Principal Body System: Nervous
Definition: Brain, spinal cord, nerves and sense organs, i.e. the eyes and ears.
Function: Regulates body activities through nerve impulses.
* Please note this page is about helping our horses towards a calmer state due to a temporary issue or during positive desensitisation. For an ongoing, chronic stressed state, see our Stress page.
The equine calmer industry is huge. You just have to look at all the shelves of calming product at your local merchants, all claiming to be the best cure-all to manage every terror our horses experience, and even to calm them in advance of a situation we think they won’t cope with.
It’s hardly surprising – with half a ton of stressed horse in reactive mode, leaping in every direction with four potential weapons of mass destruction in one kick, it’s no wonder we turn to something, anything, to quell our horses’ fears and hopefully keep us safe alongside them.
Short term tension is all part of the horses' natural defense system to a perceived threat - his instincts as a flight animal are telling him to be defensive, to run - fast - now!
The negative effect is two-fold – first on the horse, in that he’s reacting to a situation that's not making him happy, and secondly on us - depending on the degree of the reaction, it can completely shatter our confidence. From then on both parties end up spooking each other, and haven't we all been there at some time in our life.
In the human world, apparently 75-90% of doctors' appointments are due to stress-related situations; sadly this is no surprise, as stress causes profound changes in the body’s biochemistry. For starters, it can cause changes in hormone levels, weaken the immune system, and significantly alter cardiac and gastrointestinal function. The physiological and psychological effects of stress can also continue long after the initial cause. Whatever the trigger, stress threatens the body’s normal healthy balance - see our page Stress for info on ongoing, long-term chronic stress.
For nervine support, see our ONLINE SHOP - ONLINE SHOP