Competition can be stressful for horses (and their riders alike!). It is important to have strategies in place to help manage their stress and maintain their well-being in these situations. There are several effective strategies that may help in managing equine stress during competition.
Proper Preparation: Proper preparation is key to helping your horse feel more comfortable and confident during competition. Ensuring your horse is both physically and mentally fit for the demands of a competition is paramount. You wouldn’t go and run a marathon after just one week of jogging, would you? Where possible, practicing in similar conditions you may encounter at a show, such as the same type of footing or arena size, may also be beneficial.
Familiar surroundings: Having familiar surroundings and routines can help reduce stress for horses during a competition. Bringing your own hay and even water from home can assist in creating familiarity with smell and taste. If your horse is stabled only for shows, try introducing periods of stabling when you aren’t competing, to help disassociate the stress of a competition with the action/environment of the stables.
Supportive Care Team: Horses are natural group animals, and for some horses more than others, separation from others can cause significant stress. Having a travel buddy can help reduce this anxiety in some cases. As horses are also sensitive to our own nerves and anxiety, having your own support team whether it is in person or just a phone call away, can also help ease our own pressures.
Correct Nutrition: Deficiencies of nutrients such as Magnesium, as well as B-Group Vitamins, can be associated with increased nervousness, especially at competition. Ensuring your horses diet is adequate in these nutrients with an equine nutrition advisor is best practice. There is also a wide variety of supplementation available that provide these key nutrients and may assist in reducing signs of stress. They may come in the form of daily supplementation such as Ranvet Settle’em Plus, or for a short-term provision, Ranvet Calm Paste.
Post Competition Relaxation: It is important to give our horse time to relax after a competition. This may involve turning them out to a paddock, providing a quiet, peaceful environment to unwind, or even incorporating relaxation techniques such as massages or stretching into their routine.
Ranvet offer a complete complementary Diet Evaluation Service where one of our nutrition advisors can work with you to help determine if your horse may be experiencing nutritional deficiencies, and whether it may benefit from a calming supplement.
You can submit your horses ration online anytime HERE.