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Caring for the older horse...all tips and advice welcome

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  • What are good fiber substitutes for a horse that can't eat hay
  • Hay substitutes for senior horses

 
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    04-11-2010, 09:12 AM
  #11
Banned
Great thread, and lots of great info here.

One thing to keep in mind is that hay fufills several needs; only one of them is strictly nutritional. Hay also provides bulk or roughage that keeps the horse's gut working correctly and for lack of a better term, entertainment. Hay occupies the horse while stalled or when grazing is not available and keeps them chewing and contented. (Chewing releases endorphins.)

So while the Equine Senior may be a complete food nutritionally, it might be wise to add hay cubes, beet pulp or another form of roughage to her ration. It's really a question for your vet; you don't want to add something that will upset the nutritional balance of the feed. Once you have good spring grass available, it won't be as much of an issue.
     
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    04-11-2010, 10:01 AM
  #12
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
Great thread, and lots of great info here.

One thing to keep in mind is that hay fufills several needs; only one of them is strictly nutritional. Hay also provides bulk or roughage that keeps the horse's gut working correctly and for lack of a better term, entertainment. Hay occupies the horse while stalled or when grazing is not available and keeps them chewing and contented. (Chewing releases endorphins.)

So while the Equine Senior may be a complete food nutritionally, it might be wise to add hay cubes, beet pulp or another form of roughage to her ration. It's really a question for your vet; you don't want to add something that will upset the nutritional balance of the feed. Once you have good spring grass available, it won't be as much of an issue.
Very true. Feed will give your horse the needed calories and nutrition but is not a substitute for hay. As Maura suggested, hay provides the bulk necessary to keep their stomachs working properly.
     
    04-11-2010, 10:18 AM
  #13
Weanling
Yes it does, but as in the case of my old one, had lost back teeth and all he could do with grass and hay was roll it into cuds to spit out, and was also a choking hazard with the cuds.

Along with his Senior I would buy bags of chopped hay, but that isn't available in some areas and is where Senior feed can do it's job. I had to roadtrip to get it... that's where alfalfa pellets come in handy
     
    04-11-2010, 02:44 PM
  #14
Started
Thanks for all the helpful information everyone. I have never owned a horse even close to this age, so I really appreciate all the input. My daughters horse does munch on our hay, but I'm not sure if she is swallowing or just cudding it. This weekend has been hectic, so hopefully tomorrow I can watch and see. The reason I posted that she cannot eat hay is because that is what we were told when we got here. I'm going to make sure she really can't before adding the hay cubes. IDK if we have chopped hay available, but I will check and see. I will be so glad when we can open our pastures again.
     
    04-11-2010, 07:19 PM
  #15
Trained
Purina Senior is formulated and designed to be an only feed ration. Meaning, if your horse cannot have hay due to teeth issues, or grass - Purina Senior is created to replace that.
     
    04-11-2010, 09:36 PM
  #16
Weanling
If you go with cubed hay, wet it down
     
    04-12-2010, 10:50 AM
  #17
Yearling
The first and most important question to help you figure out what is going on is, exactly how much (by weight) is 4 scoops of Equine Senior? Then you need to look at the amount you are feeding by weight and compare it to the recommended amount on the bag for the weight that your horse should be. If you are already feeding the recommended amount or more, then you should consider adding a bit more fat to the diet. Fat is very easily digestible and provides more than twice as much digestible energy as protein without adding to the risk of laminitis in these seniors who are more likely to have metabolic issues like insulin resistance or Cushings. You can add a cup of fat in the form of vegetable oil daily and greatly increase the amount of energy that the body has for putting on weight. But you must be meeting all of your horse's nutrient needs before you count on additional fat to really help overall.

Actually, Purina Equine Senior is a substitute for hay. It provides all of the fiber that a horse needs. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't feed hay but it would redundant to add beet pulp or hay cubes both of which won't provide long stem fiber and keep a horse occupied for hours like hay will. Beet pulp and certain hay cubes will also throw off the nutrient balance of the diet. And hay cubes require good teeth to chew effectively so in a senior horse they can increase the risk of choke and they don't do nearly as much because without adequate chewing they aren't digested as well. If anything, supplying access to fresh grass or a grass hay would be the best option just to keep your horse content.

My old man is 34 this spring and he's been living on Equine Senior with hay or grass just to keep him occupied and 1 cup of vegetable oil a day for the past 4 years. These are also the recommendations that my old boss (equine vet board certified in surgery) gave her clients with senior horses. We saw wonderful results in our patients.
     
    04-12-2010, 11:26 PM
  #18
Started
Thanks! I will for sure add vegetable oil to her diet. She has hay to munch on 24/7 and come may she will have grass. How good a feed is triple crown senior? Is it as good as purina senior? We are trying to get some of our horses on the same kind of feed lol. If purina is better we will switch to that, but we already have 2 horses on triple crown senior. Hope is the oldest horse at the barn, so we will take into consideration her needs first. We also have 3 on Omolene 100 (not older horses of course), so we are going to do one type of feed for the older horses. Does it matter or should we switch the other two (they aren't mine, but the owners are willing) to purina senior also?
     
    04-13-2010, 07:00 AM
  #19
Foal
I just read quickly down through these posts, so forgive me if my advice has already been given. I too use Purina Sr. For the 8 or so senior horses I have in my barn right now. I've found it to be the best for them, although I do also give all of them hay. Something else to consider with your old mare is that she may not have all of her teeth (probably doesn't), so chewing even her senior feed may be difficult. We soak our horses' senior feed with warm water until it turns into a mash. That way, even if the horse doesn't have a tooth in its head, it can still "gum" the food and swallow, and we don't have to worry about it dropping large amounts or choking on feed that hasn't been chewed properly. I have one old gelding (pushing 30) who has no molars at all and he has no problem maintaining his weight.
     
    04-13-2010, 09:11 AM
  #20
Started
She doesn't seem to have a problem chewing, although I know she has had a tooth pulled. She does eat all of her feed in a reasonable period of time.
     

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