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Managing Stress & Anxiety In Your Horses

How Previous Trauma Can Affect Horses

Let’s talk about the importance of understanding and addressing the long-term effects of trauma in horses. Trauma can have significant impacts on a horse’s overall health and well-being. When a horse experiences trauma, it can disrupt the functioning of various biological systems that play a role in regulating stress, fear, and anxiety. These include things like the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system.

One critical component of the nervous system that plays a pivotal role in the stress and fear response is the amygdala. The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped structure located in the brain that is involved in the processing of emotions, particularly those related to fear and anxiety. When the amygdala is activated, it can trigger the release of stress hormones in the brain such as cortisol and can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels in your horse.

By understanding the long-term effects of trauma and the biological systems involved in stress, fear, and anxiety, it’s possible to develop appropriate strategies for addressing these issues and supporting the horse’s overall health and well-being. This is especially important for horses that have experienced severe or chronic trauma, as these experiences can have a lasting impact on the horse’s physical and emotional well-being.

The Long-Term Side Effects Of Trauma

The potential long-term effects of trauma on horses can be wide-ranging and can include:

Changes in behavior- Trauma can cause horses to become anxious, fearful, or aggressive. They may also become more sensitive to stimuli in their environment, leading to an increased startle response. These changes in behavior can have negative impacts on the horse’s overall well-being and may affect their ability to form positive relationships with humans and other horses.

Physical health problems- Trauma can weaken the immune system, making horses more susceptible to illness and infection. It can also disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system, leading to imbalances in hormone production and release. These imbalances can lead to physical health problems, such as weight gain or loss, decreased fertility, or increased risk of injury.

Cognitive problems- Cognitive problems, such as problems with memory, learning, and decision-making, can also make it more difficult for horses to cope with stress and anxiety. For example, a horse with cognitive problems may have a harder time understanding and responding to cues from their handler, which can increase their stress levels.

It is important to address the long-term effects of trauma in horses because these effects can have significant impacts on the horse’s overall health and well-being. By understanding the potential effects of trauma and developing appropriate strategies for addressing these issues, it is possible to support the well-being of horses that have experienced trauma. We’ll cover that next.

Addressing Trauma

There are several strategies that can be used to address the long-term effects of trauma in horses. Some examples include:

Using natural supplements- Natural supplements, such as adaptogenic herbs and certain proprietary compounds, can be used to support stress and anxiety management in horses. These supplements can help to regulate the functioning of the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system, which can be disrupted by trauma.

Providing a stable and supportive environment- A stable and supportive environment can help to reduce the impact of trauma on horses. This may include providing a safe and comfortable living space, a consistent routine, and plenty of opportunities for social interaction and physical activity.

Working with a veterinarian or equine behaviorist- Consulting with a veterinarian or equine behaviorist can help to identify any underlying physical or behavioral issues that may be contributing to the long-term effects of trauma in horses. They can also provide guidance on appropriate treatment options, such as natural supplements or behavior modification techniques.

It is also important to adopt a holistic approach when addressing the long-term effects of trauma in horses. This may involve using a combination of previously mentioned strategies in order to address both the physical and emotional needs of the horse. Let’s talk about stress.

What Is Stress Anyway?

The nervous system plays a key role in the stress response in horses. When a horse perceives a threat or challenge, the body’s “fight or flight” response is triggered, which is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

This response involves the release of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and the activation of various physiological changes, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased respiration and blood flow to the muscles, and decreased blood flow to the digestive and immune systems. In the wild, these changes are all designed to help the horse prepare to deal with the perceived threat or challenge, but in a modern domesticated life they do more harm that good in the long run.

In addition to the sympathetic nervous (alertness) system, the parasympathetic nervous (calmness) system is also involved in the stress response in horses. Like two ends of a sea-saw this is the mechanism on the opposite end of the nervous system responsible for helping the body relax and return to a state of balance after the threat or challenge has passed.

It is important to manage stress and anxiety in horses, as chronic exposure to high levels of stress can have negative effects on the body, including impaired immune function, decreased reproductive performance, and increased risk of various health problems.

There are some natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety and we’ll cover those a bit later. But first let’s talk hormones.

Cortisol And It’s Key Role In Stress And Anxiety

Hormones, such as cortisol, play a significant role in the stress response in the brains of all animals. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is released in response to physical or psychological stress. It helps to regulate various bodily processes, including metabolism, immune function, and cardiovascular function.

During the stress response, cortisol levels increase in the blood to help the body cope with the perceived threat or challenge. Cortisol helps to increase energy production, suppress immune function, and increase blood pressure and heart rate. These changes help the body to respond to the stressor and prepare for the “fight or flight” response.

However, if a horse has been exposed to previous trauma or has experienced chronic high levels of stress, it may have a heightened fear response and increased cortisol levels even in the absence of a current stressor.

This is because the nervous system can become “sensitized” to stress and more easily triggered by perceived threats. This can have long-term negative effects on the horse’s health, including impaired immune function, disrupted cardiovascular and digestive function, and an increased risk of various health problems.

It is important to address and manage any previous trauma or chronic stress in order to help the horse’s body return to a state of balance and healthy cortisol levels, but how can we do that you say? Well I’m glad you asked, let’s cover that next.

Natural Supplements

proprietary compounds

Some compounds garnering a lot of attention both in recreational use as well as in scientific research studies are certain types of proprietary compounds. proprietary compounds are compounds found in cannabis plants that can have therapeutic effects on the brain and body and have now been proven in clinical trials to have significant effects on stress, anxiety and trauma from PTSD.

One study on Nature’s Healing Herb showed significant reductions in social anxiety in humans in clinical trials.  The nervous systems of all animals function much in the same way on a biological level.  All of the underlying mechanisms essentially act in the same way in animals and horses are no different.  For those of you who love science, you can read the entire study here.

Another exciting study to watch closely, is this one. This study may show significant promise that certain proprietary compounds, such as broad spectrum Nature’s Healing Herb, may be effective at reducing stress and anxiety in horses.

Although the results are not yet in, if successful they may finally give us a definitive answer on whether or not certain proprietary compounds can reduce stress and anxiety and help settle the ongoing battle between the those who personally attest to the profound effects of Nature’s Healing Herb from it’s use; and the scientific world who’s always stated that “more research needs to be done.”

I don’t know about you, but I for one am excited to finally settle this heated debate with properly conducted unbiased studies. Let’s let the science get to the bottom of it once and for all.

Okay, so what else?

Adaptogens-

Adaptogenic herbs are plants that help to support the body’s ability to cope with stress and maintain balance. They can be used to support the functioning of the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system, which can be disrupted by trauma.

In particular, adaptogenic herbs may be effective at reducing cortisol levels in the brain, which can be elevated following trauma. As mentioned previously, cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced and released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Elevated cortisol levels can have negative impacts on the body, including an increase in stress and anxiety.

Several studies have found that adaptogenic herbs can be effective at reducing cortisol levels in the brain. For example, this study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that the adaptogenic herbs were effective at reducing cortisol levels in both humans and animals.

While more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of adaptogenic herbs in reducing cortisol levels in horses, these studies suggest that they may be a useful strategy for supporting the well-being of horses that have experienced trauma. By reducing cortisol levels, adaptogenic herbs may help to promote a sense of calm and relaxation in horses, which can support their ability to cope with stress and anxiety.

Conclusion

Previous trauma can have significant and lasting impacts on horses, including changes in behavior, physical health problems, and cognitive issues. It’s important to address the long-term effects of trauma in order to support the overall well-being of horses and help them cope with stress and anxiety.

It is important to adopt a holistic approach when addressing the long-term effects of trauma in horses. This may involve using a combination of strategies, such as natural supplements in the form of adaptogenic herbs and certain types of proprietary compounds, a supportive environment, and professional guidance, in order to address both the physical and emotional needs of the horse. 

By addressing the long-term effects of trauma and supporting the overall well-being of horses, it is possible to help them cope with stress and anxiety and live happy and healthy lives.

So what now?

If you’d like to try a brand new product specially formulated to quickly combat all of the issues mentioned above, and does so within an hour of the very first dose, you can try it risk by clicking the button below.

What are some ways you’ve found help best with the issues addressed in this post?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

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