Magnesium Calmers – To sedate or not to sedate?

I have no scientific background when it comes to supplements, however, I have done enough reading to acknowledge that there is NO real scientific evidence to suggest that magnesium calmers actually work. Even if most equine supplement sellers would have us believe differently. Most of the so-called science is a load of gobbledygook and like us, all horses are different, so what works on one probably won’t work on another. So, before you go down the expensive and never ending route of trying to find a calmer that works on your horse,  I would suggest you give it some serious thought. If I was starting again I’d keep a diary of my horses day to day behaviour for at least a month to 6 weeks prior to starting down that road. I am pretty sure you will find, just like us, they have ups and downs, good days and bad days.
These products unless they actually work for you (I think most of us imagine it, or want to believe it – I did) will not only set you on a path of no return, but will cost you the earth too. Once they have you hooked into thinking that they really work you are too damned scared to take them off it. Or, perhaps your horse was in one of his/her good moods when you started it? If you put them on it when your horse is having a good spell, you of course think that it is the product, hence my suggestion of a behaviour diary before you start. I really wish I’d thought of it before, as I have spend some serious money on supplements, nearly all I imagined worked in the beginning. My bet is that if we all kept a diary when  putting our horses on one of these products we would still see the same ups and downs with most of them.
I personally have tried a lot of magnesium based calmers and some unknowingly, as magnesium is added to hormonal mare products  (I’ve tried most of those too!) and it is also in our bags of feed.  Could you be over-dosing by using more?  Unless we are experts in analysing everything we put in our horses mouths it appears we CAN DO WRONG.
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There seems to be a new magnesium based calmer hitting the market weekly, telling us that it is the best on the market and it will turn our unruly beasts into saints.
The bottom line is that unless you have your horse blood tested to check magnesium levels, how do you actually know he/she needs it,  you don’t. I believe there are horses that need a bit more and horses that really do not need it at all,  regardless of their behaviour. By the time you have wasted a lot of money on trying different ones it would have been cheaper to have paid the vet to do a test!
If your horse/pony doesn’t need it you could be in for trouble. Are we making them worse by giving it to them in the first place? I have read that over-dosing on magnesium causes them to be extra spooky and much more reactive.
I am pretty convinced now that I was over dosing my mare Diva,  all because I was desperate to find something that calmed her brain and eased her seasons. When all I actually did was make her worse.
She has no supplements now apart from a general vitamin and mineral supplement through the winter. She is pretty much the same, but I know her now and have learnt to live with her, just like she has had to learn to live with me!
I will tell you about Diva in my next blog and how my feeding patterns changed after a conversation with my vet.

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