Managing a veteran horse can be a real challenge. OAP’s (Old Age Ponies, and horses) deserve the very best of care and require a huge commitment and attention to detail. Some horses require extra care and more support than others. We have developed the Keyflow Golden Oldies Checklist- to help you to ensure that the exact needs of your older horses and ponies are being met!
At Keyflow we aim to treat each horse as an individual and do not take a one diet fits all approach!
There are multiple factors to consider when we are looking at feeding an older horse including their fibre intake, the type and quantity, any illness or injuries – including their dental status, workload if applicable, and management.
Our horses’ diets must be based around fibre! As our horses age, they may begin to struggle to breakdown and chew their forage, such as hay/haylage or grass. sufficiently. Signs of dental difficulties may include ‘quidding’ the dropping of food from the mouth, weight loss, loose droppings and/or long fibre found within droppings – showing that perhaps the horse may not be mechanically breaking down their forage as well as we would hope. Dental checks by a Veterinary professional or qualified Equine Dentist are vital! Our team may also ask you to send a photo of your horse’s fresh droppings, which allows us to make a basic assessment of the fibre found. We also encourage you to do the same, keeping a close eye on the usual texture, formation,colour and odour of your horse’s droppings allows you to see what is normal for him. Droppings do often change through the seasons depending on the fibre that the horse is eating!
As horses age, like humans, they may experience joint stiffness, loss of muscle tone and condition, digestive concerns and other disorders such as PPID (Cushing’s disease). We want to tailor your horse’s diet to their needs, it’s important we are aware of any illness or injury.
Many horses continue working for far longer than we expect them to! We want to keep them safe, supported and well for as long as possible. Keeping our horses active and stimulated can improve overall mental and physical wellbeing. Movement is also important for helping circulation and joint stiffness.
Another important ‘check’ on the list to look out for, is whether your golden oldie is drinking enough water, especially during the winter months when they won’t be getting much water out of the grass. The combination of poor mechanical grinding of fibre and decreased water intake can increase the risk of impaction colic. Check out one of our previous Equimails on Hydration, the Microbiome and Performance.
Our advice line has been buzzing with requests for veteran feeding regimes, and we love hearing about your older horses and supporting you both to achieve the best possible health and happiness.
Take the Keyflow Golden Oldies Veteran checklist with one of our nutritional advisors to see if your horses current diet is ticking all of their needs!