Magnesium for anxiety? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Magnesium for anxiety?

Can anyone tell me, is the idea of supplementing magnesium for anxiety that the horse is deficient and you are correcting a deficiency, or is it more that you are giving it at high levels, to sort of act like a drug?

I doubt I will do it, but I'm wondering if it might be useful to supplement Teddy while we are working on his cantering issues. He just has so much trouble settling down afterwards. We literally canter one lap and then he doesn't want to slow down, just keeps tossing his head and wanting to move. We had the same issues with trotting, and we just worked through them with time and patience, but somehow he seems a little worse now.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 08:33 AM
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As I understand it, magnesium can work in several different ways. If the horse is deficient it can cause anxiety, so resolving the deficiency will help. If the horse is not deficient, it will not do anything.
However, magnesium can help with muscle function and soreness, so if a horse has any musculoskeletal issues, sometimes magnesium will help the horse be more calm due to less pain or ease of movement. Magnesium also can help with buffering stomach acid so if a horse has any low grade ulcers that are acting up when he moves faster, it can help with that too.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 08:51 AM
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I gave a magnesium supplement never saw any difference. Fed it for several months. When I ran out of supplement never bought anymore.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 10:15 AM
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Magnesium is one of those things that either works or it doesn't. If the horse's issues are caused by a deficiency, then it helps. If they're not, it won't. There are also several forms of magnesium. Some seem to work better than others.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
Magnesium is one of those things that either works or it doesn't. If the horse's issues are caused by a deficiency, then it helps. If they're not, it won't. There are also several forms of magnesium. Some seem to work better than others.

I kept one of my horses on magnesium malate for 2-3 years. It made a HUGE difference to the good.

I haven't fed him any since the beginning of this year and he is still doing good. The time on the magnesium malate seems to v "righted the ship". If he ever starts his anxious antics again, I will put him on back on the magnesium.

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 06:24 PM
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I found that just giving my mare the ration balancer "select alfalfa" which has magnesium in it has lessened her anxiety. I think she was probably deficient in a few things when I got her as she was only eating straight alfalfa twice a day. No minerals, nothing else.

PopTart is the same as you describe Teddy with the go go go. We did a lot of loping yesterday and she started to get hot again with wanting to just run run run. She also did some head tossing and side stepping.

Is he getting any type of like "one a day" (that's what I consider them) type supplement? That might have enough magnesium in it.

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post #7 of 11 Old 11-18-2019, 06:52 PM
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Had no effect on my anxious mare (I tried magnesium malate and quite a few supplements containing magnesium). But lately, I have been giving her B12 and she's... happier. Although maybe it's the photonic therapy. She is more relaxed, friendly, playful... it's weird, but I hope it continues!

My understanding is that magnesium works only if the horse was deficient in the first place. There is lots of magnesium in my local forage, so presumably, she wasn't deficient in the first place so it had no effect. It's not like a drug in that it creates an artificial mood.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 01:15 AM
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As a general answer, yes, Mg will help reduce anxiety, when, as others have said, it is deficient/imbalanced. Mg is very commonly deficient in the diet, esp give below considerations of rich feed & stressy lifestyles. As a... long winded answer...

As others have said, there are many forms of Mg & some will do a lot, some, due to not being 'bioavailable', will do little. Mg melatate is one bioavailable source, while Mg Ox(what's in most cheaper feeds & supps) is not very.

Mg is one of those nutrients which depends on many factors as to how much a body needs/uses. So there is no 'x amount for a balanced diet'. Eg. if a horse is on rich, high sugar diet, it will need more Mg. If the horse is IR/EMS/'founder prone'/obese, it will need more Mg If it is under stress, it will need more Mg. If it is physically hurting or ill, it will need more Mg. And if the diet is high Ca, it will need a lot of Mg.

And as Gotta said, it is a mineral which doesn't just effect emotions/mental health, but physically, muscles, nerves, tendons, inflammation and energy(chronic fatigue in people is linked with low Mg) so a horse may well be stressy just due to mental reasons, but they may be a bit sore, from stiff muscles or such, which may also be relieved by the Mg. And it has been associated with improved hoof health - particularly caudal foot development.

So, given last factor above, I started my horses on it years ago, to see what it did for their hooves(& they were long term fat & I knew it was good for 'resensitising' the body to insulin). I'd never tried it for behaviour, as I believed my horses had a pretty well balanced diet anyway, but one of them had... nervous issues that while I knew was also about training/experience, was somewhat inexplicable - unexpected. Within only a week or so of putting them on it, my horse had just... chilled. Gone back to his previously unflappable self, without me doing anything different training or management-wise. Then I started really looking into Mg!

In the last 8 years or so, I've had my horses on it as a general supp, and also many of my clients, friends and farriery associates have had their horses on it, and while experience is always varied, based on many factors, they have generally found a positive difference in their horses, both physically & behaviourally.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 06:14 AM
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@loosie gave a great explanation of the benefits of magnesium maleate for horses

I am all for re-training if the horse needs it but, the horse cannot be successfully retrained until health issues are first rectified:)

I liken these types of anxious horses to a child that is over-active or ADHD. They want to learn but they can't stop fidgeting long enough to sit still and absorb what's being taught. They need special, non-sugary, non preservative/food-with-artificial-dye diets that allow them to reach their potential -- I know this from experience in my family:)

Give the magnesium a chance -- what's a few more dollars out of the checkbook if it helps the horse, lollollol. I laugh because I have more $$$$ tied up in my two retired horses than some people spend on a well trained Dressage horse and its tack. It's a good thing I'm ok wearing leggings from Walmart

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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Hawk has been on the E-Se-Mag supplement for about 10 days. I'm not sure if thats long enough for it to work, but he's a different horse. I was nervous about "evil Hawk" coming back like he usually does every winter. But he's been quieter than ever, warming up more quickly, and not getting hot at the canter. He still struggles with his left lead, but isn't explosive when I correct him. Safe to say I'm overjoyed with continuing to have a sweet and much quieter gelding.
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