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What Is Tying-Up?

Updated: Feb 22

Rhabdomyolysis, commonly known as 'tying-up', is a muscle disorder that can cause severe pain, muscle stiffness, and difficulty walking in horses. It occurs when muscle cells break down, releasing myoglobin into the bloodstream. This breakdown is often triggered by intense exercise, stress, or electrolyte imbalances.

Horses that are 'tied-up' will have:

  • Muscle stiffness

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive sweating

  • Dark coloured urine

  • High temperature

Inadequate salt and magnesium levels have a significant impact on muscle function and increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis in horses.

Salt plays a vital role in maintaining fluid balance and proper muscle function. Horses lose salt through sweating, and a deficiency can disrupt the function of muscle cells. Salt is the easiest and cheapest mineral to supplement. You can have a salt lick available, but it's difficult to monitor intake. 30g of plain table salt mixed into feed will meet minimum requirements. Supply more if your horse is in work, or in hot weather when they sweat more. Horses excrete excess salt in urine.

We have supplemented our own horses with Sound Advice Calm Mix (magnesium) for 20 years. At the time we had 15 horses and the market leader was (still is) selling magnesium at $90/kg. Feeding almost half a kilo a day to all our own horses was far too expensive.

We started making it ourselves, and soon were selling to friends and neighbours for $30/kg - 1/3rd of the cost. It quickly became our best-seller, with people literally turning up at our front door for this 'magic powder'.

Read more here.

Preventing rhabdomyolysis begins with understanding the condition and implementing appropriate measures to support your horse's muscle health. Feeding adequate salt and magnesium is cheap insurance against tying-up, which causes significant pain and distress - not to mention avoiding an expensive vet visit.

Beyond ensuring adequate salt and magnesium intake, it's essential to gradually increase exercise levels, manage stress, and maintain a balanced diet.

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