Horse Health

Stopping Stress

April 30, 2009

Quick tips to reduce your horse’s stress at home and at shows.

You can buy this photo of multiple AQHA Racing Champion Dashs Dream.

You can buy this photo of multiple AQHA Racing Champion Dashs Dream at the AQHA Photo Store.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

You are probably already aware of the stress a heavy competitive schedule can have on your horse. But did you know that stress from other activities like training and trailering can affect horses, too?

Whether your horse spends his days hauling for high-point titles or trimming down the grass in your front pasture, he is still vulnerable to stress. When traveling, horses can continue feeling the stress even after stepping off the trailer.

Situations such as increased stall time – especially at an unfamiliar facility – and limited turnout, coupled with training and competing can often lead to Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome. In fact, 90 percent of racing and 63 percent of nonracing competitive horses likely suffer from EGUS.

In both horses and humans, stress can result in physical problems. Your horse’s stress may lead to stomach ulcers. Download AQHA’s Stomach Ulcers in Horses FREE report to learn the signs and symptoms.

EGUS can diminish the hard work spent preparing for an event with poor performance and even a change in attitude, meaning horses simply aren’t at the top of their game.

Even for a seasoned show horse, the competitive environment is a prime place to potentially develop painful stomach ulcers. Interrupted and infrequent meals, little turnout, frequent handling, bright lights, loud speakers, longer workouts and little downtime could cause ulcers to develop before the show is over.

While it may not be possible to turn off speakers or regulate other horses in the barn, EGUS may be prevented with a few simple tips:

  • While at shows, try not to change the normal feeding schedule and allow horses ample rest.
  • Between extra practices, schedule regular downtime to allow horses to relax.

AQHA’s Stomach Ulcers in Horses FREE report tells you what precautions you can take to reduce the risk of ulcers in your horse. Because horses are extremely susceptible to stomach problems, you need this report to win the fight against ulcers.

  • If possible, turn off overhead lights at night.
  • Additionally, turn off any radios left on at the stalls. A recent study found that a radio left on in the barn could be considered a cause of stress for horses.

Simple changes in your horse’s routine can help reduce stress. However, nothing can prevent it entirely.  To help prevent EGUS and help keep horses at the top of their game, ask a veterinarian about a preventative product like ulcergard.

Top 10 Things About QuarterFest

#1: The opportunity to celebrate the horse with other owners, riders and enthusiasts from across the world!

QuarterFest begins in Murfreesboro, Tennesee tomorrow, May 1. We hope you’ll celebrate with us and your fellow horse lovers at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum. Follow @aqha on Twitter for live updates throughout the event.