Feeding Magnesium

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Magnesium – the new super supplement or fashionable trend?

Magnesium is one of the most vital minerals required within the horse’s daily diet, it is responsible for regulating over 300 different enzymes within the horses body, as only 1% of magnesium is stored in the horses blood, testing for deficiency can be difficult.

Modern grazing methods and compound feeds do not lend themselves to maintaining a magnesium rich diet, therefore horses can easily become deficient in this vital mineral.

The majority of magnesium is stored within the soft tissue and bone, it is required for correct nerve and muscle function, it is responsible for correct relaxation and release of muscle tension, when a horse becomes deficient in magnesium it puts the whole body into a continuous stressed state leading to hyper sensitivity to noise and movement.

Horses with a magnesium deficiency present in many ways some show only a few symptoms, which can easily be misinterpreted into other conditions or simply naughty behaviour.

Common signs of possible magnesium deficiency:

  • Sore or tight through the back, in spite of correctly fitting tack and correct spinal alinement
  • Over reaction to outside influences, spooking, worried, difficulty in handling
  • Tail swishing, tension, resistance to soften, inconsistency in ridden work
  • Unable to relax, stable vices, box walking
  • Body tension
  • Intolerant of long periods of work, becoming more excitable and naughty once warmed up
  • Showing resistance to been groomed, touched or rugged up
  • Behaviour worsening in mares whilst in season
  • Over sensitive to sound or movement

Horses loose magnesium through sweat and urine, many performance horses become deficient during the competition season as they use up available magnesium more rapidly due to stress, travel and competition. These horses are very often more difficult to settle, therefore are worked harder for longer periods in order to settle them, this in actual fact exasperates the situation by reducing magnesium levels even further.

Once a horse becomes deficient in magnesium it is very difficult to increase levels without additional supplementation.

Not all horses respond to the use of magnesium supplementation in their diet, if horses as presenting some of the above signs then a supplement rich in magnesium can be useful to determine whether a deficiency may be the cause, the recommended daily dose is 1mg per 100kg of body weight for a month period, this should be sufficient time for allow magnesium levels to rise. Long term magnesium rich supplements are advisable for competition horses, those who sweat regularly and stress during travel as these situations can reduce magnesium stores.


Methods of supplementation

Daily supplementation  – magnesium is just one of many vital minerals which the horse depends on for correct development and maintenance of a healthy system, ideally diets should be substituted with a complete balanced feed supplement which is also rich in magnesium such as So Calm

Pre competition or in situations of stress supplementation – an additional magnesium supplementation can be given in situations where horses are more likely to use more magnesium than normal such as travelling, training, competition, excessive sweating, this will then help settle and relax before and aid the recovery times after these periods.

There are many forms of magnesium which have different levels of absorption, such as oxide which is highly absorbable and can also act as a buffer in the horse’s stomach for horses prone to ulcers, also available in citrate, ascorbate and sulphate, magnesium sulphate should be avoided because of its laxative effects.

So Calm plus for top up magnesium pre- and post-competition to maintain correct levels of magnesium in the diet

Transdermal supplementation – Transdermal is the application of a product to the skin as a topical dressing, which is then absorbed directly into the blood stream skipping the digestive track, the advantages of this being the speed in which it can work usually within 10 minutes and reapplication is simple and effective, although these are relatively new to the market much research has been carried out into the uses and effectiveness.

So Calm instant is a transdermal magnesium supplement, which is simple to use by either spraying direct to the head behind the ears or spray onto your hand then apply to the forehead or top of neck. This is absorbed through the skin and directly into the blood vessels to the brain making it quickly effective, it can also be reapplied at regular intervals with no side effects, So Calm products contain no ingredients that will contravene FEI rules

For So Calm Products see socalm.co.uk or equibalancer.com