As spring made an appearance this year so did hormones which made the normally very agreeable Bea rather less agreeable at times. She wasn’t a true nightmare but there was an unpredictable edge to her behaviour which any person with exposure to a teenage girl would recognise and which if possible I wanted to eradicate to make both our lives easier.
On the suggestion of a friend I spoke to our supporters Equimins who make a product called ‘Nightmare‘ which is a pure herbal liquid compound designed to help maintain a balanced hormonal system in horses. It is made with Chaste Tree Berry (Monks Pepper), Dandelion, Raspberry, Chamomile and Skullcap. Chaste Tree Berry is apparently one of the if not the most powerful product to help with a mare’s monthly cycle so I was keen to see what effect it would make. I had previously for Fleur tried other competitor moody mare products but hadn’t seen a clear behavioural difference but was hopeful the herbal formulation of Nightmare would be different. I chose the liquid option over the powder for easy feeding and as a 1L bottle lasts about 2 months at maintenance levels so works out at only £10 a month. The powder form works out at approximately £15 a month.
I am always wary, and I know others are as well of supplements that claim to ‘calm’, I wasn’t after a calmer I was after a hormone balancer so that Bea could continue to make rational decisions! The product is labelled as ‘calming’ but all the ingredients are picked for their hormone balancing qualities rather than calming effect. I also checked that none of the ingredients are listed as prohibited substances by the FEI and therefore Nightmare is safe and legal to feed to competition horses.
So to the important bit, what happened to Bea when she was put on the recommended dose? A change in behaviour was not instant but then I didn’t expect it to be but it did become clearly noticeable about 2 weeks in, when both myself and her owner noted she was becoming more amenable both ridden and handled. There were no drastic changes and in my opinion no calming effect, she was still the same sensitive horse to be ridden which makes her such a good learner and athlete, but the argumentative streak disappeared which meant time was spent learning not discussing over whether she wanted to learn! With regard to handling her, she had been getting a bit big for boots and verging on rude but this streak also vanished and she returned to her normal polite and rather soppy self.
In order to check it wasn’t just a placebo effect with us both imagining a behaviour change, her owner without telling me dropped down the dose to a very low level to test the effectiveness of Nightmare properly. At this point her behaviour quickly reverted to that of a hormonal argumentative teenager and me questioning what had gotten into her. Thankfully for me her owner came clean, the dosage was put back up and within days the polite version of Bea returned. There was no denying the positive effect Nightmare was having on her behaviour, the teenager was swapped back to a rational adult.
I think my lasting testimonial for Nightmare is that I have reordered and Bea is now on it permanently. I have also recommended it to several friends with one commenting only yesterday what a difference it has made to her mare now she has been on it for approximately 3 weeks.
Like any product it may not work for every mare but anyone experiencing hormonal issues I would strongly advise you to give Nightmare a try as it may well prove to be the solution you have been looking for.