Magnesium's Role in the Horse's Diet
Did you know many horses’ diets lack adequate levels of magnesium? This can occur for a variety of reasons including age, mares cycling and lactating, types of pasture, diet, mineral imbalance, and physical exertion (exercise and workload).
Magnesium is an important mineral that has been shown to help owners manage horses with behavioural problems (nervousness and excitability), muscle problems and Tying-Up, Cushing’s Disease, laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, and Insulin Resistance.
Often magnesium coupled with B and E vitamins is used by owners of nervous, irritable, hot, spooky and tense horses as a calming supplement. Behaviours mention can also be signs that the horse has a Magnesium deficiency.
Signs of magnesium deficiency include:
• Over-reactive to stimuli, such as sound and movement
• Tying-up (Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolosis)
• Physical tension
• Muscle pain, spasm, cramping, twitches, tremors and flinching
• Loss of appetite
• Irregular or pounding heartbeat
• Teeth grinding
• Difficulty swallowing
• Behavioural problems, including:
• Stress and anxiety, spooking
• Inconsistent behaviour from one ride to the next
• Increased excitability or bucking/ rearing late in the training session (rather than fatiguing or calming down)
If you have a horse that shows signs of a magnesium deficiency, a magnesium based supplement such as Jenquine’s EzyMAG+ or Ranvet’s Settle’em may be helpful. The combination of magnesium and thiamine (B1) has been shown to reduce excitability, reactivity, and heart rate during stressful events and vitamin E helps protect muscles.