Potassium bromide

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by Anna_Smiler, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Anna_Smiler

    Anna_Smiler Well-known Member


    i was just wondering what people's thoughts were on potassium bromide and using it as a calmer for hot horses, or when taking horses to a show if it is very effective. If used a number of times can it have any side effects or can horses become immune to it?

    otherwise does anyone no of any other effective calmers that can be used for horses that tend to "flip" out a bit at new places? i no this topic has been posted many time before, but i just wanted to hear people views, oppinions and actual dirst hand experience stories about using potassium bromide.

  2. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    Depends, you could look into B vitamins but that will only work if the horse has a deficiency, which doesn't seem to be all that common.
    If the horse is calm to handle but very hot to ride, or calm at home but a lunatic to take out, then you're not likely to have as much success with calmers, more training and experience is probably the key.
    Is the problem spookiness, too much energy, fear/anxiety? Is the horse taken out alone or with another horse?
  3. Playin With Fire

    Playin With Fire Well-known Member

    I have used it before but only on a horse that was hot excited, not hot scared. And I only used it for a short period of time.
    We had a few of the stud horses on it and some worked really well on it, others it really had no effect and a number of them became quite clumsy on their feet.
  4. TBPA

    TBPA Well-known Member

    My Mum was experimenting with KBr with the yearlings a couple of years ago (they can get hotted up when in sale prep) but I don't think she saw results that were that great for the cost. Perhaps it was not appropriate for them as they get hotted up through being teenage and full of hot feed not nervousness. I found it really funny at the time as was using truckloads of it for Uni and the markup had to be huge considering what she was paying.
    I have heard of Vit B working but as TB4Me said it only works if they have a deficiency.
    Some people swear by rescue remedy but having put some of that on my own tounge I don't think it does jack.
  5. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    I used to feed my mare potassium bromide to settle her down when we were out and about especially if she was in season.
    I'd increase the dose over a period of a few days as a show drew nearer but I've found as time goes on and her level of education has increased, she no longer needs it.
    Apparently potassium bromide was given to a lot of the soldiers in the wars (mainly american soldiers i believe) to decrease their sexual urges.
    I guess that why is tend to works on mares with far too many hormones and stallions.
    Wether it would make a difference to a gelding ?????
    Plenty of people told me that Potassium Bromide can cause damage to kidneys and liver but I spoke to 2 well respected equine vets before I began using it and they both told me that is was perfectly ok if fed at the recommended dosage rates.
    Of course, not every horse will require the maximum dose. :)
  6. madcow

    madcow Guest

    ZaZa- I heard the same thing regarding the soliders LOL.

    I've just finished reading a very old book (Through Six Reigns- Horace Smith?) by the guy that taught the queen to ride. Apparently KBr was very commonly used even back in the olden days (1890's-1920's period) to take the edge off hot horses.(It also had how cocain was used to mask unsound horses!LOL) Twas facinating!:D

    Apparently was also used as an anticonvulsant in the old days as well for epileptics etc so pretty powerfull little salt!


    I have heard mixed results. Some people say it works well as a calmer and others say it dosn't do much.

    I tried one horse on it once and it just made him dead and unresponsive and he still played up. Just made him very heavy in the hand and thus harder to correct. I havn't come across any calmers that actually do very much at all.

    Good luck

    *sits and waits for the usual arguments to erupt*
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2008
  7. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    Actually it was given to soldiers a century ago for shell shock....it worked well as it either put them into a stuper and/or killed them.

    I rate the administration of potassium bromide to a horse as eithically bad as administering sedatives to kids on school holidays to shut them up and as dangerous as allowing drunk drivers behind the wheels to drive kids around ....it absolutely whacks a horses CNS for a 6 and turns it right down not to mention the physiological effect of bromide displacing chloride in the body and the load that puts on the kidneys.

    If a horse is "hot" then learn to work with it. There are lots of people on here that I know have "hot" horses and they have learnt to cope with them by managing feed, exercise and have improved their own skills to handle them and being patient with their horse as it learns to accept the environment away from home.
  8. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    I found a similar thing actually.
    By the time you build up to a high enough dosage to tone the horse down, you'll find they're are also heavier in the hand so in gaining one thing, you lose another.
  9. montygirl

    montygirl Well-known Member

    I completely and utterly agree... well said RR!!!:)
  10. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    Dont use it please! Appropriate corrective training is far better and healthier.:D:))
  11. Horsetalk

    Horsetalk Well-known Member

    Same here, nothing beats proper training. :D**)
  12. Serenity

    Serenity Well-known Member

    I totally agree with Caroline.
  13. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    It is true that some horses just cant be "trained out" of being a bit hard to handle/hot/spooky etc etc when out....I have one tucked up in bed in the stables! But there really are "better" (ie safer, more ethical and more effective) methods to learning how to handle them without opting for turning them into thirty, continuously urinating zombies....and if worse comes to worse you can always opt for horse is easier for you to handle!
  14. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    Yep, definately.
    But if the use of Potassium Bromide in the days before an event helps to calm the horse and buoy up the riders confidence that he/she can go out and have a mostly uneventful outing whilst that training is being furthered, then I doubt it's that harmful.
    It's not about having a horse in a constant, zombie like state, it's about taking the edge off at selected times only.
    If it's something you wish to try and you have concerns, speak to your vet.
    After all, they are trained professionals.
  15. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    An that my friend is called "cheating". Dealing with that "edge" is part of the deal.
  16. Anna_Smiler

    Anna_Smiler Well-known Member

    thanks for everyone's advice, words and opinions. I dont use the stuff, just curious about it and wanted to gather some info on it. But keep it all coming.

    But i do agree with the people that say its kinda a "mental thing" and just giving your horse something (not necissarily pottasium bromide) but just something to take the edge off (even if it doesnt work) but so the rider "thinks" it works at calming nerves just to help their own confidence when their out and about.
  17. simbin

    simbin Gold Member

    Extremely damaging to kidneys and liver ask any vet. I looked into it years ago when I was struggling with a horse I had. Eventually he got over it with lots of desensitising and firm riding.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  18. Anna_Smiler

    Anna_Smiler Well-known Member

    so im hearing mixed messages about the actual health effects that it can have on horses?

    can anyone clarify for me?

    thanks :)
  19. simbin

    simbin Gold Member

    Equine vets have told me and those vets that care have told me it is extremely damaging to liver and kidneys. its a drug for crying out loud once used for epileptics to stun that part of the brain that isnt sending the right signals. It is not fixing the problem but dulling it. I know I was an epileptic. Its also given to cats and dogs that are epileptic. Is your horse epileptic?

    I wouldnt use it for the same reason I dont use other drugs unless absolutely necessary so why give your horse a drug on purpose every day of its life.

    Not having a go just giving you the facts.
  20. Anna_Smiler

    Anna_Smiler Well-known Member

    hahaha no worries. and no my horse is not an epeleptic. i was simply asking for info on potassium bromide. and my horse doesnt need to be on it at all. like i said - im only asking for interest/research purposes.

    but then iv heard of studs using it to calm down some stallions. and i havent heard of it having negative health effects on their stallions. So its just interesting to hear that if it is really bad for a horses health, why would horse studs risk giving it to their stallions?


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