Testing out magnesium in the feed pan.
On the quest to make an impeccable horse citizen… I read that long-term Omeprazole can lead to magnesium deficiency. With the combo of her being on just a field diet before her short stint at the sales trainer barn, I figured it could be worth a 30 day trial. She is NOT on long-term Omeprazole medication, but gradually cutting the dose down over 4 weeks in addition to her full course before that, still makes for close to two months worth on the acid reducer.
What’s the hype with magnesium?
You can read all sorts of articles about it – most of the time a normal forage diet will cover some 60 – 100 % of the daily horse magnesium needs. Doling out extra will do nothing. In some cases though, it can make all the difference.
Variations of the same message is usually found on magnesium supplement bottles:
“Magnesium plays an important part in nerve and muscle function, and horses deficient in this important element can show signs of nervousness, wariness, excitability, and muscle tremors.”
We’re not having tremors or extreme wariness. OK, other than for the farrier process. Much could be improved on still. Also, the spring grass is still coming up strong.
Spring grass is low in magnesium, sodium, and soluble carbohydrates, and often high in nitrogen and potassium. This can make it even more difficult for the horse to get the needed magnesium.
With the risk of laminitis during strong spring grass growth, it also made all the more sense to try magnesium, as the risk for laminitis supposedly can be lessened with it.
In searching for an easy read on HOW magnesium works, I found this:
“Calcium and magnesium work closely with each other, each requiring the other for balance. Calcium is in charge of contracting the muscle and magnesium looks after the relaxation or release of the muscle much like a gas pedal and a clutch work together. When a muscle cell is triggered, the cell membrane opens, letting calcium in and raising the calcium level in the cell setting off a reaction and the muscle contracts. When the contraction is done, the magnesium inside the cell helps to push the calcium back out of the cell releasing the contraction. This happens very rapidly. When there is not enough magnesium in the cell, calcium can leak back in causing a stimulatory effect and the muscle cannot completely relax. This can put the body into a continually stressed state. Low magnesium makes nerve endings hypersensitive thus exacerbating pain and noise. Magnesium is required for proper nerve and muscle function. “
That’s the nitty-gritty. More obvious signs of horses needing this stuff is anything from tight backs, touch sensitivity, tension in the body during training, and resistance to relax in most environments.
As this is a safe mineral to give with toxicity being extremely rare (although not recommended for horses with reduced kidney function without veterinary supervision.), it was worth giving it a shot for us.
This is what I’m using as a first trial.
A low-cost alternative to test if magnesium is lacking, this product can be had for a few dollars, and has only straight magnesium. She eats this no problem mixed with her ratio balancer, or in wet beet pulp. You can find SU-PER Mag Pro Here.
As always, there is no kickback to me for mentioning products here. Just sharing my experiences. And here is my great disclaimer:
“The text you’ve just read in this brief blog post is not a call to action, nor is it meant to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified veterinarian. Do not get your medical advice online, but you knew that already, right? The sharing of knowledge and information from my own research and experience is only meant to compliment your decisions in caring for your horse. Partnering with a qualified veterinarian will always beat reading random opinions from people on the internet. Especially if you read it on a Forum. Thank goodness this is not a Forum.”
Did it work?
She has quickly become more relaxed and non-reactive. I could be conceited and claim that it’s only due to all the training she’s had with me. Less likely, as she’s made a huge turnaround in a very short time. Who likes arrogant people anyway? Once the tub is empty, she’ll be without it for a while, then back on, changes in behavior noted during that time. Glad we gave this a shot.