View Full Version : Supplements/diet suggestions for a lazy horse?

Jan. 16, 2010, 08:21 PM
Has anyone used energy supplements for a lazy horse that worked? He needs to respect my leg more, which I know will not be fixed by a supplement or dietary change, but he also generally needs more energy.

Jan. 16, 2010, 10:41 PM
If your horse is indeed lazy and disrespecting your leg - he has to be TAUGHT to do it. You do not want to amp him up and make him high so you can get him forward. That might give you an occasional ride where you do not have to work so hard but honestly, that is nothing to build on. I suggest you have a good trainer get on him and ride him for 45 minutes and really ask the horse to send off and see what you can learn from watching and learning from that trainer.

And a lot of horses in thsi case do well to learn lateral movements. I find a lot of horses that come to me for training that are dull to the leg - when I start teaching lateral movements, I can get them in front of the leg a lot easier very soon. Then the next step is consistency. When my horses are in the walk in the arena, they MARCH. They can saunter on the trail. I see a lot of my riders warm their horses up and let them drag along in the walk and it makes me crazy - you have to make the horse march in the walk or its not a warm up.

Something else to think about - is he fit todo the work? Does he have a good attitude about his work? Is he having fun? Has he gotten bored - tired or - maybe you need to do something new and interesting to get him involved enthusiastically?

OR if it is not an attitude and he's not really lazy but rather lethargic - you should talk to your vet about possible ideas on a lack of energy. If indeed it is a lack of energy - he could have a variety of problems.

But if he is just lazy... I would not give him sugar - I would give him one of those cometoJesus riding sessions either with you or a trainer you can watch do it - saying - GET OFF MY LEG NOW!

Not So Practical Horse(WO)man
Jan. 16, 2010, 10:46 PM
I agree with Lara.

I ride all horses in spurs. But with the really lazy ones, so I'm not continually spurring them and "deadening" them to it, I carry a dressage whip.

Jun. 23, 2012, 01:41 PM
I have the same issue. 18 yrs old WB mare, very healthy, confirmed "just lazy" by vets and trainers. MAJOR whip and spur action to get her to trot at the start of a ride, and after walk breaks, then she is goes great. Not a "warm up" issue, have tried pre-warm up from ground. It's like she loves to be smacked around, but I HATE it. She is ridden fairly lightly 4 days a week with 1 of those a lazy trail ride. I just keep thinking her and I should share a espresso before a ride and she would be fine! Can't grain her too much or she gets fat. My gelding is the total opposite, so forward! Ideas that don't involve training?

Jun. 23, 2012, 01:59 PM
More info: she gets excellent quality grass hay and 1/2 lb crimped oats, Glazen Lite and salt. She has pretty much always been this way and I've had her for 12 yrs, but is getting slowly worse. I've tried SmarkPak SmartEnergy and that did nothing. I ride her dressage -2nd level.

Jun. 23, 2012, 02:58 PM
My gelding is very similar. I'm very consistant with making him move off my leg immediatley and making him work the entire time he's in the ring, no walking around, dragging his feet until he cools off taking a walk around the farm. Even with consistancy and spurs and a crop being used properly, he still needed just a touch more to wake him up a bit. I have him on 2 oz. LinPro during the summer months and it gives him just what he needs. Makes him just alert enough that he's willing to be more forward.

Jun. 23, 2012, 10:32 PM
For a slightly older horse, I would wonder if being slow in e beginning is stiffness from arthritis. Once she is made to work through it she can move smoothly and through her back and forward. I had one gelding that was like that, and adding a good joint supplement did wonders on speeding up his warmup time. I would also recommend a Chiro visit if possible.

Jun. 24, 2012, 11:14 AM
Try Redcell... It works on our lazy pony.:winkgrin:

Jun. 24, 2012, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the ideas. She is on Pentosan and joint supplements as preventative (+ multi vitamin/mineral), but doesn't appear to have stiffness or soreness anywhere except between the ears :) If not ridden for a few days she will run and buck like a filly in her paddock if the spirt moves her. I might try some sweet mix if I can feed just a little and have it help.

Jun. 24, 2012, 04:49 PM
If you've got access to a vet with experience in traditional Chinese medicine, ask about Equine Du Huo blend. My Welsh-Arab cross grew pathologically slow and lazy, and nothing -- rest, joint injections, bloodwork, a course of antibiotics to cover tick-borne illness -- helped or turned up a cause for the lethargy. I had all but stopped riding him because it was such a miserable experience for both of us when my vet (a DVM who also practices acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and TCM) suggested the supplement. Two days later, my pony was a different animal, happy and enjoying his work once more. He stayed on the supplement for the rest of his life, and now my Thoroughbred -- who has no need of anything to perk him up but does have some soreness issues thanks to his conformation, time on the track, and old injuries -- has been started on it, with great results. I was a skeptic going in, but the results were too dramatic to dismiss.

Jun. 24, 2012, 07:39 PM
I agree with the above posters with making the horse really get to work when riding in the ring. Making them move off your leg NOW, using stick/spurs when needed. I've had a few naturally very lazy hunters come through the barn, and what I found to work the best was a program designed to improve their overall fitness level. This included trot sets out in a big field followed by a long canter with some galloping at least twice a week. I usually finished with a nice trail ride back to the barn. Once the horse's fitness level increased, so did their energy while working in the ring.

I haven't had great success in the past with any feed-through supplements or grain changes to increase energy.

Jun. 25, 2012, 12:56 PM
I agree and do use the *Jane Savoie* method to try to get her to be light off the leg. The problem is it requires MAJOR whip and spurs to get a reaction. All I need with my gelding is a light squeeze, and I am the only one who has ever ridden him. What I have been trying is after warm up, doing canter lengthenings and flying changes to wake her up. This helps, but we still have to have this big whip and spur thing before hand.

I don't have any gallop safe fields on my property (too many rocks) but we do weekly trail rides.

Lord Helpus
Jun. 25, 2012, 03:03 PM
I used an energy supplement from Smart Pak. I wasn't sure if it was doing anything until the weather got cold and I forgot to change his Smart Pak. Wow. When my trainer noticed how much higher he was than the prior year, a light bulb went off and I immediately stopped the extra energy.

He calmed back down to his normal happy self.

Sorry, I forget which supplement it was. It was not Red Cell because I have some in my feed room for a boarder, and I know I did not use it.

Jun. 25, 2012, 03:38 PM
i would say that your horse does no understand what you want, nor does he have the stamina to do what you want.

what might work for you is to have him follow a more forward horse but keep the session s short because he does not have the fitness required.

once he is more forward following, try going on your own...

Aug. 31, 2014, 11:00 AM
What worked for me: Many small changes = big improvement! Switched to Daily Omegas Plus which definitely wakes her up. An occasional refresher on the long line helps to remind her who is alpha. Rowel type spurs, for when she gets stuck. Stopped using a whip, just pisses her off. Work no more than 2 days in a row. Even longer warm up: walk alternating long rein and medium, with lateral movements and creative stretching patterns, then stretching at canter. Way happier horse and rider! Thanks for your ideas!

Aug. 31, 2014, 11:17 AM
Not all horses are created equal. Some come with a more natural tendency to go off the leg and/or have their own motors. Some don't and need some amount of "GO FORWARD" reestablished every single ride. I used to ride one horse that he would not be in front of my leg until I kicked and tapped enough to get him to kick out, as if to say "FINE ALREADY! I'll GO FORWARD." Once he kicked out, he stayed happily in front of my leg the rest of the ride. Until then, it was "kicktapkicktapkicktapkickkicktaptapswatkicktaptapt ap".

Sometimes you just have to knuckle down and get tough. Sometimes you have to do it every ride.

Sep. 2, 2014, 09:03 PM
My gelding is 19 years old and started to get a little lazier than he had been. I added a scoop a day of Senior to his diet and it made a big difference in his energy level. He has positive forward energy, not "high" energy. He is big calm WB and a hard keeper so I give him the version with Molasses. If your horse is the TB type I would give her the "dry" variety..

Sep. 3, 2014, 12:59 PM
could potentially be something lacking in the diet. I've used Redcell before as well, but it is not something I would use long term unless the horse was confirmed to have an iron deficiency.

Like others have said, some horses just really lack a motor/motivation to move out. Just like some people! ;) I've found the marching into the arena, and the ask-tell method with my leg/whip that was detailed above to work pretty well. You do have to be consistent though, i.e. do not nag.

Also, one horse I used to ride who tended to do better when we cantered first, versus doing w-t-c. I would walk him around for 10-15 minutes, lots of bending and lateral work, and then canter a couple laps. Coming back to the trot after that he was always more lively. I think it was partially due to being stiff and a nice rolling canter for a few minutes tended to liven him up.

Sep. 3, 2014, 02:52 PM
Also, one horse I used to ride who tended to do better when we cantered first, versus doing w-t-c. I would walk him around for 10-15 minutes, lots of bending and lateral work, and then canter a couple laps. Coming back to the trot after that he was always more lively. I think it was partially due to being stiff and a nice rolling canter for a few minutes tended to liven him up.

Interesting you mention this, I have learned to do the same with my horse. A few canter circles gives me an entirely different horse to work with.

To the OP, I had a DraftX that was very lazy. After ruling out deficiencies/problems with my vet, the prescription was more leg and more fitness. I still think I ended up being fitter than the horse with the amount of leg I had to use for months on end!

La Gringa
Sep. 3, 2014, 04:36 PM
With my extremely lazy gelding it worked to carry a crop.. and just show it to him when he started his lazy not moving off my leg bit. It worked better than hitting him or spurring him. Once he started moving forward I praised him tons..

He was 1500 pounds of lazy Selle Francais. Some people that rode him when I was on vacation asked me how I ever got him cantering. LOL I said..did you show him your crop? They said Crop oh didn't carry one. LOL

Be careful with adding too many supplements... you can get an undesirable result.. in not just energy but naughtiness too. Lazy horses are often smart horses.. and sometimes when they get fired up.. well with my gelding meant kicking up his back end.. like Galoubet.. of course he was related to that line. LOL

Summit Springs Farm
Sep. 4, 2014, 12:49 PM
have the vet check his iron, if he is low then he will mostly have you put him on redcell

Sep. 4, 2014, 03:50 PM
My barn has a couple horses on red cell for this sort of thing, it seems to help them.

Sep. 4, 2014, 04:21 PM
"Lazy" can be EPSM/PPSM (http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/PSSM/home.html). Might be worth the $65 for a genetic hair test (http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/Advances_in_PSSM/home.html), especially if the horse is a draft cross.

Having dealt with versions of this (everyone else thought it was just being stubborn/training issues... despite being in training with a pro), I can tell you that ALCAR (http://www.balancedequine.com.au/nutrition/epsm.html) and a diet change has made a huge difference. I have a different horse now. :)

Sep. 5, 2014, 08:28 AM
Have your vet check your horse's thyroid function. If it's low no supplement except for Thyrol-L will help.

I wouldn't use Redcell or the like until I had the thyroid checked and the blood checked. Most horses get plenty of iron in their diets but cannot utilize it because of a copper deficiency. When you add copper to the diet the iron count rises dramatically--that's why Redcell and the ilk appear to work.

Too much iron is not good tor a horse and can cause a whole other host of problems. If you use an iron supplement only use it for two or three weeks, or you're headed for trouble.

red mares
Sep. 7, 2014, 12:24 PM
A scoop of powdered caffeine in their feed does wonders. :) Give it an hour or so before they work, so you catch them coming down - makes them less fighty.

It can also be mixed with something like Wind-eaze, if you decrease it gradually, eventually you get the same reaction without the caffeine (and it doesn't test).