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Magnesium…the nerve mineral!

 

Magnesium (Mg) plays a number of important roles within your horse’s body, some of which may be very surprising to us.  In muscles, if Magnesium is not present,  the muscles would not be able to generate energy to carry out any functions.  Magnesium also plays a very important role in your horse’s blood by acting as an activator of many enzymes throughout his body. But did you also know, that Magnesium regulates nerve fibers and controls the central nervous system and helps with glandular function?

Also known as the “nerve mineral”, each time your horse gets excited, its body uses magnesium to calm down and relax.  The lower the magnesium level, the higher the chances that your horse will become increasingly more sensitive to stress.

  • Does your horse have a very tight, sore back which is not related to activity, fitness level or saddle fit?
  • Does your horse never relax?
  • Is he cranky about being brushed or palpated especially over the back and on either side of the spine?
  • Is he cranky about being blanketed?
  • Does he have a history of tying up?
  • Are there muscle tremors or all over trembling not related out outside temperatures?
  • Does he require long periods of lunging before being able to focus on work?
  • Does he not tolerate work well and works up, not down?
  • Bucks shortly after workout beings, seems fine at first then bucks or balks
  • Is he described as thin skinned or hypersensitive to touch?
  • Chiropractic adjustment, massage and body work just does not have lasting effects?
  • Has difficulty getting round or picking up his back under saddle, moves hollow?
  • Has a poor work ethic and has difficulty focusing on work.
  • Can’ t be still, repetitive movement, weaving, pacing, head bobbing?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you horse may deficient in this very important mineral.

So what actually contributes to a magnesium deficiency?  The number one factor is stress!    Training, competition, lack of turn out and a busy barn environment all add to the stress levels of your horses.  Physical exertion, sweat, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances also play very important parts to the loss of magnesium.  Diuretics, suck as Lasix, which is given routinely on the track and to speed event horses, also causes this deficiency as well as a calcium rich diet.  Interestingly to note that horses with a magnesium shortfall often crave excessive amounts of salt, have increased urine output and therefore increase the amount of magnesium excreted.

Does your horse have a cresty neck??  Magnesium supplementation has been advised by veterinary surgeons as it serves not only to re-balance the diet of low magnesium but also to help combating fat deposition in overweight animals, such as cresty necks.  Opinions vary widely on the dosage of magnesium supplements as it depends in part on whether the soils on which a horse is grazing show deficiency in this element.  That is why, it is very important to speak to your veterinarian about changing your horse’s supplemental program or if you are thinking about introducing magnesium into his diet.

So before you think that you horse has major behavioral problems, try a little nature’s best nerve mineral, Magnesium!

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