We care for quite a few elderly equines, and have cared for many more in the past.
This is what our hard keepers/elderly horses are fed daily (or until weight is gained, and then maintained)
- Free fed hay.. or we make sure there is always hay in front of them, anyways. Some horses eat more slowly, and may eat 9 flakes of hay a day (3 at breakfast, lunch, and dinner), some horses get an entire bale if they need it. Or, soaked hay cubes depending on the horse.
- Beet pulp. Beet pulp is our best friend for our hard keepers, and I've never met a horse who doesn't like it. I'll usually feed a pound or 2 (before soaking), and then add things as needed. The extra water intake is a total bonus as well, high in fibre, and a great replacement forage. I feed it to every horse I've owned.
- Satin Finish (a bran product for weight gain and helps improve coat condition)
- Depending on the horse, usually a Tiz Wiz pellet.. some get the senior pellets, or performace depending on the horse getting fed.
- For the performance horses we'll add a few handfulls of 12% sweet feed for some texture and taste.
- Older horses will also get some oil if they need something more for weight gain.
I've never seen oats do anything but cause problems for horses needing weight that aren't being worked regularily (this is in my experience at the facilities I've worked or ridden at, I'm not implying it's what happens with every horse).. I would drop the oats completely, and look for feeds higher in fat and fibre, and lower in carbs and calories.. something that's easy to eat and digest.
We had a 27yr old thoroughbred stallion with horrible teeth (as in, barely any teeth left) that was not a big hay eater and didn't eat the soaked cubes fast enough (soaked cubes don't work as well when you have -30 degree winters), and we had to substitute his forage with beet pulp and alf-alfa pellets, senior pellets, and he only got a few handfuls of oats for taste.
ETA: after actually reading through some replies, I was kind of shocked to see no one else had mentioned Beet pulp lmao.
Last edited by duckeh; 04-21-2010 at 04:20 AM.