CARING FOR THE OLDER HORSE
Our horses are living much longer lives in recent years due to the advancements of nutrition and health care. We regularly see horses and ponies living healthy lives well into their 20s and 30s.
It is important for owners to realise that each individual horse is different, and whilst some older ones may live quite happily out on pasture, others may require more intensive management and feeding.
Here are a list of 6 things you can do to ensure your older horse continues to live a long and healthy life:
1. Observe and handle your horse regularly. This will allow you to pick up on subtle changes in behaviour and allow for early detection of any problems.
2. Schedule regular dental exams. One of the main reasons older horses lose weight can be due to dental problems. This can lead to improper chewing of feed, poor digestion, weight loss and even colic. We recommend horses over the age of 18 have their teeth checked at 6 monthly intervals.
3. Feed a high quality diet. Avoid mouldy or dusty feeds. Older horses that have trouble keeping weight on may benefit for the addition of a high fat supplement such as a cup of vegetable oil mixed with their feeds once a day. There are many feeds tailored to older horses and these tend to be highly digestible and/or extruded feeds. You can make your decision based on your needs and budget.
4. Feed your older horse away from younger, more dominant horses so it won't have to compete for food.
5. During the winter months, consider rugging your horse. This will allow them to conserve energy and maintain condition during the colder weather.
6. Schedule a yearly check-up with your veterinarian so that any health issues can be readily identified and promptly treated.
Feel free to call us on 9571 3992 with any questions or concerns you might have.