Katai has always had really tight muscles. When she is nervous she literally turns to stone and the same happens when she is resisting. She is fairly tight through the back as well and would react strongly to minor things. While doing some searching on COTH I stumbled across some information on Magnesium and Magnesium deficiencies. Most of the things on that list applied to my pony including the metabolism things and the hoof health. Magnesium isn’t an especially expensive supplement and it’s not something that will hurt them if they get it when they don’t need it, you just won’t see a difference in that case.
I started Katai on a loading dose of Magnesium last fall/winter and OMG what a difference. She went from tight reactive pony with muscles of stone to relaxed quiet, almost to the point of seeming sedated pony and was much softer. At that point I went to the maintenance dose and continued to see incredible things. She’ll still spook and she still resists and is her normal self it’s just that it takes the edge off and she doesn’t fly off the handle at small things. She is also more able to concentrate on me and so our communication is worlds better. Since then I’ve kept her on it and the couple times I’ve not been able to give it to her for awhile, such as when I went to KY, she went back to being tight and reactive. I’ve had several other supplements suggested to me since then, such as Mare Magic, but all of them are basically a form of Magnesium. Right now she is getting Magnesium 5,000 in pellets that I ordered from Smartpak in the 80 day bucket.
I also ordered some Omega treats awhile ago and although she won’t eat the treats whole she will eat them if I cut them up into her grain. Once they are gone, hopefully sooner than later because have you ever tried cutting up horse treats, I plan on purchasing a powdered form to add to her grain instead.
Finally, and most recently, I added DMG http://www.vitaflex.com/res_growdmga.php .It is supposed to help with horses that are muscle sore and particularly horses with PSSM. It also has a form of Magnesium in it so I reduce the dose of straight magnesium she receives. It is also a cheap supplement and I am still just trying it out to see if it works. I ordered it from Smartpak in the 28 day bucket for about $10 so I can see if it works at all. I do have to say that last night when I massaged her, and just working with her in general, she seemed WAY different and looser. She is certainly not diagnosed as PSSM, although I may have the vet test next time he is here, but with her muscle tightness and some of her resistances I guess it wouldn’t surprise me. Hopefully the DMG will help with her tightness since it is certainly something I can afford to keep her on.
The current barn actually grains pasture boarded horses but since they are all loose together and there is no guarantee who will eat out of which bucket they can’t do supplements. Because of this I make up baggies with about a cup of Senior horse feed from Purina and the three supplements listed. There are far better grains for easy keeper horses but they are tough to get in this area so for now this system is working out ok. The main problem with the current way I do things is that she only gets her supplements when I’m at the barn. Each baggie has the amount of supplement she should get for one day but I can only make it to the barn around four days per week so she is still always short. This would be one good reason to switch to stall board and something I am taking into account as I make the decision.
More news about the new barn possibility to follow!