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Calming pheromones in horses, how does that work?

Posted by Manon Bolhuis on

Rustgevende feromonen bij paarden, hoe werkt dat?

Pheromones may sound like a complicated word. If you look up the meaning, you will soon come across the following:

“A pheromone is a signaling molecule that transmits messages between individuals of the same species”

Source: Wikipedia

Pheromones are part of the communication between animals. You cannot actively see or smell pheromones. They are odorless yet they are perceived with the olfactory organ and transmit a signal to the brain. We are happy to explain how that works.

Observing pheromones

Pheromones are thus signaling molecules but do not contain any odor. Nevertheless, your horse takes these substances again with part of its olfactory organ. In addition to the normal olfactory organ, horses have the vomeronasal organ, also called the Jacobson's organ.

Your horse can't breathe through his mouth like you, so everything goes through the nose. If pheromones are detected, your horse pumps them to Jacobson's organ, as it were. Your horse does this by flinging. Then Jacobson's organ perceives the message and passes it on to the brain. There are different messages and therefore different types of pheromones. 

Different types of pheromones

Pheromones are widely used in animal communication. Pheromones can carry different messages, some examples are:

  • Soothing Pheromones
  • Alarming Pheromones
  • Sexual/reproductive pheromones
  • Aggressive Pheromones
  • Territorial pheromones

Depending on the animal species, the pheromones have a certain meaning and are released in certain situations. We know that mammals make use of pheromones, but also insects (bees) and various types of reptiles. And yes, we humans also have pheromones, although we humans use them only to a limited extent.


Pheromones are species specific. This means that a horse cannot perceive the pheromones of a human, dog, cat or cow and not the other way around. So if you want to use a pheromone in a product, you will have to use an exact copy of the signal molecule. Otherwise you will not achieve any effect.

Equine Appeasing Pheromone

A mare releases pheromones up to a few days after the birth of the foal. She does this to create a safe and calming environment around her. This also promotes the bond with her foal. The pheromone she gives off is the Equine Appeasing Pheromone, we also call this the mother pheromone. It has an instinctive calming effect on the foal.

Not only foals benefit from this. Adult horses still recognize these pheromones. It also induces an instinctive, calming response in adult horses as it creates a sense of safety and security. 

PrimeVal StressLess® Pheromones Gel contains a copy of the Equine Appeasing Pheromone. As a result, it helps horses deal with stressful situations without affecting the horse's performance. A very big advantage of this product is that the horse's reassuring pheromone has no doping effect and is not on the list of banned ingredients of the FEI. Therefore also very suitable for use in competitions.

When is the Equine Appeasing Pheromone useful

Reassuring your horse with pheromones can be very useful with a gel that you apply at the base of your horse's nostrils. PrimeVal StressLess® Pheromones Gel contains a copy of the mare's body pheromones and has a calming effect. It is intended for horses of all ages that are exposed to new and stressful situations or activities. It can also be used on nervous or sensitive horses and during situations such as the following examples:

  • Transport: loading and unloading the trailer, truck, train, plane
  • Change of environment: stable, paddock or owner
  • Work situations: breaking the saddle, learning, training, competitions
  • Care: visit to the vet, dentist, farrier or shaving
  • Sound and light: thunderstorms, gunshots, fireworks, motor vehicles, crowds, strobe lights

Pheromones occur on a very large scale within the animal world. You can now take advantage of it by making your horse extra comfortable. PrimeVal StressLess® Pheromones Gel is preferably administered 30 minutes before the stressful situation. 1 sachet of 5ml works for 2-2.5 hours and can then be repeated if desired. The gel is simply applied to the base of the nostrils. We are very curious about your experiences! Share them with us via info@primeval.nl or via our social media. 

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