Got a fizzy horse who is always up on his toes? We asked nutritionist Tracey Hammond from Dengie what you can do if you've got a horse just bursting with a little too much energy.
Meet the expert: Tracey is a nutritionist at Dengie Horse Feeds. She has an MSc in equine science and, when not working, loves hacking out her horse, Polo.
Q: My gelding is young and fizzy. I school him three times a week and I hack out, but even if I lunge him beforehand he still has too much energy. What simple tweaks can I make diet wise to help calm him down?
1. Make sure you're not overfeeding him
Consistent exercise and training will help to manage your horse’s behavior but, when it comes to diet, you need to make sure you’re not giving him too much by overestimating the amount of work being done.
2. Stick to slow-release energy sources
Sugar and starch provide horses with quick-release energy, while fibre and oil are slow-release energy sources. For fizzy horses, try to keep the amount of starch and sugar to a minimum.
3. Try using feeds with oil
Oil-based products can have as much energy as a competition mix, providing plenty of energy for working horses but with around 10 times less starch. This makes them particularly suitable for those over-exuberant individuals. Research published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that horses fed a fibre and oil-based diet had lower resting heart rates and were less reactive to novel stimuli compared to horses fed the same amount of energy from cereals.
4. Consider a calming supplement
Another simple thing to try would be experimenting with a calming supplement as part of your feeding regime.