A relaxed horse

1 April 2021
A relaxed horse…What does it actually mean?

Is relaxation, calmness and composure always only a mental problem, i.e. controlled "by the head"? In what way does nervousness or anxiety lead to tense muscles? But also vice versa, nervousness and jumpiness can be caused by a painful tension. Where is the boundary between sluggish and relaxed, between concentration and jumpiness? This range is certainly defined by the sensibility of the rider/driver and also the demands of the riders are as diverse as the breeds of our beloved four-legged friends. But they all agree on one thing: the horse should react calmly and relaxed, but attentive and fine. This is the dream of every rider, whether professional or recreational. Training, keeping and feeding certainly contribute the most to a balanced behaviour. However, there are always exceptional situations that place special demands on the nerves of the horse and the rider. Be it the first transport, the breaking in of particularly nervous animals, careful training after breaks due to illness, loud bangs on New Year's Eve, the first unaccompanied ride and many other situations. Certainly, horses can be prepared for some of these situations through conscientious training. Unfortunately, strong tranquilizers are often used, which can have negative side effects. For example, these can significantly reduce the reflexes of horses in addition to the intestinal activity. Impaired reflexes can result in dangerous falls. A sedated animal often does not perceive situations correctly and can, in the worst case, injure other animals or humans through delayed perception with an inappropriate defensive reaction. It is not fully understood what influence sedatives have on the learning effect, but it is very likely that it is reduced. Very often, nervous horses have their feed cut and the energy supplied reduced, in the hope that the horse's explosive propensity to move will also decrease.

But here it´s going round in circles...!  The chewing of roughage has a strong calming effect on the psyche of the horse. If the horse's roughage is shortened in excess, this contributes not insignificantly to stressed behaviour. Cutting back on concentrated feed while providing an adequate amount of good hay is generally not a bad idea. If the hay quantity and quality does not cover the requirements, a complete cutback of the concentrated feed could lead to an undersupply of important essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which are indispensable both for relaxed, powerful muscles and for a constantly, resilient nervous system.
With Ludgers N COOL DOWN | PULVER we have developed a product that simultaneously contributes with several ingredients to a relaxed and released horse, without negatively affecting the reflexes or performance. In the development we have made use of the knowledge of traditional herbal medicine as well as the latest nutritional knowledge.
Magnesium is one of the important bulk elements essential for the function of many enzymes in the nerve and muscle tissue. This element is a top-drawer for the provision of energy and muscle tension/relaxation. In addition, magnesium prevents "overstimulation" of the nerve cells. Magnesium deficiency can have a variety of effects. The first signs are usually muscular problems, which increase significantly, especially under stress. But also increased jumpiness and nervousness are continuing symptoms of an alimentary undersupply of magnesium. Supplementation is indicated in cases of reduced intake, increased loss or increased need. The reasons for insufficient intake are usually due to the horse's limited feed intake or poor feed quality. Greater losses occur mainly in the case of increased sweating or diarrhoea. But also any kind of stress leads to an increase in adrenaline levels and thus to increased magnesium losses.

We think that especially pregnant mares have an increased demand, as well as in stressful situations like stable changes, transports or hospital stays and athletic use.

The ingredients of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), which are valued in traditional herbal medicine, act predominantly on the central nervous system, in contrast to magnesium. Especially the β-caryophyllene, found in both plants, which also occurs in high concentrations in cannabis, is said to reduce stress and anxiety states. The root extracts of true valerian help combat nervous restlessness and have a general relaxing effect. Recently, it was assumed that the effect is mainly due to an increased release and reduced reuptake of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is the most important calming neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and has a positive effect on the frame of mind. Recent studies have now shown that valerian also binds to A1 receptors. These are the same receptors that lead to states of arousal when they bind with caffeine. Valerian displaces caffeine at these and has a measurable calming effect. The sedative effects of the 2011 Medicinal Plant of the Year, Passiflora incarnata, were known as early as 1570. One of the effects thought is to be predominantly due to inhibition of serotonin breakdown. The mechanism of action of another effect, which begins in humans after only a few minutes, is not yet fully understood. However, it is suspected that Passiflora acts antagonistically at the GABA-B receptor and thus has an anxiety-relieving effect.
Tryptophan belongs to the essential amino acids, which must be ingested with food. Tryptophan is needed in the metabolism of the central nervous system for the formation of serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone. Serotonin has a regulating effect on the transmission of stimuli in the central nervous system. Since serotonin is used up relatively quickly, a constant supply of tryptophan is essential for its regeneration. In times of increased demand, therefore a targeted supplementation is recommended.
Through the sensible combination of the various ingredients COOL DOWN | PULVER achieves in its entirety a significantly better effect than the individual components. The maximum effect sets in only after about a week and should therefore be fed in good time before a predictable stress situation. The result is a relaxed, released and powerful horse.
In this sense, especially in the present time, you and your horse stay healthy and relaxed with Ludgers N COOL DOWN | PULVER.

About the author: Dr. med. vet. Heike Kühn

After studying veterinary medicine in Giessen (Germany) and her internship at the University of Zurich/Switzerland (equine sports medicine center), she went to Tufts University/USA for 3 years. There, in addition to sports medicine, she also devoted herself to internal medicine.

After working for several years as a veterinarian in the equine clinic Munich-Riem and the equine practice Steinberg, she founded the Immunological Center for Horses in Truchtlaching in 2011. Through numerous lectures at various universities (Harvard University, University of New Hampshire, LMU Munich, etc.) and clinics in Germany and abroad, she tries to pass on her knowledge to colleagues and equine athletes.

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Content: 0.85 Kilogramm (€52.94* / 1 Kilogramm)