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Feeding For Behaviour: Magnesium and Tryptophan in Horse Calmers


If you own a horse, you may be familiar with the signs of magnesium and tryptophan deficiency. Symptoms are often nervousness, muscle shaking, and excitability. This often occurs during the springtime, due to extreme growth of fresh spring grass. This grass typically has a high sugar content and a low content of calming agents like magnesium. Horses often experience the symptoms of the deficiency and need horse calmers to supplement their diet.

Why Supplements Are Necessary

A great diet is always needed when taking care of horses. They should be allowed to graze and forage for food, but this should not be their only diet source. Other food items, like alfalfa hay, beet pulp, and salt blocks can help round out a horse’s diet by providing them with the correct amount of fibre, calories, and sugars needed for weight gain and activity.

Even when you do your best to provide your horse with a great diet, though, it may not always be perfect. Spring grass may not produce the right amount of magnesium they need, alfalfa hay may provide too much protein, and while grain may increase the fibre in your horse’s diet, it can lead to excitability.

At times, your horse’s diet may not be causing his nervousness. Certain situations and his genetic makeup may play a huge role in determining how calm he is. For instance, if he has a tryptophan deficiency, this is caused by genetics. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps to calm horses and humans. While it can be obtained from the diet, it only works if it is given at increasing doses and the horse’s body is able to metabolize it.

With the right horse calmers, though, you don’t need to worry. These supplements help to balance out deficiencies in a horse’s diet and reduce the effects of the nervousness and excitability caused by high levels of sugars, proteins, and fibre. There are many other benefits to these calmers as well, including:

  • Slower heart rate
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Reduced risk of laminitis
  • Lowers the risk of obesity in horses
  • Slows the absorption of most sugars in the digestive system

Steps To Take While Administering Magnesium or Tryptophan

Along with horse calmers, take these steps to keep your horse calm.

  • Reduce the amount of spring grass your horse eats if you think it is too sugary.
  • Keep a close watch on the types of food you are feeding your horse to ensure you are not giving him too many carbohydrates or proteins.
  • Provide a quiet and calming environment for your horse to live in. Some horses don’t like a lot of noise and movement, and an unsettling environment can result in hyperactivity.
  • Use training to teach your horse to be calmer. Be patient with him while he learns and don’t expect quick results.
  • Pair younger horses with older, more experienced ones. Older horses are likely to be much calmer and great companions for nervous and excitable horses.

When it comes down to it, you may need to use horse calmers to provide the needed magnesium and tryptophan for your horse. Make sure you administer it carefully and as the instructions say, though. Even though you want a calm horse, you don’t want to give him an overdose and cause diarrhoea, heart failure, or renal failure.


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