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Equine Pheromone Calms Horses in Anxiety Creating Situations
Pheromones are a chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species. In many species it is used to attract a mate, but there are other pheromones.
One lab has developed an ointment containing a pheromone, Equine Appeasing Pheromone (EAP) to help calm horses in order deal with stressful situations. The pheromone is released by a mare’s udder to attract foals to the udder during the nursing period.
The kind of stressful situations that can be helped include stress caused by transportation, loading into a trailer, handling, arrival in new environments and breaking. Also events like fireworks, parades, and care by a veterinarian or blacksmith. The introduction of a new exercise such as teaching a horse to school a Liverpool or jump over or into water, and even trail riding can induce stress…
The pheromone comes as an ointment that is applied to the nostrils of your horse. Then your horse is placed in a quiet stall for 20 min. The effect will last for 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Elegant studies have been published from European centers demonstrating that the use of EAP decreased stress indictors and unwanted behavior when horses were being transported, learning a new skill, when highly reactive horses are clipped, when foals were separated from their mothers for weaning and when horses were subjected to a test known to induce a fear reaction.
As an alternative to using a sedative, EAP appears to be a way to relieve stress and fear in horses when faced with stressful events. It must be noted that there is individual variation in its effectiveness, so for each specific horse it needs to be used on a trial basis.
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