by Nik P March 31, 2021
Like with humans, horses bones and joints begin to ache with age, causing them to lose their strength, flexibility, and even their stamina.
As their owner, you will notice this and may be unsure what to do to make sure they are still comfortable; and how to care for your horse as it gets older.
The most important thing you can do for your ageing horse is to make sure that they are getting regular check-ups from a veterinarian.
Following any recommendations, the vet may give you after their exam is part of long term care and keeping your horse healthy as long as possible.
Regularly seeing a vet can prevent any underlying issues to be discovered early, allowing intervention where necessary before any progression happens.
Issues with arthritis, muscle loss accompanied by weight gain, and oral health are some of the most important factors that aid in ageing your horse faster.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Caring For My Senior Horse Between Vet Visits?
Caring for their teeth is incredibly important; over the course of your horse's life, the roots of their teeth continually erupt.
This will cause tooth loss, which can cause your horse to be unable to receive proper nutrition.
Many older horses won’t benefit from a dental intervention because there may be no teeth left to care for, thus leaving your horse to rely on you to be sure they have the food they can eat to allow proper nutrition.
Special attention to nutrition is important as your horse ages; as stated above, their teeth can play a large factor in their ability to get proper nutrition. Most older horses don’t have a specific diet, and needs will vary with each horse.
Some older horses may benefit from a diet consisting of pelleted or chopped preprocessed feeds if they have suffered tooth loss or experience difficulty chewing. Many “senior” feeds are alfalfa-based, and feature higher protein and calorie content than regular hay.
Attending to their needs is the best way to ensure your horse is happy and healthy between each vet visit. Maintaining their coat throughout all seasons is important, even if you can no longer ride your horse.
Keeping the correct amount of feed is also important to ensure that your senior horse is getting the proper nutrition at all times; many owners may not like to keep “too much” feed out, but your senior horse should have the opportunity to eat 24 hours a day.
Most older horses serve as a fantastic companion, with some able to live well into their 30’s with proper care and diet.
With what you have learned here, you should feel even more comfortable taking care of your elderly horse.
Paying attention to their veterinary, nutritional, and dental needs can go a long way toward maintaining a more comfortable quality of life.