Feeding the senior horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Feeding the senior horse

I'm wondering if anyone has some practical advice for feeding my 32 year old Standardbred mare? She has never been a fat girl, but now it is difficult to keep her weight up. Right now she is out 24/7, but in the winter she comes in at night. She gets a senior feed plus performance horse feed (vet recommended this for the fat content) twice a day plus supplements. When the pasture is not optimal, there are round bales set out for the horses. She is out with 3 other mares and the little herd is peaceful. Her vet care is up to date, including teeth. What can I give her so the winter is not so hard for her?
p.s. She is fully retired and is everyone's darling at the barn.
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 12:13 PM
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Soaked beet pulp is amazing for weight, and most horses will eat it right up.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 12:21 PM
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I like rice bran and corn oil

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post #4 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 12:23 PM
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Another vote for beet pulp here. It's cheap and most horses seem to love it. And it makes me feel good giving them something warm on a cold day.

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post #5 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 03:38 PM
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What is her tooth condition? beet pulp is great but only if the horse can still chew well, because it is still rather chewy even after being soaked. I've personally had better success with rice bran (it gave my very ribby yearling that last bit of 'umph' to cover her ribs and keep them covered) but rice bran IS more expensive.

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post #6 of 9 Old 10-13-2013, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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She has had 4 teeth pulled at the back, but the vet says she still has adequate chewing surfaces.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-14-2013, 03:42 AM
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I had a 20+ Arabian mare that was very hard to keep weight on in the winter. What I finally found to work for her was twice daily feeding of grain (I use Nutrena SafeChoice), Smartpak's SmartGain supplement, and coconut oil (high in fat but also has so many other good attributes). This combo did wonders for her and I've used it on my 18yr old QH gelding when he dropped and had good results from it.

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post #8 of 9 Old 10-14-2013, 12:17 PM
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In addition to beet pulp and upping her pelleted feed a little, I'd try some alfalfa cubes when she is in her stall over night. Even if her teeth are ok, alfalfa cubes are easier to chew and therefor easier to digest. Because the hay is already broken up into bits, she doesn't have to work as hard to get the nutrients out. Alfalfa is also a good addition to a horses diet for maintenance as it is high in protein.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-14-2013, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I think I will try the rice bran and alfalfa cubes.
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