As horses age, they start to slow down and their bodies may have experienced a lot of wear and tear. There are some very common issues that arise for horses as they age and it’s important to not only look after your old friend but to help them thrive throughout their golden years.
We’ve outlined the main areas below where issues may arise, with some helpful tips to help support your veteran as they age:
As horses age, their teeth can become problematic. They either lose them, or they become very blunt and unable to chew effectively. This has a knock-on effect on the gut as they aren’t able to get the forage they need and they can also experience significant weight loss.
Tip - introduce a good baseline feed, such as a high vitamin mash:
As horse’s age their gut motility declines and they are more prone to gastric ulcers. Additionally, they have a harder time extracting necessary nutrients from their feed. Therefore, making nutritional supplements important to ensure they get everything they need.
The baseline feeding regimen described above will help to keep their gut functioning as it should. Keeping the gut in good working order will help everything else work well and stay in good health, as well as ensure your horse’s condition holds. It’s important to keep your veteran horse in good physical condition all year, as winters can be especially difficult for an older horse given the opportunity to drop weight.
Tip - introduce bilberry leaves to their diet
Fermentation of roughage is the most effective method of thermoregulation for horses.
In older horses, reduced intake of stalky, leafy hay due to dental and chewing difficulties can reduce the fermentation process and make it harder for older horses to keep warm. In addition, they often hold their winter coats through the summer months making it harder for them to cool down.
Tip - use a rug or shelter at the correct time of year and feed bilberry & rosemary leaves:
Older horse’s tend to develop vulnerabilities in their livers and struggle with liver function decline.
This can be hard to spot, but can include leathery, weight loss, photosensitivity, an unwillingness to eat and bouts of colic. It is important to take a preventative approach and the most widely known herbal approach for supporting liver health is milk thistle seeds.
Tip - introduce milk thistle seeds:
Joints experience wear and tear over a horse’s life and by the time they are in ‘veteran’ category, we can often see them struggling with mobility and discomfort in their movement.
This is very common and there are many ways this issue can be addressed. However, joint deterioration is not reversible and so it is necessary to provide nutritional support for the joints to keep our older horses moving freely and comfortable. Read more on joint support here.
Tip - introduce boswellia to the diet:
There are many challenges faced by the older horse. Thankfully, mother nature has much to offer in terms of relief. We have combined the most important and powerful herbs to support the health of herbal horses in a single, easy to feed supplement. Golden Oldies combines these herbs for maximum impact and ensures that horses thrive through their golden years, with mobility, gut health and internal well-being in abundance. Shop Golden Oldies here.
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