Factors to Consider when Feeding Senior Horses

Posted on Apr 18 2018 - 10:39am by Business Day TV

Black and brown horses eating hayAs it is with human beings, various factors influence the overall well-being of horses as well. These include use, care regimen, health history and other genetic factors.

Horses usually start slowing down in their late teen years. Although a horse can live for 30 to 40 years, veterinarians consider a horse that is in its mid-20s to be significantly old. Here are the essential factors that you should consider before giving your ageing horses animal feed.

Dental condition

Although frequent dental care is recommended for horses of all ages, it is particularly critical for senior horses. This is because the hooks and sharp edges on their teeth can prevent them from eating enough food to keep them in good condition. You can add water to pellet feed to form a mash, which is easier to swallow and digest.

Palatability

No matter how generous your portion is, the feed cannot help the horse if it is not consumed. Old horses are picky and tend to resist anything different offered to them. As such, changes or additions should be gradual to help the digestive system adapt and avoid putting the horse off. To make your feed more palatable to the older horses, make it drizzle with Karo syrup, molasses or flavoured jello.

Digestion

With age, a horse’s ability to digest vitamins, fibre, minerals and proteins significantly decrease. Offer them fortified feeds that have high quality and easily digestible proteins, and a lot of clean hay. There are also specific formulations made for senior horses.

However, most people have problems establishing a nutritious feeding program without subjecting their horses to weight gain. In that case, encourage exercises as much as they tolerate. You may also consider feeding them with grass hay instead of alfalfa.

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