Horse Anxiety: How to help naturally

Medically reviewed by James Edward, PharmD

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An anxious horse can be a dangerous horse, and with an average size of around five feet tall and weighing 800-1200 pounds, horses can cause some serious damage. What is horse anxiety, how is it treated, and are there natural alternatives to treating an anxious horse? Fortunately, CBD research has been shown to promote a sense of relaxation and may be the answer horse owners seek.

Horse anxiety is similar to human anxiety in that certain things may trigger it. Horses feel pressure from several sources. Regardless of the cause of anxiety, horses are prey animals, which may leave them on edge constantly.

This blog discusses horse anxiety, CBD for horses with anxiety, equine CBD vs. traditional anxiety medication, and where to buy CBD oil for horses with anxiety.


CBD may help with horse anxiety, as it works in conjunction with the ECS (endocannabinoid system).

The ECS has been studied since 1988. Since then, we have learned a ton of information about the broad range of biological functions the ECS assists in managing. We know that all mammals have an ECS, and it most certainly plays a role in several body functions. For instance, the endocannabinoid system regulates the nervous and immune systems, relieves pain and inflammation, modulates metabolism and neurologic function, promotes healthy digestive processes, and supports reproduction.

By boosting the endocannabinoid system, CBD may be able to compensate for your horse's health deficiencies (ECS), including a horse's mental well-being.


Several different things can cause anxiety in Horses. Below is a quick list of some of the potential causes of horse anxiety.

  • Boredom – If your horse is milling about in its stable, it could be boredom, which may bring on anxiety. CBD is known to promote a sense of relaxation, as mentioned above, and a bored horse may benefit from CBD oil for horses.
  • Performance/arena anxiety - Specific competition stimuli, including smells, noises, and sights, can also generate nervousness in horses. Some horses, for example, become afraid when cars drive by, or people walk their dogs nearby. The anxiety could be due to the noise, or they could be trying to avoid the predation intuitively like they would in the wild. Interestingly, the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Rules prohibit cannabidiols (CBD) and their metabolites. The USEF says that CBD is likely to affect a horse's performance due to its reported anti-anxiety effects.
  • Separation anxiety - Horses and ponies build deep social relationships with their "herd mates" because they are herd animals. As a result, being apart from them might cause distress and anxiety. Horses loathe being separated from the herd, even for grooming and saddling, and they may attempt to bolt and return to the herd's safety.

    There are reviews and studies on animals and humans managing anxiety with CBD. One review that analyzed the current safety and efficacy of CBD in anxiety-related disorders found CBD has a promising role as an alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders.
  • Situational anxiety - Situational anxiety is a form of anxiety that occurs in response to a particular situation. This anxiety can be associated with a traumatic experience a horse had previously. The Murray State study shows some promise to the effects of CBD for horses.

    In this study, researchers walked 17 quarter horse geldings around a barn to another person, waiting to surprise the horse by opening an umbrella. The researchers split the group up into control and treatment groups. The treatment group received a 100 mg oral dose of CBD once a day over six weeks. Each horse wore a heart monitor to measure the horse's startle response. The researchers noted that the horses treated with CBD were consistently lower in reactivity than the control group. This study may offer a window into helping horses with situational anxiety through the ECS supported by CBD.


There are a handful of research studies done on CBD and horses. Here is a breakdown of those studies and their results, if available.

  • Murray State University - The goal of this study was to determine the safety of CBD and its effects on reactivity and mobility in horses. The results of this study are discussed in the previous section.
  • Oklahoma State Study - This research aimed to determine the drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of several doses of a CBD product designed specifically for horses. The researchers went on to say that the product at 0.35 mg/kg or 2.0 mg/kg once daily for seven days was well-received.
  • Texas A&M Study - Dr. Kimberly Guay's study examined how the hemp derivative CBD affects stress, inflammation, and stereotypical negative behaviors in horses.
  • Washington State/Johns Hopkins University Report - This report looked for evidence of an association between CBD consumption and pain relief and anxiety relief in horses. The researchers concluded that there is significant evidence of an association of CBD in improving health and pain in horses. Additionally, the animals that did respond to CBD had demonstrated lowered anxiety.


Here is a table of the potential side effects of CBD and traditional medicines for horse anxiety.

Medication/Supplement Loss of Coordination Lower Blood Pressure Irregular Heartbeat Muscle Tremors Increased/Decreased Apetite Diarrhea Sweating Colic Vomiting
xylazine (Rompun) X X X X X
Detomidine X X X X X
Fluphenazine X X X X X
Romifidine (SediVet) X X X X X X
Diazepam (valium) X X X X X X
alprazolam (Xanax) X X X
Reserpine X X X X X


Our CBD oil for horses is available for purchase online in just a few clicks; at Relievet, we always ship for free, and subscribers receive the product on their preferred schedule at a permanent 30% discount.

Our CBD oil for horses is made to the highest standards using only the best ingredients available, making it the best choice for equestrians.