On the heels of the NY Times series on breakdown of race horses comes Sudden Death of Show Pony Clouds Image of Elite Pursuit - a look at the unwarranted drugging of show ponies and horses ridden by young Olympic hopefuls.
But it's not just the elite Young Rider being taught that it's OK to drug the friskiness out of your horse. Look at any feed and supplement supplier and you'll find a variety of nutraceuticals and herbal supplements billed as "Horse Calming Supplements" and agents.
"Tense, edgy, unfocused. If these words describe your horse, a calming supplement could make training easier and riding more fun."
"Helps nervous, tense, sore-backed, irritable or inattentive horses."
"An all natural formula designed to help calm nervous, anxious horses and to help them focus."
OK, it's a busy world, we have jobs and responsibilities and our horses help us relieve the stress in our lives. We don't always have time to talk to our horse before we ask him to pack us around the arena or down the trail, we just expect him to do it. We've already invested a lot of money and can't really afford the time for more training or a more suitable horse for our aspiring equestrienne.
Uh - maybe it's not our horse but us that needs the calming supplement.
A friend wrote "I was at the tack store one day. I noticed the girl behind me in line had a bag of Quiessence. I wondered if she had a foundered horse at home and asked her why she was purchasing it. Her reply floored me. She needed to calm her horse down at shows!"
I hope, in instances like this, we try to see this as an opportunity to educate someone on the value of a mineral balanced diet and good horse care. Magnesium might be exactly what their horse needs if their diet is deficient - but why not find out instead of guessing?
If a horse is tense, edgy and unfocused there's a reason and it's our responsibility to find it, not simply medicate or supplement to mask the problem or eliminate the behavior. It's terribly unfair to the horse if the owner or trainer hasn't explored a balanced diet and corrected deficiencies, checked for physical causes - ulcers, pain, vision problems, tack fit, etc., and reviewed training issues and suitability for the job. Then, and only then is it appropriate to target a calming supplement.
Patti in Vail, AZ
and Dreamer (Ragtime Sunkissed) who says "I am not ADD - I just want to make sure I don't miss anything!"
Coming soon - Appropriate use of calming supplements
NY Times Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/us/ponys-death-draws-notice-to-drugs-in-show-ring.html?pagewanted=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121228&_r=1&
NY Times Series on Breakdown: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/us/at-the-track-racing-economics-collide-with-veterinarians-oath.html?ref=us
SmartPak Horse Calming Supplements - We Found 38 Items! http://www.smartpakequine.com/horse-calming-supplements-11pc.aspx
ValleyVet Calming Supplements for Horses - 53 results http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_search_results.html?gas=calming%20supplement%20for%20horses