Older horse nutrition?
 
 

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Older horse nutrition?

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  • Older horse dropping feed
  • Senior horse diet alfalfa

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    10-06-2012, 07:10 PM
  #1
Foal
Older horse nutrition?

I have a 22 year old solid bred paint gelding; he still competes in barrel races. I have had him since May but he was owned by some other family members of mine for 6 years prior. He is extremely hard to keep weight on and always has been. During the spring and summer he was in great condition. Now that the weather is turning colder he is dropping weight and I just don't think his feed is cutting it. There is some debate in my house about his nutritional needs and what could help put weight on him. Right now he is on a 14% all-stock pellet, oats, 20% cubes, and corn oil. He also has free choice grass hay and I just started feeding flakes of alfalfa once a day. I really want to put him on a senior feed and have been for some time. I have also considered putting him on weight builder. He has no problem with his teeth and eats just fine. The only problem is he is really high strung and hyper and really doesn't need anything that would give him extra energy, he has enough! I'm not sure what to do and would really like some advice or opinions, on feeds or supplements or something I can add to his diet. Thanks in advance!
     
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    10-06-2012, 07:27 PM
  #2
Yearling
I would take out everything, and try free choice grass hay, 10lbs of cubes, beet pulp and a senior ration. #1 would be to make sure he is dewormed.
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    10-06-2012, 10:18 PM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spotted    
I would take out everything, and try free choice grass hay, 10lbs of cubes, beet pulp and a senior ration. #1 would be to make sure he is dewormed.
^^This is what I am currently doing for my old boy to help keep weight on him. I'm also blanketing him during the nights, it's been dropping to a low of 37 degrees here at night. So he needs a little extra TLC now that the weather is changing.
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    10-06-2012, 10:58 PM
  #4
Trained
Away with everything, especially the oats if he's highstrung, a good senior feed (like Nutrena Life Design Senior) and some beetpulp. Alfalfa is good,too.
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    10-06-2012, 11:10 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Agreed with all the other posters.

Also, as an aside, even though he's older, he does not necessarily "need" to be on a senior feed. My 27 year old girl is on hay pellets -mostly to stick her supplements to- and a powdered vit+mineral supplement (plus unlimited grass hay, plus a little alfalfa during the winter) and, during the winter when hay pellets+hay alone is not cutting it, I add beet pulp and/or up her alfalfa portion. Beet pulp can really pack on the pounds! :)

As far as making sure his diet is balanced, I'd look into getting him a mineral supplement or a ration balancer. I used to have my girl on a ration balancer but she's such an easy keeper in the summer that the extra sugar was not good. But for your guy, something like Enrich 32 could be great. You generally only feed about a pound a day (making it cheaper than most % complete feeds) and you can add beet bulp or rice bran or hay pellets or a combo for extra "oomph".

Just some ideas. :)
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    10-07-2012, 12:09 AM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for the replies everyone! The senior feeds I've seen available at our feed store are Purina Senior Equine and Nutrena Life Design Senior, is one better than the other? With the beet pulp how much do I feed and do I need to soak it? I've also looked into mineral supplements but they are so many and I'm not sure what he needs. If I put him on a senior feed should he still get the mineral supplements?

He is on a regular worming schedule.
     
    10-07-2012, 01:13 AM
  #7
Started
Definitely blanket him if you haven't been already. They'll burn through calories quick maintaining body heat.

My personal preference is to add one ration balancer to "staple" feeds such as alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, or rice bran rather than to feed one of the senior feeds. When my 18 year old starts dropping weight I add alfalfa and rice bran to her feed schedule.
     
    10-07-2012, 02:19 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomer11    
Thanks for the replies everyone! The senior feeds I've seen available at our feed store are Purina Senior Equine and Nutrena Life Design Senior, is one better than the other? With the beet pulp how much do I feed and do I need to soak it? I've also looked into mineral supplements but they are so many and I'm not sure what he needs. If I put him on a senior feed should he still get the mineral supplements?

He is on a regular worming schedule.
I can only speak for the Nutrena. If you go to my album "critters", there are before and after pics of my mare Snipper. One month difference with free choice oat-alfalfa hay and 3 lbs of the Nutrena feed. As long as you don't go below the minimum suggested amount to feed you shouldn't need to give any extra vitamins/minerals.
Senior feed in general is good for putting weight on a horse regardless of age.

In fact now she is on alfalfa pellets, ricebran, omega horseshine and a mineral/vitamin supplement and does fine with just that. But for getting here there the senior feed was the best thing.
     
    10-07-2012, 09:23 AM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eolith    
Definitely blanket him if you haven't been already. They'll burn through calories quick maintaining body heat.

My personal preference is to add one ration balancer to "staple" feeds such as alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, or rice bran rather than to feed one of the senior feeds. When my 18 year old starts dropping weight I add alfalfa and rice bran to her feed schedule.
I grabbed the blanket from the barn last night to clean it up some so he could wear it tonight.
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    10-07-2012, 12:39 PM
  #10
Foal
Okay so it seems the general consensus is to definitely put him on beet pulp and a senior feed. I'm making a trip to the feed store tomorrow!

Okay so now about the blanket, maybe I should start a new thread but maybe y'all can help! So we have one at the barn that will work for now but I'm looking to buy him a new one. There are SO many choices. I haven't had him through the winter so I'm not sure how rough he is on his clothes but I know he has a knack for tearing up his fly masks. I found a Big D blanket with 450 denier thread count but I'm not sure it will be durable enough. We are located in Central Texas so I'm thinking a medium weight blanket will be fine. Any suggestions on blanket brands or styles?
     

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