the moonlight

The Difference Between Life & Death

The Cortisol Conundrum


Stress: Not Just a Human Problem

“Stress is good on the plains of Africa if you’re running from a lion, but I can’t think of any other reason stress would be good for a horse,” said Scott Swerdlin, DVM, MRCVS, of Palm Beach Equine Medical Centers in Wellington, Fla. “You want to do everything you can to decrease stress.”

Stress, Explained

Body alarm goes off – stress. It’s a survival thing. But horses, being prey, can’t always hit the escape button, leading to a stress pile-up.

Anxiety kicks their survival gear into overdrive: heart races, blood redirects to muscles, ready to bolt. But too much of this, thanks to a hormone called cortisol, and we’re talking major health nosedives.

Cortisol: The Bittersweet Hormone

Quick burst? Cortisol’s your friend – think energy spike, fat breakdown. But let it hang around too long, and it starts wrecking the place: weakened immune system, gut issues, big drops in performance and energy. Even breathing problems.

The Fallout

Chronic stress doesn’t bode well for anyone, especially horses. Causing things like Ulcers, colic, weight loss – you name it. Plus, no one wants a horse with attitude, right?

Cutting Down Stress

Prep is key. Familiarize your horse with travel, their new home-away-from-home. Remember, stress isn’t just about location changes. It’s about breaking routine, which, for a horse, is basically all the time.

Travel, feeding, exercise, socializing – it’s all on the table for discussion. How you manage these can turn the stress tide for your horse.

And, yeah, your stress counts too. Horses can catch it like a cold.

Natural Supplements

  • Ashwagandha– This adaptogenic powerhouse helps your horse cope with stress by balancing cortisol levels in the brain.
  • Peppermint Leaf– A powerful herb long known for it soothing effects on the stomach that helps promote relaxation and a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Citragon Leaf– Calms the nervous system, providing relief from anxiety and promoting relaxation, even in challenging situations.
  • Raspberry Leaf– Enhances the overall calming effect, helping even the moodiest of mares chill out.
  • proprietary compounds– Certain types of proprietary compounds in their raw form have proven very effective at stress management.
  • If you’d like to read a more in depth article we wrote on this topic, you can check it out by clicking right HERE.

Wrap-Up

In short, keep your horse’s life chill to keep them healthy, and leverage the power of herbs if they need them. It’s all about the prep and understanding what flips their stress switch. And remember, stress is a two-way street; keep yours in check, too.

Wanna see what we use to help keep our horses focused and their stress under control? Just click the button below:


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