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When it comes to horses they like people have all different characters and personalities. My one horse happens to be a mare (female!) and she can be incredibly stroppy and temperamental. In a bid to calm her quite cantankerous nature I decided to try and find a supplement which would tone her attitude down a bit. Fortunately she is only like this when she is in season but it's still not pleasant!
I ended up in my local feed merchants after browsing around and came across a supplement made by Dodson & Horrell called 'Stroppy Mare' which is quite appropriately named! Now a lot of horse owners known that mares can be temperamental so my mare was not uncommon and supplements designed to calm down a mare are used widely in the horsey community. I decided to try it to see whether it had any effect on her whatsoever!
All Dodson & Horrell supplements come in oval shaped plain white tubs each with their own coloured label, slim plastic handle and a snap on lid which is secured tight. 'Stroppy Mare' is no different and is packaged the same way but just with a pale blue label with the product name directly in the middle. Usage instructions are on the back as well as the ingredients list.
Dodson & Horrell market this supplement as "a blend of soothing herbs which help to nutritionally support mares with hormonal related behavioural problems." Generally with a mare behavioural changes happen when they are in season and the symptoms can range vastly whether just generally grumpy to the point of being unable to be ridden.
On opening my supplement tub I was immediately struck with the smell of herbs which was really nice but none were particularly distinctive so I couldn't pick out each herb individually but the aroma of the herbs put altogether was nice but potent! The smell is certainly strong and sometimes horses can be fussy when it comes to strong smells in their feed which was a concern as no doubt I'd have to increase my mare's daily feed amount to help mask the smell!
The herbs to look at are obviously incredibly dry so instead of being that fresh green colour they are more of a khaki hue and they have been finely chopped within an inch of their lives! But this is definitely a good thing as being so finely chopped means that they can blend within the feed well and not be noticed (my mare can be a little funny with her feed).
They say it takes around 6 months for supplements to properly work within a horse's body and I knew I was in for the long haul with this supplement to see whether it works. I started this over 8 months ago and I gradually upped the amount to the recommended amount over a few days as it is not best to give the recommended amount straight away as it can upset the horse's digestive system.
My mare fortunately has eaten the supplement without any real problems. However, the first few days she was slightly suspicious of her dinner and I'm putting this mainly down to the scent but after a week (and me upping her feed slightly) she ate with no problems whatsoever. I do think the amount for a horse (2 full scoops) is actually quite high.
Over the next 8 months and after giving the supplement a real chance I have come to the conclusion that although it may work for some mares. It doesn't work for my mare at all. Fortunately, she is only grumpy so its not as if I cant ride her or anything but she needed something to calm down slightly but this supplement hasn't changed her in the slightest at any time of the year which was a shame but it was worth a go as it isn't particularly expensive.
Would I recommend it? Well, it would be worth trying as it may just work for another mare but I'd advise not to expect miracles. It won't break your bank but I do think I wasted money on trying it. The smell is something that although I like, it is quite potent and I think that this could put off horses and ponies but other than that it is a harmless herbal supplement and won't do the mare any harm. It just didn't work for mine.
I'd give it 3 stars. Purely because of the smell and that it didn't work.
~ Useful Info ~
Ingredients: Poppy Petals, Raspberry Leaves, Chamomile, Vervain, St John's Wort and Chaste Tree Berries.
Brand: Dodson & Horrell
Price: Around £9-£10 for a 1kg tub.