​Spring Horse Health: Magnesium and Tying Up

​Spring Horse Health: Magnesium and Tying Up

Posted by Placide on 22nd Sep 2017

During Spring and Summer, horses prone to tying up may experience these painful episodes with more frequency as a result of several causes. In this article, we discuss the potential benefits of magnesium supplementation for these horses.

Rhabdomyolysis, commonly referred to as tying up, is a syndrome triggered by exercise that causes extreme muscle stiffness. In addition to severe muscle cramping, horses experiencing tying up episodes will also often exhibit:

  • Sweating
  • Blowing
  • Trembling
  • Reluctance to move
  • Discoloured urine

For some horses, tying up episodes only occur as isolated events; for others, it’s a chronic and recurring problem, with possible genetic links, that drastically limits their athletic performance.

Acute Tying Up

In cases of acute tying up, where episodes happen infrequently, tying up is often the result of:

  • Overwork - where a horse in poor body condition or low level of fitness is trained with too much intensity, depleting their muscles of oxygen and releasing free radicals that cause cellular damage within their muscles.
  • Antioxidant deficiency - without adequate levels of vitamin E and selenium, the horse’s antioxidant systems aren’t able to function optimally. Most hay and pasture sources are also deficient in vitamin E and selenium, further worsening the problem.
  • Electrolyte imbalance - sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium must be replenished following intense exercise. Low sodium, potassium and magnesium have been linked to muscle cramping, as well as high calcium relative to magnesium.

Chronic Tying Up

Horses with chronic tying up will have one of two types, including:

  • Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER), which is usually seen in Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, and is related to rapid calcium release.
  • Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM), which is also called polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) and results from high levels of glycogen.

Magnesium and Calcium Supplementation

Supplementation has been shown to benefit horses with magnesium imbalances - one of the causes of tying up. Magnesium imbalances are most often associated with nervous or anxious behaviours. Any horse with typing up that's also showing the symptoms below may have an imbalance:

  • Jumpiness or spookiness
  • Sensitivity to touch or sound
  • Muscle twitching at rest
  • Exercise-induced muscle cramping

Placide M & Ca provides your horse with magnesium and calcium to restore this vital balance within the body. Containing only organic chelated magnesium, with calcium and boron, Placide M & Ca is rapidly absorbed and shown to improve symptoms within just 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.