​Spring Horse Health: Magnesium and Thumps

​Spring Horse Health: Magnesium and Thumps

Posted by Placide on 3rd Oct 2017

In Spring and Summer, warm temperatures, combined with high intensity exercise, can rapidly dehydrate your horse - depleting them of electrolytes and giving rise to conditions like synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.

In this article, we discuss the potential benefits of magnesium supplementation.

Most often seen in endurance and horse racing, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, commonly known as thumps, is characterised by hiccup-like contractions of the horse’s diaphragm. It occurs as a result of dehydration and electrolyte loss - among them are calcium and magnesium.

It has been well established that calcium and magnesium work in concert within the body to facilitate muscle contraction and release. However, when these minerals are deficient or out of balance, they can also exacerbate nerve excitability, including within the diaphragm.

If electrolytes, such as calcium and magnesium, aren’t replaced following high intensity exercise, normal muscular and nerve function may be hindered. While muscle stiffness is perhaps most common, thumps has also been linked to calcium and magnesium deficiency.

Calcium and Magnesium Supplementation

Calcium and magnesium supplementation is becoming a more common treatment option for conditions like thumps. It has been shown to minimise recovery time when provided at the right levels within the horse’s diet.

Unfortunately, pasture soils in New Zealand are often deficient in the minerals calcium and magnesium - a problem worsened by the conditions of Spring grass growth and oxalate pastures as explored in our series on calcium and magnesium.

Without adequate calcium and magnesium levels in pasture soils, it’s difficult for horses to restore calcium and magnesium levels on the forages and commercial horse feeds produced from them. As such, supplementation is the best option to meet their daily needs.

Calcium to Magnesium Ratio

While calcium and magnesium deficiencies are clearly problematic, so too is an imbalance of calcium and magnesium within the body - particularly where calcium is available in significantly larger quantities than magnesium.

Placide M & Ca is specifically formulated to provide the optimum blend of calcium and magnesium to your horse in a ratio of 1:1. Containing organic chelated magnesium, with calcium and boron, for improved absorption, Placide M & Ca is shown to improve symptoms of deficiency in one week.


Placide is the number one equine calming supplement in New Zealand. Containing organic, chelated magnesium, Placide works to relax muscles, reduce stress and support your horse’s health for improved performance in less than one week. Click here to find out more.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended as veterinary advice. At Placide, we encourage you to make health care decisions for your horse based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified veterinarian.