There are numerous physical characteristics that are evident as horses get older. A few of these include losing weight, losing muscle along the topline, greying the coat, and hollowing out the eye grooves. Despite the fact that you can perceive these changes, the senior horse is also undergoing additional internal changes that are invisible to you. Buy the best quality supplement for older horses at an affordable price.
Older horses have some key characteristics that will affect their nutritional health, the first of which is oral health. Horses that are older may experience dental issues, including tooth fractures, sharp tips, or unusual wear patterns. Age-related tooth loss is also common in horses since their teeth essentially continue to grow until they fall out.
Issues that older horses face
One trait of older horses is a decrease in nutrient absorption and digestion efficiency. Internal parasites can cause digestive tract scarring in certain horses, while hormone and metabolism abnormalities can also make it difficult for them to properly digest their food. An older horse finds it more challenging to absorb the nutrients of protein, fibre, and phosphorus.
Age-related changes in metabolism are another characteristic you can observe in older horses. This implies that elderly horses may experience difficulties maintaining a healthy body weight. Within a single year, some older horses may experience significant swings in weight from too thin to too obese.
Kind of food a senior horse requires
Maintaining an optimum physical condition score of 4 to 6 on a scale of 9 is the aim while feeding an elderly horse. Older horses have no definite nutrient needs because ageing is a subjective process. You should be aware of some general nutritional requirements for older horses because of the physical changes taking place in their bodies.
Provide easy and soft food
A mature horse needs a high-quality supply of easily chewed and easily digested fibre first and foremost. All horse diets should be built around for ages, and it’s crucial to ensure that older horses get at least 1.5% of their daily body weight in forages. Pasture grass and/or long-stemmed hay should be adequate to satisfy the forage needs of an older horse with good teeth. It is difficult for an elderly horse with missing teeth or teeth of poor quality to graze and chew. Thus you must provide an alternative source of food.
You can substitute the dietary fibre that would be found in hay and grass with hay cubes, chopped hay, and beet pulp, among other things. To make these goods simpler for an elderly horse to eat, soak them beforehand. Furthermore, several commercial senior feeds contain higher fibre levels to partially replace grass in the diet.
After the forage requirements of an elderly horse have been satisfied, the diet must thereafter contain an adequate amount of high-quality protein. It is crucial to provide a good quality protein supply for elderly horses because they tend to develop muscular atrophy and have less efficient protein digestion. Not all protein sources are created equal, and several have an amino acid composition that is not optimal for horses. Because it has a fantastic amino acid profile and composition, soybean meal is a fantastic source of protein that is perfect for older horses.
An elderly horse’s diet should include chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been combined with an amino acid or sugar to make them easier for horses to digest and absorb. Because they have a harder time digesting the mineral, older horses will require more phosphorus. The need for calcium, however, will continue to be at maintenance levels. Old horses can benefit from a supplement for older horses in terms of nutrition and health.
Antioxidants and prebiotics in the diet can also be beneficial for older horses. A geriatric horse’s immune system may benefit from antioxidants like vitamins C and E. It is advisable to provide older horses with nutrients that can support digestive health because they frequently have trouble keeping a healthy digestive tract. Prebiotics, in particular those made from genuine yeast cultures, can improve the health of the horse’s hindgut overall and aid in better digestion.
Lastly, the oral issues may impair an old horse’s chewing, which reduces food intake, causes weight loss, and, in some circumstances, renders hay and grass inedible. Wadding hay in the mouth and spitting it out indicate that a horse may lose the ability to chew.