Letters: 01/99

An Idiot Is An Idiot
You are absolutely right about oblivious, dangerous behavior of some people longeing horses (November 1998 editorial). I’ve ridden with people older than myself who endangered me and my daughter (I was pregnant at the time), as well as being in the ring with people my age and younger who were completely oblivious to everything around themselves. An idiot is an idiot, no matter the age!

I love this magazine. Keep up the good work. I like that you’re incorporating more Western stuff. I’ve learned a lot through the years from my friends who specialize in other aspects of riding and training, and I’m tired of the East vs. West mentality that is too prevalent.

-Dawn Anuszkiewicz-Lundgren


Low Magnesium, Epsom Salts And Calming From Magnesium
I just finished reading the article on low magnesium levels (November 1998). It reminded me of an old-timer’s remark I heard several years ago. He said to add Epsom salts to the horse feed to add magnesium and that it was widely done at the race tracks. What are your thoughts on this’ Could there be a problem, health-wise, from feeding magnesium sulfate’

-Bonnie Peralez
Big Bear City, CA

Adding Epsom salts to feed is an old-time remedy, especially for horses that tie up. It is unlikely you could get the horse to consume enough Epsom salts (it tastes terrible!) to cause any problems, which would be intestinal (diarrhea).

Dosages in the range of “half a handful or so” were/are used, but you would be better off getting a little more precise idea of how much you actually need by having a ratio analysis done on your feed and grain and getting all minerals adjusted to proper levels using the appropriate supplement.

In addition, we mentioned that high magnesium products are marketed as calming products, although we had not specifically evaluated them in that way, and that horses with high-calcium/low-magnesium diets could tolerate large amounts of magnesium without showing any obvious, outward signs of “tranquilization.”

Since then, we have looked into this use of magnesium further and found that some horses are indeed very sensitive to excessive magnesium in their diet (levels above that needed to bring the calcium: magnesium ratio to the 2:1 range) and will show obvious outward signs of quieting/“dulling.” This is associated with some degree of apparent muscular relaxation as well. The horses were safe to ride (no stumbling, etc.) but perhaps lost some power/speed.


Half-Chap Hint Just The Ticket
I have had my Ariat half chaps for six or seven years and swear by them. I ride endurance, and they have been one of my best pieces of equipment. I can attest to their shock-absorbing qualities.

As you said, I have had the elastic under the foot go out regularly but never had any other parts that needed replacing (like the back elastic panel). Thanks for the idea of replacing the elastic strap with nylon (December 1998).

-Penelope Brooks