37 year old horse and weight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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37 year old horse and weight

Anything I can give him to keep the weight up?

I have a feeling if he starts to drop weight he wont make it for the winter.

Right now he's on rich grass 24/7 in a cherry orchard. I just started brining him alfalfa pellets (as much as he'll eat).

Anything else I can do for him. I can lightly see ribs, if he bends a certain way. Because he's a TB I think he's perfect, but I'd prefer him to be fat in case he gets sick and for the winter.

I only hop on him about 30 minutes a week, and sometime we go out for an hour or two trail ride...but not often anymore maybe once or twice a month.

I've been told to quit riding him, but he loves it... I don't think it's fair to just keep him alive in a pasture, even if it makes a difference on how long he lasts, at least he enjoys himself and is doing something. ?????

He still prances and gets "hot" when I ride him.
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 02:35 AM
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No advice - but thirty-seven and still going? Wow, and a thoroughbred at that! Be a proud owner, that must be some kind of record.

sing mε a blazing northεrn sky.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 03:49 AM
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Not sure where your located, but you could try feeding him beet pulp twice a day or less, its a great way to add/keep weight on horses especially older ones. I looked after 2 horses both the age of 33, that got fed soaked beet pulp, hay cubes and some type of senior feed and they kept weight well with that (they didnt have much for teeth but could still eat a little hay). Hope that helps.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 03:50 AM
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No, you don't want him fat, if you want him to remain healthy. That is a common cause of ill health, especially among older horses. I am cautious about rich grass, but if he's 37yo still going strong on it, sounds like you don't need to worry about that much.

Not sure if just feeding alfalfa pellets is a good idea, as alfalfa's very high in protein, calcium & other nutrients, which can cause kidney probs if excessive. Perhaps these mixed with something like 'Hygain Zero' - don't know if it's available where you are, but it's a great sugar/starch free feed that will also provide him with some of the nutrition he will be lacking without further supplementing. For good feed & nutritional advice(& much more) I subscribe to a fantastic service called FeedXL.com that you may want to look into.

Older horses usually have reduced gut function and frequently have IR probs, often due to their previous diets, so easily digestible, grain free, low starch/sugar feeds are best. Especially if the pasture or hay he gets is stemmy, another prob is lack of teeth to deal with it, and substituting, or supplementing his forage with chaff can prevent this being a problem. Adding a little oil to his feeds for extra fat if he's losing much is also an option.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 10:53 AM
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At 37 it is highly likely that your horse doesn't have many premolars and molars left and that what may be there aren't really effective for chewing because they don't have another tooth opposite. So using beet pulp, alfalfa pellets or other feedstuffs that aren't designed specifically for a horse who's chewing capability is limited or non-existent is going to provide little help. At this point, you need to be providing a good complete senior feed for your horse. These products are designed specifically for horses who aren't capable of chewing foods well and the pellets are processed to take that fact into consideration so that the horse can digest them anyway. So, choose a good senior diet and start by feeding it according to the label and the adjusting up or down based upon your horse's weight. And be aware that when you look at the label it's going to recommend that you feed alot of the feed per day but remember that this is the equivalent of feeding all of his hay and concentrates in one feed. My 34 year old POA gets 10 lbs a day in the winter and 6 lbs a day in the spring and summer when pasture is good.

Good pasture can still often be made use of by these guys because grass is easier to digest than hays or concentrate feeds, but it's likely not providing all the required nutrition. So you can likely feed less in the summer but in the winter you will need to feed according to the label. Hay is more of a pacifier to keep a horse with dental issues feeling content but it's not going to be of much use because chewing is so very important to digestion of hay.

Along with a good quality senior feed fed according to the label, you can also add up to 2 cups of vegetable oil a day for additional calories in a very easy to digest form. But remember, vegetable oil cannot take the place of the balanced and nutritionally complete diet. You have to be meeting your horse's protein, vitamin and mineral needs through the appropriate type and amount of feed first.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 11:10 AM
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oh wow. sorry i dont have any food recomendations besides senior food, and id go with what ryle said(: but wow 37 years old, thats old! but thats so nice youve had him so long and hes doing well (: good luck

The Wind Of Heaven...
Thats What Blows Between A Horses Two Ears...
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 11:36 AM
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I have to say, 37 is a real golden age, and I congratulate you on that!

No feeding tips from me (I'm not too good in that area).

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post #8 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 11:40 AM
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If you keep him good and warm over the winter he won't use as much energy and he won't lose as much weight. Make sure he has grass or hay 24/7 or the right amount of complete feed if he has no teeth and keep him blanketed when it's cold to help him conserve energy. Congrats on keeping him healthy to a ripe old age!

"Keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle"
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 12:00 PM
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Wow That's great I love the old timers.... I have used beet pulp, great stuff just make sure you soak it well before you feed, there is also a product called red cell its not really exspensive, I have found it to be really good for our older friends... when I got Ragamuffin she was around 34, I used a pellet called Thoroughbred its a bit pricey I fed it wet as it was better for her. I also got her teeth floated, I had her for another two years before she passed. much like an old person they will lose weight, but your chap looks great good luck :)
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-11-2010, 12:09 PM
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Oh sorry I was also meaning to say as far as still riding him, I personally don't ride my old horses as I am not the lightest person it the world, however not to say I haven't put one of the little kids on and headed out... On the real old guys I just pony them with another horse no rider they still like to go out for a plod.......
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