Feeding the Veteran Horse

10th April 2020

The number of horses that continue to be fit and healthy well into old age has increased dramatically in recent years and good nutrition plays a key part in keeping them this way. Dodson & Horrell have been formulating and producing agricultural feeds for over 80 years, and with several qualified veterinarians and nutritionists on the team, it is certain your older equine will get the best quality feed to support them through their lives.

With age can come a multitude of problems such as weight loss, decreased joint mobility, poor dentition, and neurological issues. If your veteran begins to show signs of aging, additional support and a change in diet should be considered.

Providing a higher calorie, higher protein diet can help maintain muscle mass and condition in your older horse. D&H Sixteen Plus range has been specifically formulated based on the nutritional requirements of older horses and is an ideal high calorie feed to help prevent weight loss or loss of condition. It has many other benefits such as Glucosamine and MSM for joint support, QLC antioxidants to support immune health, and Actisaf yeast probiotic for additional hindgut support. Sixteen plus is highly palatable and can be dampened if your horse is struggling to chew.

Forage is important for all horses, but adequate fibre intake may be an issue for older horses that have poor dentition and struggle to chew. In these cases, it can become necessary to provide alternative sources of fibre that are easier for them to eat. Products such as KwikBeet, Classic Fibre Cubes, and Alfalfa, can make excellent full or partial hay replacers. Dodson & Horrell’s KwikBeet is highly digestible and contains a fibre source commonly known as a “super fibre”. It is very low in starch and sugar due to the processing it undergoes to extract the sugar from the beet before it is dried. It is very quick soaking (only 10 minutes) and is suitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis. Classic Fibre Cubes are also a great product that can be included when making up a forage replacer. Classic Fibre Cubes are fully balanced, low in starch and sugar, and provide digestible fibre sources such as wheatfeed, oatfeed, soya hulls and unmolassed beet pulp, commonly referred to as “super-fibres”. Super fibres are highly digestible and have much higher energy/calorie levels than traditional fibre sources, making them a great and safe way to provide additional calories to maintain body condition. To make a forage replacer soak 600g per 100kg bodyweight of KwikBeet for at least ten minutes, then add 600g per 100kg bodyweight of Alfalfa and finally 600g per 100kg bodyweight of Classic Fibre Cubes.

Equine Cushings, correctly known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a disease that involves the pituitary gland which produces hormones in response to brain signals. In PPID horses, the normal mechanisms that control hormone production by the pituitary gland is damaged, thus there is excessive production of hormones from the pituitary which enter the blood stream and effect the body. Clinical signs may include lethargy, increased sweating, weight loss, and delayed coat shedding. It is a disease that primarily effects horses over the age of 10. If your older horse has been diagnosed with PPID and is struggling to maintain weight, Cushcare Condition is a great feed to support your horse’s needs through their golden years. Cushcare Condition has been scientifically designed to provide conditioning calories in a low starch (6.9%), low sugar (3.5%) format. It is high in oil and fibre, adding calories without increasing starch. Cushcare Condition has many other benefits including:

  • High quality protein in the form of Lysine to promote muscle maintenance
  • Actisaf yeast (probiotic) and FOS (prebiotic) to support hindgut health
  • A unique herbal blend of Cinnamon to support insulin metabolism and Chaste Tree Berries which is believed to benefit normal insulin metabolism and hormone function
  • QLC antioxidant package to support the immune system
  • Soya Lecithin to support weight maintenance, fat digestion, and absorption
  • B vitamins and carnitine to improve fat metabolism
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and a mobility herb package to support joint health

It is equally important for horses that maintain their weight well to receive the correct diet to support their overall health. Dodson & Horrell’s Senior Support Balancer is a great way to provide the vitamins, minerals, and quality protein older horses require in a low intake, low-calorie format; ideal for those that hold their weight well and don’t need much compound feed. This balancer includes Glucosamine along with MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane), Vitamin C, turmeric, and black pepper to provide multifactorial support of joint health.

If your horse has specific dietary requirements not covered here, or you would like a diet recommendation that can support your horse or pony's ongoing wellbeing, please contact our Helpline on 01270 782 223 to speak to one of our expert nutritionists. Alternatively, you can use live chat on our website www.dodsonandhorrell.com

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