السبت 22 يونيو 2024

How to Feed and Care For the Senior Horse

موقع أيام نيوز

The answer is different for each equine. Some horses seem old and feeble at age 15 others are still going strong well into their 20s. As with human beings many things including health history use care conformation and genetic factors can influence the condition and overall wellbeing of aged horses.
As a general rule horses begin to slow down somewhat by their late teen years and although the occasional horse lives 30 or even 40 years most people would consider a horse in its mid20s to be fairly old. Ponies often have a somewhat longer lifespan than their larger counterparts.
Comparing human and equine years is not an exact science. As a rough estimate a 20yearold horse is equivalent to a person in their late 50s and a 30yearold horse could be compared to a person in their midtolate 80s.

FEEDING SENIORS
Digestion
As horses approach old age their ability to digest protein fibre vitamins and minerals decreases. Plenty of clean hay and a fortified feed with high quality easily digestible protein is recommended. Many feed companies have special product formulations based on the unique requirements of senior horses. Water and free choice salt should always be provided.
Dental condition
While regular dental care is important for horses of all ages it is especially critical for older horses. Sharp edges or hooks on teeth can cause discomfort that keeps the older horse from eating enough to maintain a healthy condition. Very old horses may lose teeth and be unable to chew and grind their feed adequately. For these animals owners can add water to pelleted feed forming a mash that is more easily swallowed and digested.
Palatability
No matter what ration is offered it cant help the horse if its not eaten. Older horses can be picky eaters resisting anything new or different. Additions or changes to the diet must be made very gradually not just to avoid putting the horse off its feed but also to allow the gut to adapt to the new type of feed or hay.
Drizzling feed with molasses Karo syrup or flavoured Jello may tempt a picky horse to eat. Dusty or moldy feed or hay should never be offered to horses.
The Thin Senior
Owners should be able to feel a horses ribs but not see them through the coat. Horses with visible ribs may need a change in management. Try to increase grazing time or feed more hay or better quality hay possibly with