Hot, Nervous, Fizzy, Excitable Temperament

Feeds for Hot, Nervous, Fizzy, Excitable Temperament in horses

What is hot, nervous, fizzy, excitable, temperament in horses

Horses that are stressed, excitable or nervous can be difficult and even dangerous to ride and handle. What causes a horse to be "fizzy" or hot'? Is a "cool" diet the answer for excitable equines? One of the major causes of excitable, hot behaviour is overfeeding with high energy, highly digestible "hot" feeds, or more particularly, high NSC feeds. Feeding "cool" (low NSC) feeds has been shown to be effective in calming nervous horses.

How do I know my horse has hot, nervous, fizzy, excitable, temperament

  • Poor behaviour on ground or when riding
  • Lack of attentiveness, easily distracted
  • Regularly shying or spooking
  • Rushing or racing movements

What causes hot, nervous, fizzy, excitable, temperament in horses

Various factors can contribute to excitability in horses. Diets high in sugar and starch (NSC) - found in some pastures, feeds and cereal grains are the major cause of hot, excitable horses. Overfeeding and under work are some of the main causes of hot behaviour.

Housing conditions and level of exercise also affects temperament and behaviour of horses. When confined to stables, yards and paddocks, exercise and mental stimulation are limited; horses become bored, sometimes causing vices, excitable and even aggressive behaviour. Exposure to stressful situations and inappropriate training techniques can further exacerbate the problem.

Numerous supplements are available that claim to have calmative actions. Some contain the amino acid Tryptophan. Other supplements contain B vitamin complexes, tyrosine and magnesium

How diet helps hot, nervous, fizzy, excitable, temperament in horses

Better dietary design is a practical way of managing equine excitability. Feed to the exercise level of the horse, and don't overfeed. Due to the association between high grain (high NSC) diets and hot behaviour, feeding low grain diets is one of the secrets to success. If the diet simply contains too much NSC energy , it should be modified so that horses' energy needs are met but not exceeded. Be really honest with yourself about this, and only feed for the level of work the horse is actually doing, and not for the workload you aspire to. Diets should be formulated to contain less than 20% NSC, and grain should be replaced with stabilised oil. Remember the treats...they also contain high levels of energy!