Stay Focused this Season.
- Kate Hore RNutr(Animal) R.Anim.Technol (Cert). Head Nutritionist at NAF
As we head into autumn, those chilled-out, hazy days of summer can seem a distant memory. Circumstances conspire which can result a sharper, more reactive horse.
Horses who have spent the summer living out 24/7 may now find themselves with increased time stabled, and a change of diet away from ad lib pasture towards more preserved forages and the need for bucket feeds. An unnatural diet can challenge gut health, leading to a dysbiosis (imbalance) of the hindgut microbiota, which in turn can negatively impact mood and behaviour along the gut-brain axis which allows the hindgut microbes to directly influence the brain, and vice versa.
Alongside a change of regime, and knock-on dietary changes we often see changes to exercise patterns at this time of year. Poorer weather and shorter daylight days, can mean less exercise, particularly during the week, again potentially influencing your horse’s focus when you do want to ride.
Of course, when you do get saddle time, there is much to get excited about at this time of year. Autumn fun rides can be hugely fun – for both horse and rider – or the move to indoor competing. All plenty for your horse to get excited about. While enthusiasm is key to a successful season, we do want to ensure that focus stays forward and doesn’t bubble over into reactiveness or lack of concentration.
Award winning NAF Five Star Magic is the ideal choice for those horses who benefit from natural targeted support for focus, learning and concentration. Proven to not sedate your horse or pony in any way, Magic instead supports your horses’ learning and confidence, as we firmly believe once they understand what is expected of them they can focus and go forward.
Magic has been independently trialled and verified, with a peer reviewed and published paper, by the respected academics at The Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. The results showed improved learning and reduced reactivity, and as lead researcher, Dr Andrew Hemmings concluded:
‘Still your horse – just more trainable.’
This time of year can also be full of the unexpected, particularly for your horse or pony, who thrive on routine; but the only ‘spooks’ we want to see are the ghosts and ghouls of Hallowe’en!
If you know your horse is likely to be meeting the unexpected this season, whether Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night or Diwali, be prepared. Minimize changes as much as possible, maybe talking to neighbours who are holding a party to help them understand the risk to horses, and see what can be done to reduce those surprises. Keep your horse in their normal routine as much as possible, feeding ad-lib hay to keep them occupied. If stabled, consider leaving a light on and some music on the yard for distraction. For reactive types it may be advised to feed a short term natural calmer, just to give your horse that extra bit of thinking space, allowing them to work out that while it’s a loud noise, it’s not actually hurting them. If you feel your horse is particularly likely to panic and become upset, then discuss with your vet what your best options are. They may advise use of a sedative, or even moving your horse for the night.
If the display is close to your land, don’t forget to carry out a check of your fields the following morning and clear any debris which could be potentially dangerous for your horse.
NAF Five Star Magic
- Magic Powder combines herbal support with bioavailable magnesium and gut friendly nutrients for a stable microbiome, and settled gut-brain axis.
- Magic Liquid provides a powerful, fast acting herbal formula in an easy to feed solution.
- Instant Magic for when speed counts
If you’d like to speak to NAF about your horse or pony, get in touch via their FREE Nutritional Advice Line. Call 0800 373 106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.