Feeding The Older Horse
As horses age, they start to have different nutritional and physical needs. Joints get stiff, teeth wear down, and their metabolism slows. Here are my best tips for keeping your senior happy and healthy.
1) Think SOFT. As horses age, their teeth begin to wear even more, and they can begin to have difficulty chewing food. Soaking feed can be a great option, especially in the case of soaked alfalfa pellets of cubes for horses who can't chew hay efficiently anymore.
2) Support those joints! Just like humans, things like arthritis and general stiffness become a bigger worry as the horse ages. Look for a combination of glucosamine (helps build the "cushion" in their joints) and MSM (helps strengthen connective tissue) like in HorseTech's Hylasport Senior. These two ingredients are key to supporting the achy, creaky senior.
3) Consider low-level anti-inflammatories. Again, like in people, our horse's injuries can hurt and fester a bit more as they age. Additives like Devil's Claw can help control inflammatory responses and keep your horse comfortable.
4) Increase fat, decrease starch. Horses are not made to digest high amounts of starch, but in our efforts to keep hard-keeper seniors healthy, we can overload them. Look for feeds like rice bran, which will up their fat intake and boost their metabolism without causing a sugar rush.
Hope this helps you guys! Chose to include a picture of the lovely Bottle in this one taken by Deziree's Photography as Miss Bottle turns 19 this year! How do y'all feed your senior horses? Comment below!