Magnesium illustration on barn with straw

Magnesium 101

The critical mineral that keeps horses calm and relaxed

When a horse gets excited, its body uses magnesium to calm down and relax. Magnesium plays an important role in nerve and muscle function. Horses deficient in this vital mineral often show signs of nervousness, wariness, excitability, jumpiness, tight sore backs (not related to saddle fit), muscle tremors, and hypersensitive skin – our products can help.

Your horse may show multiple signs, either continuously, or only during times of stress or competition when magnesium requirements are highest.

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Signs that your horse may be magnesium deficient

  • Very tight, sore back not related to activity, fitness level or saddle fit
  • Horse never really relaxes
  • Cranky about being brushed or palpated especially over the back on either side of the spine
  • Cranky about being blanketed
  • History of tying up
  • Muscle tremors or all over trembling not related to outside temperature
  • Requires long periods of lunging before being able to focus on work
  • Does not tolerate work well and works up, not down
  • Bucks shortly after workout begins, seems fine at first then bucks or balks
  • Would be described as ‘thin skinned’ or hypersensitive to touch
  • Chiropractic adjustments, massage and body work do not have lasting effects
  • Has difficulty getting round or picking his back up under saddle, moves hollow
  • Difficulty focusing on work, poor work ethic
  • Can’t be still, repetitive movement, weaving, pacing, head bobbing

What contributes to magnesium deficiency?

  • Stress, and stress hormones, adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol (Adrenal glands release cortisol  – it is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress)
  • Adrenaline, which burns through magnesium
  • Physical exertion, sweat, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances
  • Diuretics (Lasix given on the track routinely, and to speed event horses/barrel horses)
  • Excessive sodium and/or calcium supplementation, or a calcium rich diet
  • Imbalances in calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

How much magnesium is needed daily?

If your horse is showing signs of deficiency, it can take up to 4 servings daily of MagRestore™ until symptoms start to dissipate. Typically, we see improvements within ten days. Maintenance doses, after that, vary. In general, 1 to 2  servings of MagRestore™ should be given daily. We recommend a trans-dermal application (through the skin), as it’s the most efficient way to increase magnesium levels. Some horses benefit from both oral and trans-dermal application. If a horse is exhibiting signs of a magnesium shortfall such as muscle tremors, tight muscles or has a history of tying up, we recommend the magnesium bath combined with oral supplementation. A horse in heavy training may require a much higher daily dosage – often double that of a non-working horse. If your horse develops loose manure, cut the amount you are feeding in half, or supply magnesium throughout the day in smaller portions. You can increase the absorption or bio-availability when you offer it in smaller increments with more frequency. Please note: magnesium toxicity is extremely rare, however, horses with impaired kidney function should not be supplemented with magnesium without the supervision of your vet.

Balancing Calcium with Magnesium

This video demonstrates with animation the interaction of calcium and magnesium at a cellular level. By Andrea Rosanoff, PhD, Directing Scholar, Center for Magnesium Education & Research.
Scottsdale Magnesium Study

Absorption, Cellular Uptake, and Clinical Effectiveness of a Timed-Release Magnesium Supplement in a Standard Adult Clinical Population

Learn more about Magnesium Supplementation