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Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, is becoming an increasingly common supplement for horses.
Magnesium plays an important part in nerve and muscle function, and horses deficient in this important element can show signs of nervousness, wariness, excitability, and muscle tremors.
This gives magnesium its reputation for having a calming influence on equines.
A deficient horse is likely to have a poor tolerance to work and its muscles will tie up quite quickly.
Magnesium is also known to play an important part in reducing equine obesity, and can lessen the risk of laminitis in animals prone to it during periods of strong spring grass growth.
But like most things, you can easily end up giving your horse too much.
Epsom salts is cheap and there is a danger that horse owners may be providing too much in their horse’s diet.
Epsom salts is best known as a laxative. Give your horse an overly generous amount and, just like people, they’ll be feeling the effects of diarrhoea. Anything greater than one level tablespoon a day per 100kg of your horse’s bodyweight is likely to result in a case of the runs.