Horses and other animals are very similar to humans. They go through a lot of the same things that we experience and in fact, a horse can become stressed in the same way that a human being can. Stress is a natural reaction that occurs when a living thing is anticipating a threat this is mental, physical or a combination of the two. For example, just as bad weather can stress a human being, it can greatly stress a horse as well. Losing a close companion, family member or friend also stresses out human beings and horses alike. The list of similar situations that can stress out both species can go on and on but one thing remains the same: the way stress affects the species.
Stress causes the body to emit natural chemicals, endorphins and steroids that prepare the body and mind for whatever threat is anticipated. It can calm the body down from certain mental and or physical damage and can also prepare the body for a certain action that would need to be taken, like fleeing or fighting. In general, small amounts of stress and a few stressful situations are to be expected in the life of any living thing and can actually do a body good. The resulting healing process from everything released during the stressful period can be refreshing and give the body a lift or an increase in vitality and energy. However, when the stress is unavoidable or constant, it can harm the body. It causes many bad side effects like depression, fatigue, a feeling of hopelessness, a weakening of the immune system and much more. If your horse is constantly stressed for one reason or another, it will become ill much more often and will also seem listless and be fatigued. The best cure for this is to understand the mind and personality of your horse and this can best be done by reading different texts that offer insight on the behavior of wild horses and domestic horses.
For example, it is important to feed your horses at the same time each day. If this doesn't occur, the horse will be in a constant state of stress worrying about when the next meal will come. As mentioned before, this can lead to a harmful list of side effects. One method that has started to grow in popularity is the use of herbs to help eliminate free radicals and reduce stress. This is especially helpful for racing horses that have intense competition schedules and are always traveling which greatly increases stress on a horse. Some herbs that are currently used to eliminate free radicals include Chinese ginseng, astragalus and turmeric. There are also pre mixed concoctions of stress reducing herbs that you can purchase from your veterinarian to give to your horse.
The stress level of your horse can affect performance and quality of life. It is something that should be kept in mind at all points of your horse's career and life.