السبت 22 يونيو 2024

A Nutrition Plan For Your Senior Horse

موقع أيام نيوز

Each horse is an individual and will have their own specific nutritional needs. With that in mind, there are several categories into which seniors can be divided based on their nutritional needs.

The Healthy Senior 

For the senior in good health and at an ideal weight that is still used for performance and/or reproduction, continue with your current nutrition plan as long as it’s balanced and meeting the horse’s needs. A good quality forage at 1.5 to 2.5 percent of body weight on a dry matter basis should be enough to keep your senior in good condition. Provide unlimited access to water, salt, and a forage balancer. 

Concentrate feed is only required for horses that are not maintaining weight on forage, or for those with dental problems that interfere with feeding.

Monitor body condition score and body weight with a weight tape every week to quickly catch any changes.

The Overweight or Obese Senior 

For the senior that is overweight or obese but otherwise healthy, it is important to restore an ideal body condition. Overweightness and obesity are associated with the development of unfavourable metabolic changes and increased disease risk. Start by scheduling a veterinary visit to rule out any underlying problem contributing to weight gain. Work with your veterinarian and/or an equine nutritionist to develop a weight loss plan, which usually involves restricting feed intake (especially through pasture) and/or eliminating any concentrate feed the horse is receiving. A good quality forage balancer is essential when restricting feed intake. Always provide free access to water and salt.

Increase the horse’s physical activity by choosing a method that works best for your senior, such as in-hand, loose, or ridden. Be consistent. Consider splitting the exercise into several short sessions each day and introduce exercise gradually to avoid overwork.