So if you have noticed that your horse is a little more nervous than usual, then correct the magnesium deficiency before it goes so far as to be an explosion waiting to happen or before it becomes stringhalt. I even saw a whole property full of horses once who were angry with magnesium deficiency rather than nervous.
When it has been dry or cold, with little to no grass growth and we get the sweet rains of autumn or the warmth of spring and the grass starts to grow – that is the time when the grass is most magnesium deficient.
You can give horses magnesium in a number of ways. There are some very expensive complete products out there on the market but it doesn’t have to cost that much and some of them are not that good either.
There are two things to be wary of about magnesium.
- All magnesium is not the same and horses don’t absorb all forms of magnesium, so you don’t want to be throwing your money down the drain with the wrong magnesium.
- And DO NOT GIVE THEM TOO MUCH.
Just like not enough calcium and magnesium can stuff up your horses bone strength – too much of either of those minerals can do exactly the same thing. (Hmmm… I bet most of those people selling you calcium supplements didn’t tell you that hey?
The useful types of magnesium:
- I used to only give my horses magnesium orotate. It comes in tablet form and is very effective. However, it is quite expensive with the amounts that we need to feed a horse. You can melt the tablets in a bit of water and add it to their feed or put one tablet at a time in a piece of apple and give it to your horse. I still use it in an emergency because you can also crush up the tablets and put the powder on the tongue and it will have a positive effect on their behavior within about 10 minutes if the behavior is caused by magnesium deficiency.
- I was very happy to come across a second form of effective magnesium supplementing in the form of magnesium chloride last year, which is much cheaper, easier to give the horses and so far seems just as effective.
The dosages for magnesium:
The easiest way of avoiding over-dosing with minerals is to give our horse free choice. If you are using magnesium chloride put another bin of water in the paddock and add the magnesium to that, so that you have one with magnesium and one without. The horses will drink from whichever bucket they need and balance their magnesium themselves.
You can use a pendulum to figure out the dosage for your horse. Click here for an article that has some video instructions on how to use a pendulum. If you get a dosage of more than 2000 mgs of magnesium orotate per day AND ONLY THAT HIGH FOR A FEW DAYS, then contact me to check your dosage. (You’ll find a contact at the top of every page.) I am a kinesiologist amongst other things. I have had horses test up for higher dosages in extreme situations, but overdosing is a very bad deal, so we want to make sure that you are not over doing it.
Later note: There are some good comments being posted on this article, about what people consider is the best type and sources of magnesium – it’s well worth reading the comments!.
Sources of magnesium chloride
Some of the magnesium chloride out there is coming from China, who have not had a great track record of recent times with food safety for people or even babies or animals generally. I used a Chinese magnesium chloride inadvertently the first time, with no ill effects. Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes (they are not allowed to say its edible) is the brand that I used after that and I see it available on e-bay.
Magnesium deficiency is not the only cause of nervousness in horses.
It is useful for us to understand the kinds of things that can make our horse nervous AND how to help them so that they can be the calm and trusting partner that most of us are looking for.
The FREE LESSONS The 9 Keys to Happiness with Your Horse talk about exactly that in quite some detail. They are one of the biggest give-aways in the horse world and you’ll find them at the top of the Training Programs page here