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Valerian Root vs. Tranquilizers

15 August 2011 No Comment

Valerian Root vs. Tranquilizers
We asked horse expert Patti Duffy-Salmon. More about Patti.


My name is Kaire and I’m a riding instructor from Estonia. I wanted to ask you more about that herb called valerian. We have some horses in the stable that is really afraid of examining or filing their teeth when necessary. That is the reason why the vet every time gives them an injection of something that makes them sleepy. He always tells me that he’s very busy and has other stables to visit, but all that injecting doesn’t feel right, I think there’s no need to give a horse a medicine if he’s actually healthy. And horses won’t learn from it also, next time they’ll still be afraid. I know, a lot can be done by basic training, when the horse learns to trust people, but some horses just come and stay for too short period to build enough trust between. And when the vet comes, he’ll be just another stranger to them. Is it possible to use valerian instead? It sounds like a more natural thing. And if it is possible, how it should be given to horses?

Thank you so much,


Well Kaire, this depends on the individual horse. Having their teeth floated is not a nice procedure, and the noise that they hear inside of their heads is probably very scary for them. I have several horses in my barn that you can float without a tranq, but others that HAVE to be tranquilized. It depends on the individual horse. You can try valerian root about 1 hour before the vet arrives and it may just help take the edge off so the horse may not need to be tranquilized, but you must also realize that tranquilizing the horse could also keep him /her from getting hurt DURING the actually floating procedure. That float is actually a pretty sharp file and if the horse jerks its head, the file could easily cut the animals gums. This isn’t very pleasant either. Most horses need to have their teeth checked at least once a year.

Patti Duffy-Salmon

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