Every year, Lucy loads her three eventing horses in a trailer, leaving the cold Wisconsin winters for the balmy climate of Aiken, South Carolina. Then, in the spring, she returns to Wisconsin. She has two OTTBs and one 19-year old thoroughbred. As any horseperson knows, long-haul travel is stressful for horses and their owners. Lucy explained that she used to give her horses Ulcer Guard. She worried about the horses not eating or drinking enough during the 1250-mile
journey. The horses would lose weight on the trip, and they seemed stressed by getting on the trailer. “I didn’t feel good about giving them Ulcer Guard,” she explained.
Lucy was familiar with CBD oil. She had been using it on herself for back pain, prior to surgery, and then she used it post-surgery to help with healing. When CannaHorse came along and said they had a CBD product designed for horses, she decided to give it a try. There is no evidence of serious side effects associated with it, so she figured it could not hurt. At worst, it would do nothing.
The first time she gave it to her horses was right before a trip to SC. “I was loading the horses on a cold November morning at 5am in the dark,” she recounted. “They walked right on the trailer – no fuss.” During the cross-country journey, the horses seemed chilled, happily eating and drinking. Lucy was impressed. She continued to give the horses Equilibrium for their long-haul trips, and the horses always travelled noticeably better than they used to. She said, “On
the trailer, they relax, eat hay, I don’t have to worry about water.”
CBD oil in and of itself doesn’t prevent ulcers. However, Lucy thinks that it helps mitigate stress. It’s well established that chronic stress can cause ulcers in horses, so any method of decreasing stress may also decrease the likelihood of a horse developing them. Lucy feels that giving Equilibirum to her thoroughbreds has made hauling a much more positive, stress-free experience. For her and for the horses.
She wondered if it might have other applications. One of her horses, she explained, is quite herdbound and would get upset if the other two went out for a ride or off to a show. She started giving that horse Equilibrium 40 minutes before his herdmates left. The horse seemed calmer, much more able to cope without his friends.
Then her 19-year old gelding needed a tooth extraction. She gave him Equilibrium afterwards. There are some studies suggesting that CBD oil has a positive effect on healing outcomes. Her horse healed well from the surgery, which he might have done anyway, but notably, Lucy observed that he was quieter and more content during box rest.
Other people she knew tried Equilibrium in situations where they might otherwise use a calmer like Ace (acepromazine), or just deal with stressed or boisterous behavior. In one example she gave, a college student got on a horse who had not been ridden for a while. The horse didn’t react explosively or exuberantly. She said she has another friend who owns a flighty dressage horse. The friend had fallen off a few times and was losing confidence. She tried Equilibrium and felt that the horse was easier and safer to ride. That helped the owner regain some
confidence, which of course helped the horse become less reactive.
Unlike Ace, it doesn’t make a horse sleepy or zoned out and therefore more likely to trip. Lucy believes, “It makes them more like themselves.” Just a relaxed version of themselves. However, like Ace, it is on the FEI and USEF’s Controlled Medication List, so you can’t use it at a show, or for travelling to one.
Lucy said, “It’s useful as a training aid. If the horse is calm, the rider is calm. Then training happens.”