There is only so much you can do to manage temperament of your horse or pony, through restricting feed, especially when keeping condition and fitness are an issue. But the influence of diet goes far beyond simple energy consumption.
Magnesium is well known as a calming ingredient, but the reason for this has nothing to do with sedation. Magnesium is a basic and vital nutrient which a horse often cannot consume enough of because of modern feeding and stress loads.
When stressed, the body literally uses up magnesium, and when a horse is not receiving enough to meet these extra demands the magnesium, calcium balance in the body is disturbed. A number of behavioural changes associated with the ‘flight or fight’ response can result. Typically they will be more easily stressed, more reactive and will take longer to settle once wound up.
The role of magnesium in the body means that if you use the right magnesium supplement you can avoid sedative ingredients, and still solve a vast range of behavioural problems, without causing any drowsiness or changing your horses’ character or presence.
So what problems might magnesium help with? The answer is anything at all related to stress from obviously sharp or difficult behaviour, to spooking, bad travellers, box walking, schooling and concentration problems, box rest, even headshaking, gastric ulcers and laminitis.