Evolutionarily the horse is a prey animal and as such is a creature of flight. Today when the flight reaction is felt to be excessive some owners opt to use calming supplements, usually containing magnesium. However, to date there has been no published evidence to show that magnesium can have a calmative effect in horses.
The study was conducted at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia by Jessica Dodd, as part of her PhD programme. It was supervised by Dr Glenys Noble in collaboration with theWALTHAM® Equine Studies Group, headed by ProfessorPat HarrisMA PhD, VetMB DipECVCN MRCVS. It investigated the effects of magnesium aspartate supplementation on the reaction speeds of six Standardbred geldings. The addition of 10g of magnesium to a roughage (clover/ryegrass hay) diet, which already provided the recommended daily intake of magnesium, reduced the average reaction speed response in the horses by more than a third. Without the supplement the mean response time was 5.3 metres per second and with the supplement it slowed to 3.1 metres per second.
Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at MARS Horsecare UK said: This research is particularly exciting for our T.E.N. Supplements brand. Although the benefits of magnesium have been well documented anecdotally, this study provides the first scientific evidence that magnesium aspartate, which is found in some behaviour supplements such as our own T.E.N. Positive Calm Behaviour Plus, may influence behaviour.”
T.E.N. Positive Calm Behaviour contains two sources of magnesium and the herbs chamomile, hops, passiflora and lemon balm to help promote a more relaxed riding experience. T.E.N. Positive Calm Behaviour Plus contains three sources of magnesium including magnesium aspartate as well as probiotic live yeast and amino acids lysine and arginine, which have been shown in humans to help reduce anxiety.
1 Jessica Dodd, Greg Doran, Patricia Harris, Glenys Noble (2015) Magnesium aspartate supplementation and reaction speed response in horses - to be presented at ESS, Florida in May 2015.
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