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The nights are officially getting darker…we know, it sucks! With the change in seasons and the prospect of bringing your horse in overnight, we need to start thinking about what to feed our horses for the winter.

It’s pretty much a given now that we all look at avoiding high sugar and high starch diets to avoid feed making our horses silly. The science tells us this works and in many cases it does!

But what about when we are feeding low starch/sugar and still struggling with silly behaviour?

In our experience, the third element owners need to be aware of is the added magnesium content in their horse’s feeds.



The more magnesium you feed, the more it builds up in the body (Hintz & Schryver, 1973 carried out some super interesting research that proves this, a detailed graph can be found in this article). Magnesium also has the ability to sedate and impair (hence why injectable magnesium is on the FEI controlled substance list), an Australian study also found that as little as 2.5g of magnesium given orally can have similar effects as the sedative ACP (sedalin).

From our experience, horses on high magnesium diets can be overly spooky, excitable/anxious, not cope in new situations or when under pressure and at times be explosive. This is due to the sedating and impairing effect of magnesium, impairing their ability to properly understand situations, risk assess and generally be more logical about life.

We’re not saying it’s a miracle cure (even though for some horses it has been!) – but if you feel you’re doing everything right and your horse is still being a wally, the next step is to check the magnesium levels in the diet….before you go out and buy a ‘calmer’ which unless it’s Cool, Calm & Collected, will likely just be more magnesium!

Low sugar, low starch AND low magnesium.

Want to know the magnesium levels in your horses diet?

                Contact us for a FREE diet review!

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