Product Review: ConfidenceEQ Pheromone Gel

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ConfidenceEQ is easy to use. Photo by Jenni Autry. ConfidenceEQ is easy to use. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We’ve all dealt with a nervous horse. Whether it’s trailering to a new environment, warming up in a busy ring or — like my OTTB mare — standing for the farrier, sometimes horses will just come undone. If you’re like me and have owned Thoroughbreds for a long time, you’ve likely tried every trick in the book, from calming pastes to natural remedies.

I’ve had varied degrees of success with those types of options, and now there’s a whole new product on the market for people like me to keep in their back pockets. It’s called ConfidenceEQ, an equine appeasing pheromone gel made by CEVA that you can apply to your horse’s nostrils prior to a stressful situation.

How ConfidenceEQ works

The gel mimics the equine appeasing pheromone that mares produce to give reassurance to their foals while nursing. Just like mom signals to her baby that the environment is a safe one, the gel helps adult horses to feel that same security and confidence. The gel lasts for 2 to 2 1/2 hours and can be reapplied after that time is up. This video demonstrates the application process:

I know what you’re probably thinking right now: This sounds great, but is it FEI legal? Yes, ConfidenceEQ is legal to be used at FEI and USEF events. Because ConfidenceEQ is not a systemic pharmaceutical drug or tranquilizer and is not a performance enhancing product, it does not appear on the FEI’s list of banned, prohibited or controlled substances.

Sound too good to be true? As an owner who’s tried a lot of calming alternatives on my nervous Thoroughbreds, I was definitely intrigued to try it, so our awesome sponsor CEVA sent me three samples of ConfidenceEQ to test out. Here’s a detailed breakdown of my experience using those three samples in three different scenarios with Mia, my 10-year-old OTTB mare.

1. Alone in the barn

Being a nervous girl, Mia does not like to be in the barn all by herself while I’m grooming her and tacking her up to ride. She’ll dance around and paw and just generally be a bit of a drama queen. If another horse is in the barn with her, she’s content to stand quietly. But if she’s alone, not so much.

This was my first time trying ConfidenceEQ. The instructions tell you to apply the gel to the horse’s nostrils at least 30 minutes prior to the stressful situation. I applied the gel, which rubs in easily and isn’t sticky or greasy, which I was happy to find, and waited 30 minutes.

Mia didn’t stand still after those 30 minutes, but I definitely noticed a difference. She seemed more relaxed and wasn’t dancing as much as she usually does. By the time I got to tacking her up, she was standing quietly, which was about 45 minutes after I applied the gel. So in my first trial, the gel definitely seemed to kick in better past the 30-minute mark.

2. Standing for the farrier

Mia is a diva princess who does not understand why she has to stand still for a full 1 1/2 hours every six weeks for the farrier. Her right hind heel was clipped in a race on the track years ago, which permanently deformed the outside bulb and surrounding area of her hoof. She’s perfectly sound on it, but she needs hind shoes on at all times to stabilize the area.

That means I can’t pull her shoes in winter, so we get to suffer through long vet appointments in the frigid Pennsylvania winters when she’s cranky and cold and stiff from not being in her usual work due to the icy ground. Needless to say, she has been known to throw mini meltdowns during farrier appointments.

I decided to give the ConfidenceEQ a try in this scenario too. I applied it 30 minutes prior to the appointment, and while she was a bit fussy in the beginning, she once again settled beautifully right at about the 45-minute mark. My farrier noticed right away how much calmer and content she was to stand quietly. Needless to say, it was the most well behaved she’d been for a farrier appointment all winter.

3. On the trails

Just like Mia hates being in the barn by herself without a friend, she is not fond of hacking out alone. She won’t refuse to go or anything like that, but especially right when we’re setting out, she’ll stop and look back at me, as if to say, “Do we have to?” Life is so hard when you’re a diva princess.

So a trail ride seemed like the perfect third and final trial for the ConfidenceEQ. Since she had seemed to respond so well to the gel at the 45-minute mark after application, I followed that timeline before setting out on her hack. Low and behold, she marched right out of the barn confidently and even took a deep breath as we were starting out.

She was definitely still very much alert of what was going on around her — she is a sassy Thoroughbred mare, after all — but the ConfidenceEQ took the edge off just enough for her to be able to use her brain and keep her whits about her. It was one of the nicest trail rides I’ve had with her in recent memory.

Try ConfidenceEQ

After trying ConfidenceEQ with success, I can definitely say I’m a believer in the product and plan to keep it on hand for stressful situations. It’s not magic, and if your horse has serious phobias or behavioral issues, it’s probably not going to be a cure for that. But it will absolutely help your horse cope with stress. And since it’s USEF and FEI legal, it can safely be used at shows.

The other great thing about ConfidenceEQ is it’s affordable. A box of 10 packets is available for $59.99 from a variety of retailers. You can search on ConfidenceEQ’s website to find the best place to buy the product near you. If you’ve used ConfidenceEQ, let us know about your own experience in the comments below. Click here to visit ConfidenceEQ’s website.

Happy Riding!

Photo courtesy of CEVA