In the five months I have owned my mare I have never seen a pleasant expression on her face while being groomed. That is until today. She stood calm and relaxed, and even groomed me back when I scratched her withers. None of her performance improvements have lifted my spirits as much as witnessing a happy horse today. Thank you so so much Performance Equine USA and Carla for giving me the tools to help this special mare!
THIS JUST IN: I just want to send you an update to let you know that the clinic was a huge success for my mare. I have continued MagRestore for her 3sc x 2/day. 5 days before the clinic I started the Focus. On ride days, a little mag Oil on her neck and back. She was great. Even off the Focus now, she’s been pretty consistent throughout more rides. Yay! I was finally able to ride her through an ENTIRE First level test 3 last week WITHOUT any hiccups from her – no running, no ‘taking over’, very little stress if any. I’ve noticed that as long as her turnout isn’t stressful, her work is good when I ride her. I’m trying to work with the barn folks to continue to promote the ‘happy’ Gem. Thanks so much for patiently answering my questions over the past year. Hope to continue down this path and maybe some day I’ll be able to back off the MagRestore a bit.
Brief History – I bought Val in February of this year. She is a coming six year old Andalusion mare. She is brave, very forward and sensitive. Team Val, meaning me, our trainer and Val’s fans have always loved and respected her for that.
However, this spring her tension increased considerably. Val’s CIF aka “Constant Internal Fire” was burning out of her control. We had decreased her grain to a handful. I had put her on ulcer meds in case that was causing it. I know that the green grass has loads of sugar but I just knew instinctively it was something else. She never got stupid or spooky like a sugar high. Nor was she acting hormonal stupid. (There has got be some advantage to having decades of experience along with the decades of age that go along with it —lol.)
So after a particularly “forward and tense” ride (Trainer rode and I watched) both trainer and I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t normal or fair for Val. All she did on that ride was walk and trot. The ride was 20 minutes and Val never relaxed at all. She was sweating profusely and it did not match the work done. The trainer was always calm and never forced anything. I could see it in Val’s eyes that she didn’t want to be like that way but she couldn’t physically help the tension or “forwardness”. It wasn’t mental other than the stress of what her body insisted she do. I also didn’t get the sense that it was a “traditional” pain issue.
After that “ride” the trainer and I had agreed that Val was not going to be worked until we had a solution. We were not going to do anything to damage her very special sweet nature or her body.
The trainer recommend we try Regumate because it does help some mares with tension. I said of course I would do that but —- I had been doing extensive research and that I had read many, many anecdotal recounts about a supplement called MagRestore for a magnesium deficiency. Val’s “symptoms” matched many of the symptoms associated with a magnesium deficiency. One of the most interesting things I learned was that calcium depletes magnesium in the body. So it made sense that the CALCIUM rich spring grass was causing a real problem and why it got so bad this spring. Also all horses’ burn magnesium at different levels and horses like Val will burn through it at a greater rate. So I told my trainer that was going be the first thing we tried.
Although we were not working her I started doing in hand with her. Walk, halt some leg yields etc. Whatever she could do comfortably. I did this so I had some kind of “compass” of how she was feeling physically and emotionally. It also gave us something we could do together where focus without physical exertion was the goal.
When we started doing the work in hand (before MagRestore) Val could not comfortably do a leg yield. I would ask her to cross over and tap her gently with the whip and her reaction was to lean into the whip. Not move away. I have never had a horse do that before. So work in hand was walk, halts and large circles. All mixed in with lots of love and treats of course.
Val was on a loading dose of MagRestore for 4 days before I gently asked again for a leg yield in hand. I knew that she was much less tense so I wanted to see how she was feeling. She did it without any hesitation at all. No big deal. Needless to say I was thrilled.
Val was on 10 days of the MagRestore when I got on her for the first time. She was a different horse. I had done the in hand work first and she was happy, stretching across her topline and supple. When I got on her back she did the same thing. Very happy to stay stretched with an open throatlatch.
I asked the trainer to ride her a few days later. I wanted to watch and get her feedback. She could not have been more pleased and happy. Val’s new “happy place” to work is stretched across her topline with an open throatlatch. She kept a steady rhythm and just moved beautifully along. The only time she would “lift her shoulders” was a slight lift for a re-balancing of herself. Not the dramatic Spanish Walk lift she would exhibit before.
It has been 5 weeks and she continues to be this new “Happy Val” and of course I am over the moon
Thank you again for this “High Anxiety” thread.
I just wanted to let you know that I have tried the Mag-Restore and the Focus and my mare has made a 360 deg turn-a-round. She used to get so nervous before our barrel run and would not go in the gate without running backwards and washing out. Plus she would be so upset/mad that she would literally stomp her feet around the barrels. She now does not get nervous and enters the arena without any fuss now. What a blessing!! Thank you so much